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Kentucky History - Pisgah Presbyterian Church Photo

Pisgah Presbyterian Church in Woodford County, KY, built 1812, Photo 1933.

Built in America Collection,  #HABS, KY,120-PISG.V,1- AND 2-. Library of Congress, American Memory

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Historical Museum Guide for Kentucky

A directory of Historical Museums in Kentucky, categorized by county.

Taking a trip to Kentucky?  A visit to these local Kentucky history museums and historical societies will bring you face to face with Kentucky people and places of the past.  There are many historical places in Kentucky, even a few good ghost stories.  We have added links to virtual tours, histories, old historic photos and exhibits when available so you can visit some places online from the comfort of home.

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Kentucky History Museums

Allen County

Allen County Historical Society and Historical Museum

Focused on the history of Allen County, the museum features historical artifacts and items related to local history.  A genealogical research room is also located at the historical society located at 301 N. Fourth Street in Scottsville, KY.

 

Ballard County Wickliffe Mounds

The mounds were built by Native Americans ca 1100 to 1350.  First excavated by an amateur archaeologist, Colonel Fain W. King in 1932, he opened the site as a tourist attraction called "Ancient Buried City".  Today, the site offers a Visitor Center which introduces the visitor to the Wickliffe Mounds.  There are 3 excavated mounds, the Ceremonial mound and displays of Indian artifacts with information about Mississippian burial practices.  Located at 94 Green Street in Wickliffe, KY.

 

Barren County

Historic Diamond Caverns   [History]  [Photos]

Discovered in 1859 and renowned for it's sparkling formations which gave the caverns their name, the caves are located next to the Mammoth Cave National Park.

South Central Kentucky Cultural Center

Devoted to the history of the geographic area known as the "Barrens" which includes Metcalf, Allen, Hart, Monroe and Barren County.  The museum is housed inside an old Kentucky Pants Factory in downtown Glasgow at 200 West Water Street.

 

Boyd County

Highlands Museum and Discovery Center

Visitors to the museum will discover the history and heritage of early pioneers to Ashland, Kentucky.  Located at 1620 Winchester Avenue in Ashland, KY.

 

Boyle County Constitution Square State Historic Site  [The buildings and sites]

The site was Kentucky's first seat of government and the location where the Kentucky constitution was formed, separating KY from VA to become it's own state.  The park has several historical buildings and homes, including Grayson's Tavern, Fisher's Row, the Watts - Bell House, and Alban Goldsmith House, while the courthouse, jail and meeting house are all replicas of the originals.  Location is at 134 South Second Street in Danville, KY.

The Great American Dollhouse Museum

This new museum is now open.  It is housed inside a 1939 historical WPA building.  The museum offers extensive exhibitions of antique, vintage and artisan miniatures and dollhouses.  Features a timeline of US social history in miniature and a 1910 village in 1:12 scale.  For more information, call (859} 583-8000.  Located at 307 N. 6th Street in Danville, KY 40422

 

McDowell House, Apothecary & Gardens

[History]  [Tours]  [Descendants]

The 18th century house was home to Dr. Ephraim McDowell, the famed physician who performed the first successful abdominal surgery.  Located at 125 S. Second Street in Danville, KY.

Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site

[History of the Battle of Perryville]  [History of Perryville]  [Merchants Row]

Site of the most vicious Civil War battle in the state of Kentucky.  The park museum tells the story of the October 8th, 1862 battle which left over 6000 dead, wounded and missing.  There are many monuments from several states, which honor their dead on the Perryville Battlefield along with both Confederate and Union monuments.

 

Carroll County

Butler - Turpin Historic House

Historic home built in 1859, was home to Thomas Butler, aide-de-camp to General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812.  Guides dressed in period clothing will take you on tour of the house and grounds which include the Butler Family Cemetery and an archaeology site of the Butler Log House.  Located at 1608 Highway 227 in Carrolton, KY.

