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The Kentucky Museum – Current Exhibits

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Kentucky Sun Quilt

Kaleidoscope: Kentucky Museum Quilts
 Richardson Quilt Gallery

Kaleidoscope: Kentucky Museum Quilts

January 22 - December 18, 2018

Kaleidoscope showcases thirty rarely seen or previously unseen quilts from the Museum collection. Made in twenty-eight different patterns, they range in age from the 1820s through the 1970s.

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A Culture Carried

A Culture Carried: Bosnians in Bowling Green
 September 30, 2017 - June 30, 2018

This exhibit is in partnership with the Kentucky Folklife Program's Bowling Green Bosnia Oral History Project, and the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology. 

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Felts Log House

Felts Log House

 Closed for Winter

This 1815 log house is a classic example of traditional Kentucky architecture. The double-pen, two story structure with its dog-trot floor plan and poplar, oak, and walnut construction are typical of the folk architecture of the region. The structure interprets life in rural south central Kentucky in the eighteen-teens using reproduction household furnishings and equipment, tools, and clothing accurate to the period.

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Duncan Hines exhibit

Recommended by Duncan Hines

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

Civil War Exhibit

 A Star In Each Flag:

Conflict in Kentucky

The Civil War, 1861-1865, split the nation apart along the lines of slavery. Kentucky, a southern state with strong ties to north and south, was caught in the middle. This wonderful interactive exhibit explores the Civil War in Kentucky.

Photo Gallery

Snell-Franklin decorative arts 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


IAE Telescope

Instruments of American Excellence

This exhibit features everyday objects used by people in many different fields to achieve extraordinary things. For example, an ordinary hammer was used by President Jimmy Carter to not only build houses for the homeless, but to raise the awareness of Habitat for Humanity. An ordinary paint brush was used by Thomas Kincade to paint the most commercially successful scenes of American life available today.

Photo Gallery

More about the Instruments of American Excellence exhibit


Korean Exhibit

Korea Through Kentucky Eyes

Folk Studies 470G - Museum Procedures/Preservation

Dr. Michael Ann Williams

In spring of 2017 students enrolled in FLK/ANTH 470 and FLK 470G created the small exhibit   “Korea Through Kentucky Eyes” as part of the International Year of South Korea.


Hays Baskets

An American Educator in Liberia:
The Collection of Dr. Daniel Hays

Dr. Hays, a native of Bowling Green and a WKU alumnus, worked to develop public schools in the rural interior of Liberia during the 1950s and 60s as part of his job with the USAID.  During that time, Hays and his family accumulated a large collection of memorabilia including traditional musical instruments, games, furnishings, sacred objects, and tourist art.  Hays's daughter, Coppelia Hays, generously donated the collection and now visitors can learn about this spirited Kentuckian and the Liberian communities he lived with, worked with, and regarded as friends and family.



Hoarded Wealth & Invested Profits in Arochuwu, Glasgow, and Virginia:
 Legacies of the 18th Century Transatlantic Trades in Slaves & Tobacco

This project is co-curated by the WKU Gallery Studies Class, Department of Art, and Dr. Johnston Akuma-Kalu Njoku, Professor of Folk Studies. Using Dr. Njoku’s written articles and photographs, the class translated this compelling research on the legacies of the Triangular Trade into a visual exhibition. His research examines the folklore and material culture surrounding the Igbo slave journeys from their villages in the interior of the former Slave Coast to the United States.





 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.


 Hascal Haile: Guitar-maker to the Stars

 Monroe County, Kentucky native Hascal "Hack" Haile (1906-1986) began making guitars professionally in the late 1960s. A lifelong musician, he made guitars for classical artists and country musicians alike. This exhibition case features two of Haile's guitars; an acoustic folk guitar (1983) and a solid body amplified acoustic guitar (1982). Haile received national attention when in 1980 the Smithsonian Institution accepted one of his guitars for its Hall of Musical Instruments and President Jimmy Carter received him at the White House.


Taking the Mystery Out of Prehistory

Long before the first written history in Kentucky, people lived and hunted there. This small exhibit identifies tools, cooking utensils, and ornaments made and used by prehistoric Kentuckians. Ordinary and unusual objects of stone, bone, pottery, and fiber are included and a special display of projectile points identifies spear and arrow tips that span 10,000 years of Kentucky prehistory.



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 Last Modified 2/14/18