Captain Kirk has landed at the Frazier History Museum. Well, sort of.
On Tuesday, May 15, actor William Shatner, best known for his iconic character on Star Trek, stopped by the facility located on West Main Street to unveil a bronze sculpture he and wife Elizabeth donated to the museum.
Created by Kentucky artist Douwe Blumberg, the sculpture features a samurai warrior on horseback. The Shatners own a replica, which is displayed at their home.
“Today we’re celebrating the unveiling of a new statue by Douwe Blumberg, one of America’s great sculptors,” Shatner said. “The history of Douwe Blumberg is quite unusual. … He was a horse trainer and became a sculptor. …We have three pieces of his at our home, and we admired his work since he began.”
The donation and unveiling of the sculpture are in conjunction with the opening of the Frazier Museum’s new “Samurai” exhibition, which explores the warrior culture and how it shaped an entire nation. “We’re very proud to be able to donate this piece to Frazier Museum,” Shatner said. “And it will last far longer than any of us – especially me.”
Produced by the Frazier History Museum in partnership with the Kokusai Tosogu Kai, the 3,800-square-foot “Samurai” exhibit includes more than 200 objects, from armor and swords to rare textiles, artwork and religious items. Visitors will witness a diverse collection of artifacts spanning 1,500 years – including kimonos, wood block prints, theater masks, religious items and tea ceremony objects.“I became interested in Japanese history a long time ago and was struck by the delicacy of the Japanese culture as well as the brutality, if you will,” Shatner said of his interest in warrior art. “There is a mixture of refinement and warrior sensibility and I think that the statue reflects both those qualities.”
The “Samurai” exhibit opened in Louisville on May 12 and will run until Sept. 30. The exhibit was designed with children in mind, offering a number of interactive stations and hands-on elements. Kids are also admitted for free. “Samurai” is included in regular museum admission ($9.50 for adults).
The Frazier History Museum, 829 W. Main St., is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit www.fraziermuseum.org.
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | Contributing Photographer