 

Christian County Jefferson Davis State Historic Site

A 351 foot monument dedicated to the site of Jefferson Davis' birthplace.  The visitor's center offers exhibits related to the life of Jefferson Davis along with souvenirs and Civil War memorabilia.  Located at Highway 68 E in Fairview, Kentucky.

 

Fayette County

 

Ashland - Henry Clay Estate

Ashland - The Henry Clay Estate

[About Henry Clay]  [History of the Mansion]

Built in 1856 on the site of the original home of Henry Clay (statesman and politician), the Italianate style mansion was erected by his son, James Clay.  The original Ashland was a bluegrass farm of over 600 acres but today the home is situated on 17 lovely acres and contains a formal garden with outbuildings.  Location is 120 Sycamore Road in Lexington, KY.

Boone's Station

The location of a pioneer station established in 1779 by Daniel Boone near Athens, KY.  Some members of Daniel Boone's family are buried at the site.  There is not an established museum at this site.

Kentucky Life Museum / Waveland - A Living History House

Built in 1845 by Joseph Bryan, nephew to Daniel Boone.  The home is Greek Revival and considered to be one of the best examples of the architecture in the state of Kentucky.  Outbuildings located on the grounds include a blacksmith shop, carpenter's shop, log house, ice house, country store and more.  The museum is focused on the history of the Bryan family and life on the 19th century KY plantation.  225 Waveland Museum Lane, Lexington, KY.

Lexington History Museum

The main focus of the Lexington History Museum is the discovery and interpretation of the history of Lexington, KY and the Bluegrass Region.  The museum is housed inside the historical former Fayette County Courthouse located at 215 W. Main Street in Lexington, KY.

 

Floyd County Middle Creek National Battlefield  [History]

Known as the decisive Civil War battle for Eastern Kentucky, the battle took place on January 10th, 1862.  Today, you will find an information station which includes historical depictions of the battlefield and there are two loop trails, one for each the Confederate and the Union forces.  The trails include interpretive signs.  Also visit Graveyard Point, the former site of Garfield Place, May House and the May House Grist Mill.  Located near Prestonburg, KY.

Samuel May House  [Photo Archives]

John May Ancestors and Descendants

[May House Archives]

This fine old house is being restored.  Once home to Samuel May, it is known as "The Oldest House in the Valley".  The goal is to make this old home a living history museum.  Located in Prestonburg, KY.

 

Franklin County

Kentucky History Center

The Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History holds a wealth of Kentuckian historical information which has been preserved for future generations.  This museum offers a research library in addition to the Kentucky history exhibits. offered by the Kentucky Historical Society.  Located at 100 W. Broadway Avenue in Frankfort, KY. 

Kentucky Military History Museum

The museum is housed in the Old State Arsenal which was built in 1850 to hold the weapons and equipment of the Kentucky Militia.  Still standing silent guard on a cliff overlooking the Kentucky River, the museum houses an impressive collection of military memorabilia.  Located on East Main Street at Capital Avenue in Frankfort, KY.

Liberty Hall and the Orlando Brown House

[History]  [The Gardens]

Situated on grounds which lead down to the Kentucky River and fraught with lovely gardens, two historic landmarks stand tall as a reminder of the past.  Liberty Hall  was built in 1796 by State Senator John Brown and the Orlando Brown House was built in 1835, a home to Senator Brown's second son. Visitors will learn about the life and times of Senator John Brown and his descendants, along with the social, domestic and horticultural aspects of pioneer life in Kentucky.   Located on the banks of the Kentucky River in historic downtown Frankfort, KY.

Old State Capitol and Historical Museum

The Old State Capitol is housed in an 1830 Greek Revival structure which looks today much the same as it did in during the 1850s.  Guided tours of this historic building are offered.  Inside you will find photographs, maps and artifacts recovered during archaeological digs.  Located at 300 West Broadway in Frankfort, KY.

 

Hardin County

Hardin County History Museum   [Virtual Tour]

Located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, this history museum is devoted to preserving and displaying the history of Hardin County.

