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Kentucky Museum - Collections


Objects are available for study subject to museum policies and procedures. For more information email the Museum Registrar/Collections Curator, call 270-745-6260, or write: Museum Registrar, The Kentucky Museum, Western Kentucky University, 1906 College Heights Blvd. #11092, Bowling Green, KY 42101-11092.  Prior appointment is required.

Objects featured on this web page may not be on exhibit. To learn more about what is currently on display, visit our exhibit  pages.  For more information about specific artifacts in the collection, go to KenCat, our online catalog.

The Art Collection consists of more than 1000 works. Kentucky artists in the collection include Matthew Harris Jouett,Clement Reeves Edwards,Harlan Hubbard, Juliette and Alphonse Desport, Harvey Joiner, Sarah Gaines Peyton, Ivan Wilson and Joe Downing.

The print collection is composed of more than 80 modern prints by artists such as James Dine, James Rosenquist, Josef Albers, Robert Motherwell and Frank Stella acquired with assistance from Art Department faculty.

More than 350 works make up the C. Perry Snell Collection, including 144 miniatures, several icons, the Four Seasons statues, and a copy, possibly sixteenth century Italian, of Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of the Mona Lisa.

The Kentucky Museum includes several hundred examples of folk art, including pieces by Unto Jarvi,Helen LaFrance Orr,Lestel and Ollie Childress, Virginia Petty, Willie Massey, and Noah Kinney.

View artifacts in KenCat.

The Quilt Collection is composed of more than 300 quilts and quilt-related textiles.  Most were made between 1850 and 1900, although the time span covered extends from circa 1800 to 1999. Popular pieced patterns such as Crossed T, Diamond Field, Double Wedding Ring, Sugar Loaf, Irish Chain, LeMoyne Star, Lone Star, Mariner's Compass, Mosaic, and Tumbling Blocks are represented in it as well as traditional applique patterns ranging from Rose of Sharon and Whig Rose to Princess Feather. Variations of the Log Cabin block include Sunshine and Shadow, Barn Raising and Pineapple.

Notable quilts include the Chester Dare, Margaret Younglove Calvert Tumbling Blocks,Godey,Henry Clay Presentation and George W. Yarrall Spectrum quilts.

Selections from the quilt collection are exhibited in the Richardson Quilt Gallery. You may also view information about individual quilts in KenCat our online catalog.

This collection includes an estimated 7,000 examples of nineteenth and twentieth century textiles. The majority of historical clothing dates between 1870 and 1960, although examples from every decade between 1810 and 2000. Thirteen garments attributed to a Bowling Green, Kentucky, dress making concern, Mrs. A. H. Taylor & Company, comprise the most significant component of the costume collection.

View artifacts in KenCat.

The furniture collection numbers in excess of 150 pieces and includes examples of the Queen Anne, Chippendale, Federal, Empire, Late American Empire, Gothic, Rococo and Renaissance Revival, Shaker, Eastlake and Mid-Century Modern styles. The Cornett Rocker is perhaps the most unique piece in the collection.

The C. Ray Franklin Collection is particularly noteworthy. A Queen Anne chest on stand, Philadelphia Chippendale tea table, set of twelve Hepplewhite side and arm chairs, and Sheraton Dining table are of particular interest.

View artifacts in KenCat.

The museum collection includes around 1,300 examples of glassware and ceramics. The glassware includes condiment dishes, candy jars, tableware, canning jars, and patent medicine, milk bottles, soda pop bottles, and flasks.

Ceramics include Flow Blue, Ironstone, stoneware and Staffordshire in forms ranging from crocks, jugs, ginger beer bottles, tableware, salt and pepper shakers, and children's tea sets to decorative figurines.

View artifacts in KenCat.

Composed of more than 10,000 examples, the Rather-Westerman Collection consist of political memorabilia representing three main areas - candidates running for office in Kentucky. Kentuckians running for national office and candidates campaigning for national office in Kentucky between 1830 and the present. Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, James Buchanan, Harry S. Truman, and Alben Barkley are among the politicians best represented. More recent additions include campaign items associated with politicians like Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, and George H. W. and George W. Bush. Important Kentucky politicos include John C. Breckinridge,William Goebel,Albert "Happy" Chandler, Mitch McConnell, and John Sherman Cooper.

Search KenCat for artifacts.

The Kentucky Museum toy collection includes 2,800 toys, dolls and games, most of which date from the late nineteenth century through 1940. Important categories include cast iron banks and vehicles, tin mechanical toys, miniature furniture, and china head and porcelain bisque dolls. The core of the collection is the Orbra E. King Collection, which consists of nearly 1,200 dolls, mechanical and cast iron toys, miniature furniture and miscellany.

The William H. McLean Toy Soldier Collection is composed of 1,350 military miniatures and vehicles. Soldiers in the collection date from the 1920s through the mid 1960s and from 1985. Sets include examples made by Barclay, Britains, Grey Iron, Lincoln Logs and Manoil.

View artifacts in KenCat.



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 Last Modified 8/21/20