The Kentucky Derby Museum’s multi-million dollar expansion project is underway after a groundbreaking ceremony that took place on March 5th in the museum’s garden terrace, according to the museum.

Eleven thousand square feet of brand new space will be added to the museum. Five thousand square feet of existing space will also be renovated. It will be the largest expansion of the museum since the building was constructed in 1985 and one of the largest renovations since a major refurbishing project that followed damaging flooding in 2009.

An emphasis on new exhibit space will allow for a more robust visitor experience. The collection of legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas will be featured. Space will also be made to display key pieces of the Bill Shoemaker collection, which has been housed in the Museum’s archives for many years. The expanded second floor will also include additional meeting and rental space.

The International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame exhibit will be part of these plans, but details have not yet been finalized, Museum Communications Manager Lindsay English told American Farriers Journal.

The International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame was established in 1992 to honor farriers around the world who have made significant contributions to the profession and who have left a permanent, positive impression on their peers and clients.

A brand-new third floor will have administrative offices, a large conference room and storage areas.

A new stable on the ground level will house the museum’s resident Thoroughbred and companion horse. Seating for educational programming will also be provided here. More than 7,400 square feet of covered space will become available to be set for various events, including outdoor weddings, dinners, parties, etc. The new rental space will be able to accommodate much larger groups for special events than it can presently.

Construction will begin this month and will include the demolition of the stable, the relocation of the Finish Line pole and the removal of more than 3,000 square feet of pavers. Major construction work inside the museum will begin following Kentucky Derby 144.

 “We’ve seen the number of visitors coming through our doors growing consistently, reaching 230,000 in 2017. Building off that momentum, we wanted to create something that would take the Museum to the next level and offer a truly outstanding experience to our guests as we showcase the extraordinary event that is the Kentucky Derby,” says Kentucky Derby Museum President and CEO Patrick Armstrong.

The museum will remain open to visitors during the entire project. The expansion will be completed by November, in time for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs Racetrack.