General George S. Patton Jr. Museum of Cavalry and Armor

[Virtual Tour]

The Patton Museum is administered by the U.S. Army Armor Center and Fort Knox, KY.  It is dedicated to preserving and displaying historical material related to Cavalry and Armor.  The galleries include armored vehicles, weapons, art and other memorabilia along with the Patton Gallery which includes many personal items used by General Patton in his lifetime.  Located in Keyes Park (home to more historical armored vehicles and equipment) near the main entrance to Fort Knox.

 

Harrison County

Cynthiana Historical Museum 

[Photos]   [Timeline of Cynthiana History]

Discover the history of Cynthiana, Harrison County, KY through exhibits of early artifacts from the Cynthiana area.  112 South Walnut Street, Cynthiana, KY.

 

Hart County

Battle for the Bridge Historic Preserve

Preserving and restoring this historic Civil War site is the focus.  The first trail has only been opened to visitors but restoration is still under way on the Anthony Woodson House and other areas of the preserve.  Fort Craig and the Robert Smith monument are on private land but can be viewed from the trail.  Located in Munfordville, KY.

Hart County Historical Museum

Housed inside the Chapline Building, the museum offers a large collection of historic artifacts, photographs and documents relating to the history of Hart County, Kentucky.  Located on U.S. Highway 31W (Main Street) in Munfordville, KY.

Hidden River Cave  [Cave History]

Tour the mammoth caves.  People have been doing so since the mid 1800s when the town of Horse Cave, KY became a popular tourist destination.   While visiting the caves, be sure to see the American Cave Museum where you will get an in-depth look at the history and science of caves.  Learn about historical caving and modern cave exploration through fascinating exhibits. 

119 E. Main Street

Horse Cave, KY

Woodson House and Farm  [Photo]

Originally the home of the  Anthony L. Woodson family,   The home was involved in the Civil War - Battle for the Bridge. and today serves as the Visitor Center and Museum for that history project.  Located across the Green River in Munfordville, KY.

 

Jefferson County

 

Locust Grove Historic Site

Locust Grove Mansion

Croghan House

Farmington Historic Home  [History]

Experience life on a Kentucky hemp plantation.  The Federal-style home was built in 1816 for John and Lucy Speed.  the home has been restored and contains period furnishings.  On the grounds, visitors will find a barn, the cook's quarters and kitchen, blacksmith shop, and a 19th century garden.  Located at 3033 Bardstown Road in Louisville, KY.

The Filson Historical Museum

Frazier International History Museum  [Exhibitions]

History and artifacts of heroes, generals and famous leaders of America and the world.  The exhibits include a large collection of armaments and British Royal Armouries along with American historical artifacts and exploration of American history from early settlement through 1900. Located at 829 West main Street in Louisville, KY.

Jeffersontown Historical Museum   [History of Jeffersontown]

The museum features an exhibit of presidential memorabilia along with artifacts from the early times of Jerfersontown, Located at 10635 Watterson Trail in Jeffersontown, KY.

Locust Grove Historic Site

The 1790 Georgian mansion has been restored to it's original splendor.  Owned by William and Lucy Clark Croghan, an Irish immigrant who came to Kentucky with George Rogers Clark (of Lewis and Clarke, Louisiana Territory explorers).  Known visitors to the residence include President James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson.  The fine home was inhabited by various families until 1961 when it as purchased by Jefferson County and restored as a historic landmark and museum.

 

Jessamine County

Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park  [Historic Photo Tour]

 

Johnson County Van Lear Coal Miner's Museum

Housed inside the former Consolidation Coal Company building, the museum features historical artifacts, memorabilia and other items related to the history of the coal mining town of Van Lear and the surrounding area.  Located at 78 Miller's Creek Road in Van Lear, KY.

 

Kenton County

James A. Ramage Civil War Museum

The primary focus of the James A. Ramage Civil War Museum is on the role of Northern Kentucky in the Civil War.  Through archaeology, education and research, the museum informs visitors about the Civil War in Northern Kentucky and the history of Fort Wright, Kentucky and surrounding areas.  Located at 1402 Highland Avenue in Fort Wright, KY.

