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The Kentucky Museum – Current Exhibits

First Floor

Jonesville mural design
Jonesville Mural

Local artist Alice Gatewood Waddell and WKU professor and artist Mike Nichols collaborated on a buon fresco mural commemorating Bowling Green’s Jonesville community. Supported by a grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the mural provided internships for three WKU students – Aisha Salifu, Cecilia Morris, and Riley O’Loane – who worked alongside Waddell and Nichols to make the vision come to life.

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What Happened to Jonesville
What Happened to Jonesville?
October 19, 2022 - Summer 2023

Jonesville was a vibrant African American community in Bowling Green from around 1881 to the 1960s. Although the buildings are gone and many of the people who lived there have passed on, their stories live on through former residents and their descendants. This exhibit explores and sheds light on their stories. Sponsored by the African Amerian Heritage Council/Kentucky Heritage Council, WKU Department of History, WKU African American Studies Program, and WKU Potter College of Arts & Letters Quick Turn-Around Grants. 

Excacation of a house showing various levels
First Farmers of the Barren River Valley
September 9, 2022 - July 2025 

This exhibition highlights diverse aspects of pre-contact Native American farm life in the Barren River valley. Utilizing results of recent excavations by the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, First Farmers displays and interprets findings related to technology, settlement, foodways, society/politics, and economics/trade that reveal life in a farming village circa 1350 CE.

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Gazing Deeply title card
Gazing Deeply: The Art and Science of Mammoth Cave
February 2020 - December 1, 2023

Gazing Deeply showcases how WKU’s backyard—the unique landscape of Mammoth Cave—is being studied, interpreted, and inspiring action on environmental change. Coinciding with the UNESCO Conservation of Fragile Karst Resources: A Workshop on Sustainability and Community and Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in 2020, this exhibition is a collaborative effort between arts and science faculty and students that highlights one of the most well-known and vital natural landscapes in the world. 

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Lego Big Red with costumed Big Red
Lego Big Red

While visiting the Museum, be sure and take a selfie with Lego Big Red, located in the first floor Window Gallery. 

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Styles &thegistofit
Styles & The Gist of It
October 23,  2021 - May 30, 2023

Today, women own only 40% of businesses in the U.S., making Carrie Burnam Taylor’s business of the early 20th century that much more impressive. Curated with Dr. Carrie Cox, this exhibit explores Taylor's life and work, displaying three of her dresses, two coats, two bodices, and various undergarments recently conserved thanks to our Adopt-an-Artifact program.

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Ancient Near East in Kentucky
Ancient Near East in Kentucky
January 2022 - June 30, 2025

This exhibit primarily focuses on the role of writing in two early urban societies, Mesopotamia and Egypt. The artifacts are roughly 4,300 to 3,000 years old. In the 19th century, museums and libraries throughout the Western world acquired cultural artifacts from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, often from a desire to connect with what they considered the origins of Western civilization or Biblical History.

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Felts Log House
Finding Felts
August 2021 - June 30, 2024

Learn the history of the 1810 Felts Log House, including its construction by Revolutionary War veteran Archibald Felts, what family life was like in it, the move to WKU's campus, and restoration efforts by Andy Mills in 2021. 


Coral Reef
Coral Reef
through January 2023

Coral Reef is a large-scale, collaborative printmaking installation created by 47 students enrolled in Associate Professor Marilee Salvator’s Printmaking Relief and Screenprinting classes in the Department of Art and Design during Fall 2019, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. This second print installation at the museum explores the marine biome.

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Gabrielle Robertson
Flashback: 1939

Discover how the Kentucky Museum was created! Featuring a timeline and archival photos, this display between our Community and Student Research galleries explores how our home, the Kentucky Building, came to life.

Duncan Hines exhibit
Recommended by Duncan Hines
through December 2024

Featuring the life and work of the Bowling Green native, this collection of artifacts includes an outstanding collection from the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. Visitors will learn about Hines’ career as a writer on travel, dining and entertaining, as well as his transition to a "name brand" icon and pioneer in the world of packaged food.

Photo Gallery

Lancaster Rifles case
L. Y. Lancaster Gun Collection

Thirteen guns in two cases tell the story of how a hobby can make a person an authority. Dr. L. Y. Lancaster (1893-1980), best known as a professor of biological sciences and a mentor of pre-med students at Western Kentucky University for 37 years, collected and restored 19th flintlock and percussion lock long rifles. The earliest dated gun in the case is a flintlock from the late 1820s. For many Kentuckians, this case provides their first look at a double barrel shotgun.


Second Floor

POW: Process Oriented Works
through January 31, 2023

Process Oriented Works showcases our Contemporary Art Collection, including various techniques such as engraving and collaging which allow the artist's  finished piece to leave clues to how it was made. The thoughtfulness within each piece speaks to the process that was chosen, inviting contemplation about each individuals own everyday process.


Third Floor

View of the Snell-Franklin Gallery
Snell-Franklin Decorative Arts Gallery

Objects in this exhibition are all related to Kentucky in some way. Furniture is displayed in relation to time and style with silver, glass, ceramics, paintings and anthropological items, which were used to decorate homes at different periods in history.

Photo Gallery

Crazy Quilt
Crazy Quilt Mania
through June 30, 2023

In the late 1800s, stitchery from London's Royal School of Art needlework and Japanese arts and crafts exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition inspired women across America to take up their needles in new and different ways. Explore the various "maniacal" and "maddening" designs that resulted in this showcase of our Crazy Quilt collection.

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facing the freshmen year
Facing the Freshmen Year: Essential Conversations
through June 2024

This exhibit tells the stories of freshmen year from participants in a student success intiative, WKU Freshmen Guided Pathway (FGP). This cohort of first-time, full-time students who graduated from one of five high schools in Warren County represent the typical WKU freshman in terms of academic achievement prior to admission and their demographic makeup.

FGP assists students as they negotiate the often difficult affective and academic shifts between high school and college. Learn more about the program in this exhibit, presented by the Kelly M. Burch Institute for Transformative Practices in Higher Education, Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing, the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, the WKU Center for Literacy, and the Kentucky Museum.

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Felts Log House
Felts Log House

The Kentucky Museum's log house is a permanent exhibit. Donated to the Kentucky Building in 1980, the house was built in Logan County around 1810. Until 1968, it was occupied by descendents of the original owner, Archibald Felts (1758-1825). The Felts House has been restored to an approximation of its earliest appearance. Visitors may tour inside the house during normal museum hours by asking at our front desk. Opens for the season on Wednesday, May 11.

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Museum Courtyard exhibit
HAD Artist Collective Murals

Anel Lepić and Muhamed “Hamo” Bešlagic, two HAD Collective artists from Bosnia, carved murals in the Kentucky Museum courtyard. Letić and Bešlagić specialize in the wall cut technique to create their murals. The murals were unveiled Friday, March 2.  

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 Last Modified 11/16/22