The Carnegie Center for Art and History, a branch of the Floyd County Public Library, serves as a cultural resource for the education and enjoyment of the citizens of Floyd County and the surrounding metro area. To fulfill that mission we collect, preserve, and interpret the history and heritage of Floyd County; promote an appreciation of and participation in the visual arts; and preserve the historic Carnegie Library building in which the museum is housed.
Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-American industrialist, used his vast wealth to fund his passion for free access to education and literacy. In his lifetime he funded thousands of libraries, schools and universities around the world, donating the modern equivalent of more than 76 billion dollars of his fortune.
Indiana is home to more Carnegie libraries than any other state and New Albany is just one town that benefited from Andrew Carnegie’s generosity. Our stunning home was designed by famed Louisville architectural firm of Clark and Loomis, which would later go on to design the Speed Art Museum. Construction on the library began in 1902 and was completed in 1904.
The building served as the town’s library for 65 years. In 1969, New Albany-Floyd County Public Library moved into much larger premises at 180 West Spring Street, where it remains today.
After the newly vacated former library building was threatened with demolition, a group of citizens formed the Floyd County Museum in 1971 as a local history museum and art gallery. The Floyd County Museum was incorporated into the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library in 1988.
After a major renovation in 1998, the museum was renamed the Carnegie Center for Art and History. The name better reflects our library heritage and mission to protect the historic building, to collect, preserve and interpret local history and to promote an appreciation of and participation in the visual arts.
The Carnegie Center for Art and History stands as testament to the dedication of New Albany’s residents – to preserve our town and our region’s past, to educate our children, and to celebrate the arts.
The Carnegie Center is pleased to be a member of the United States National Park Service’s Network to Freedom. The Network to Freedom was implemented with the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998 as an effort to connect and preserve local historical places and museums associated with the Underground Railroad. More information on the Network to Freedom can be found here. The Carnegie Center’s membership in the Network to Freedom strengthens our mission to preserve the history of New Albany and provide that history to a national network.
The Carnegie Center for Art and History is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission
This year, 2021, is Laura Wilkins’ 20th year with the Floyd County Library. She served as Director of Education followed by Director of Marketing and Outreach at the Carnegie Center for 14 years, and then spent the past five years at the Floyd County Library as Engagement and Outreach Coordinator. Wilkins has a BA in Art History and French and an MBA from the University of Louisville. She is a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky and has lived in Louisville since 1998.
Julie Leidner served as a Museum Educator at the Carnegie Center for nearly three years. Additionally, Leidner has been an artist and educator in the Louisville region for more than ten years — as an art teacher at a private high school, designer of children’s programs for regional museums, and mentor for BFA candidates at area fine arts colleges. She received a BFA from the University of Louisville in 2006 and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2010. She founded and curated the experimental exhibition space Sheherazade in Louisville from 2018-2020, and is a recipient of awards from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, LVA, the Community Foundation of Louisville and Great Meadows Foundation.
Tierra Deacon graduated from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with a BFA in painting in December 2018. She now resides in Louisville and served as an intern at the Carnegie Center during the summer of 2021.
Shamia Gaither graduated from Kentucky College of Art and Design in 2018 and is pursing a master’s degree through an online program at Mason Gross at Rutgers University, where she also taught color theory as a part-time lecturer. She lives in Louisville.
Hanna Gish is a New Albany native who graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Social Studies Education. She previously spent seven years teaching middle and high school history.
The Carnegie Center for Art and History is a branch of the Floyd County Library, governed by the library Board of Trustees.
The Carnegie Center for Art and History, Inc. is a separate non-profit organization that supports the Carnegie Center through fundraising, volunteering, and advocacy.
Ron C. Stiller, AIA