 

Knox County Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site

[Dr. Thomas Walker's Journal 1750]

Thomas Walker was actually the first frontiersman in Kentucky, arriving in 1750 and built the first cabin.  A replica of this cabin stands on the historic site.  Located at 4929 KY 159 in Barboursville, KY.

Knox Historical Museum  [Daniel Boone Festival]

Admission is free.  Located at 196 Daniel Boone, Drive in Barbourville, KY.

 

Laurel County

Laurel County History Museum and Genealogy Center

[Laurel County History]  [Historical Photos]

This museum is under construction and expects to open in the summer of 2009.  The museum will be devoted to all aspects of the history of Laurel County and will include history about Swiss descendants, Civil War history in Laurel County, the Wilderness Road, Skaggs Trace, Boones Trace, African American history, Native American history and more.  Located on Fall Street in London, KY.

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park & Mountain Life Museum

The Mountain Life Museum offers visitors an early settlement created from historical buildings which were moved to the site along with replicas of original buildings.  The buildings, including McHargue's Mill, are full of pioneer relics and will give visitors insight into the life of the mountain pioneers of early Kentucky.  Inside the park is the site of McNitt's Defeat, Kentucky's worst Indian massacre, occurring in 1786 and you will observe the Defeated Camp Pioneer Burial Ground.  Located at 998 Levi Jackson Mill Road in London, KY.

 

Lincoln County

William Whitley Historic House

The first brick home built in KY, included the first circular racetrack known as Sportsman's Hill.  The home, built in 1794, features a secret chamber for hiding during Indian attacks and was known as a gathering place for famous visitors; George Rogers Clark and Daniel Boone.  Address is 325 William Whitley Rd. in Stanford, KY.

 

Logan County

Shaker Museum

 

Madison County

 

 

Cassius Marcellus Clay

Cassius Marcellus Clay

Lived at White Hall.

Blue Grass Railroad Museum

Fort Boonesborough State Park

A reconstructed and working fort, built complete with cabins, blockhouses and furnishings on the site of the original Fort Boonesborough which was established in 1775 by Daniel Boone and his men.  The new Kentucky River Museum offers visitors more insight into lives of the families who lived on the river.  Located at 4375 Boonesborough Road in Richmond, KY.

White Hall State Historic Site

The 1799 Italianate mansion has 44 rooms.  Home to Cassius Marcellus Clay, who was a friend to Abraham Lincoln, an emancipationist, newspaper publisher and Minister to Russia.  His daughter Laura Clay was the first woman to be nominated to the United States presidency by a major political party.  White Hall can be toured with costumed guides.  Located at 500 White Hall Shrine Road, Richmond, KY.

 

Mason County Kentucky Gateway Museum Center

[Research Library]

The history, genealogy, culture and heritage of Maysville, are all featured in the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center.  The museum features dioramas, historical artifacts, a gallery of art related to Kentucky and Maysville, a research library and the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection.  Located at 215 Sutton Street in Maysville, KY.

 

Monroe County

Old Mulkey Meeting House Historic Site

Built in 1840 and known as "The Mulkey Church", the structure is known as the oldest log meetinghouse in Kentucky.  There are many Revolutionary War soldiers and pioneers buried at the site, including Hannah, sister to Daniel Boone.  Located at 38 Old Mulkey Park Road in Tompkinsville, KY.

 

Nelson County

My Old Kentucky Home

 

Oldham County

J.C. Barnett Library and Archives

Housed inside an 1840s Kentucky Four Square house, the building serves as the headquarters for the Oldham County Historical Society and houses a large collection of historical documents, genealogical records, photos and other materials related to historical research in their library.  Located at 106 North Second Avenue in La Grange, KY.

Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum

Housed inside the restored Victorian home of Peyton Samuel Head, a prominent citizen of LaGrange, the museum is focused on the history of Oldham County with exhibits of art and natural history as well.  Located on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Jefferson Street in La Grange, KY.

 

Owen County Owen County Historical Society & Museum

Focus of the museum is on the local history of Owen County and Owenton, KY.  Located at 206 N. Main Street in Owenton, KY.

