Facebook Pixel The Kentucky Museum – Current Exhibits | Western Kentucky University

The Kentucky Museum – Current Exhibits

Ground Floor

Side by Side
Side by Side
April 6 - June 22, 2024

The Side by Side program was created by Arts for All Kentucky (formerly VSA) in 2004 for school age kids with special needs in communities across Kentucky. Details will be released in early spring 2024.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2024.


First Floor

"Chicken" folk art piece
Kentucky Folk Art
through June 30, 2025

The Kentucky Museum collection includes more than 750 examples of folk art, which is sometimes defined as a "creative work that is based within a specific or localized tradition." Thanks to a three-year digitization grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, our Folk Art collection is in process of being fully digitized. This exhibit features several of our favorite pieces, but you can also go to kencat.wku.edu to see more examples.

Jonesville mural design
Jonesville Buon Fresco 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.

More Information

Spotlight Gallery
Closed until 2024

Our Spotlight Gallery is closed in preparation for Sonic Landscape: Musical Legacies of South Central Kentucky, a multimedia-rich exhibition opening in early 2025. For a sneak preview, see the associated Kentucky Folklife Program website here.


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.

More Information

Tangents to Heaven
Tangents to Heaven
April 17, 2024 - June 4, 2027

This exhibition honors the life and legacy of Episcopal priest, filmmaker, writer and art connoisseur Al Shands (1928-2021) and his wife, Mary Norton Shands. Together, the couple supported and collected the works of nationally and regionally prominent contemporary artists. After their deaths, their collection was bequeathed to institutions across the Commonwealth, including 45 pieces donated to the Kentucky Museum. We are honored to exhibit selections from this collection, which serve to inspire the next generation of Kentucky artists.

Learn more.

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.

More Information


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

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.

Coral Reef
Coral Reef

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.

More Information


Education Gallery
Under installation
A revamped exhibition on the Felts Log Cabin will open in Summer/Fall 2024 after building renovations are completed as part of a grant-funded preservation environment project. 
Lego Big Red with costumed Big Red
Lego Big Red

While visiting the Museum, be sure and take a selfie with Lego Big Red. 

More Information



Second Floor

Community Galley

The second floor galleries are closed during Summer 2024 for cleaning and exhibition installation.

Sculpture Gallery

The Sculpture Gallery is closed for renovation.

Kentucky Room

The Kentucky Room is closed during Summer 2024 for cleaning and exhibition installation.


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

Stitches in Time
Stitches in Time: 200 Years of Kentucky Quilts
August 30, 2023 - July 27, 2025

Showcasing thirty of the finest quilts in the Kentucky Museum collection, Stitches in Time includes traditional and art quilts ranging in age from the early 19th century to the early 21st century. Quilts on view include a whitework masterpiece made by President George Washington's niece-in-law; a 66,000-piece quilt made by an immigrant from New Zealand in the 1930s; quilts with portraits of Henry Clay and Father Thomas Merton; and several textiles associated with Florence Peto, a leading figure in the second twentieth century quilt revival. 

More information.

facing the freshmen year
Facing the Freshmen Year: Essential Conversations
through December 31, 2024

This exhibit tells the stories of freshmen year from participants in a student success initiative, 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.

More Information



Felts Log House
Felts Log House
Closed for season.

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 descendants of the original owner, Archibald Felts (1758-1825). The Felts House has been restored to an approximation of its earliest appearance.

From April through October, visitors may tour inside the house during normal museum hours by asking at our front desk. The house is closed from November through March.

More information 

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.  

More Information


Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 5/7/24