 

Perry County Mother Goose House

Although not a museum, the house is a well known landmark in Hazard, KY and is a remarkable structure.  Built in 1940 with a goose on the roof and complete with 8 egg shaped windows, it is definitely worth a gander.  Located at 2880 N. Main Street in Hazard, Kentucky.

 

Simpson County

Octagon Hall Museum

[History]  [Photos]

Known as the plantation that escaped the Civil War, Octagon Hall is a most unusually shaped historic house owned by Andrew and Harriet Caldwell.  Construction was begun in 1843 and completed in 1859.  The home was occupied by the Caldwell family until 1918.  Today visitors can take a step back in time as they tour the Plantation grounds and Octagon Hall. This home is presently being investigated by Ghost Hunters for paranormal activity.  Events such as weddings are often held on the plantation grounds.  Located at 6040 Bowling Green Road in Franklin, KY.

Simpson County Archives and Historical Museum

Housed inside the old jail building, the Simpson County Museum and archives is operated by the Simpson County Historical Society.  The museum is home to historical artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of Simpson County.  The archives is the repository for old court documents, tax records, vital records, extensive genealogical materials and historical photographs.  Located at 206 N. College Street in Franklin, KY.

 

Warren County

Historic RailPark and Train Museum

The Historic RailPark and Train Museums is housed inside the historic L&N Depot.  Built in 1925, the L&N Depot operated as a passenger and freight train station until 1979.  Today, visitors to the museum, will find themselves transported to the golden era of railroad passenger train service.  Tour Guides lead you through a Railway Post Office Car, Dining Car, Sleeper Car and Office Car along with the chance to see inside a diesel locomotive, a Caboose car, a Segregation rail car and a rare WWII Unit Hospital car.  Browse the rail and train exhibits inside the museum at your leisure and stop by the gift shop.  Located at 401 Kentucky Street in Bowling Green, KY.

The Kentucky Museum  [Exhibits]

Focused on the collection, preservation and exhibition of Kentucky artifacts, the museum features hands-on activities for students, teacher workshops and groups tours.  The museum holds an outstanding quilt and textile collection, extensive archeological and ethnic holdings along with fine and decorative arts.  Located on the campus of Western Kentucky University in the Kentucky Building at 1 Big Red Way in Bowling Green, KY.

 

Wayne County

William Crenshaw Kennedy Jr. - Wayne County History Museum

 

Whitley County

Whitley County Historical & Genealogy Society Museum

Alternate Site

Operated by the Whitley County Historical & Genealogy Society, the museum is located in the old L & N Depot in Williamsburg, KY, the museum features 4 rooms devoted to the history of Whitley County as well as 3 rooms devoted to the genealogy department where visitors will find research materials and historical documents.  Located at 529 Main Street in Williamsburg, KY.

 

Woodford County

Jack Jouett House  [Jack Jouett's Ride]

Once the home to Jack Jouett (known as the Paul Revere of the south), the rural home features a 1780s frontier stone cabin which was used a kitchen by the prosperous planter, his wife Sally Robards and their twelve children.  Complete with period furnishings, docent guided tours are offered.  Call for times of operation.  (859) 873-7902.

Located at 255 Craig's Creek Road in Versailes, KY.

Pisgah Presbyterian Church   [History]

[Early Settlers & Members of the Church]

[Guide to the Pisgah Presbyterian Church Records 1808-1965]

Founded in 1784, this church is still active.  The first church building was made of logs and stood below the current church site.  The current church building was built in 1812 of stacked stones and remodeled in 1868 to the current poignantly beautiful Gothic appearance. Visitors are welcome to attend the church services.  Located at 710 Pisgah Pike in Versailles, KY.

Woodford County Historical Museum

Operated by the Woodford County Historical Society, the museum features exhibits and items of relevant significance to the history of Woodford County.  Civil War artifacts, household and everyday items from the past, relics from Versailles, and other exhibits of interest are offered to visitors.  The museum includes a genealogy library.  Both are free to the public.  Located at 121 Rose Hill in Versailles, KY.

 

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