Kentucky’s 225th Birthday: A Call to Action

In June, communities across the commonwealth celebrated Kentucky’s 225th birthday. At events and exhibit openings, Kentuckians commemorated the state’s important history and reflected upon what it means to be a Kentuckian.

At the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS), for example, visitors enjoyed birthday cake as we opened a new exhibit called “The People of Kentucky.” This exhibit focuses on residents who have made great contributions to the commonwealth, including Dr. Ephraim McDowell, healthcare advocate Mary Breckinridge, state bacteriologist Lillian South and poet and activist Wendell Berry.

As we consider the state’s 225-year legacy, let us think about why this history is important to modern Kentuckians.

The stories from our past help us confront the challenges of the future. History also teaches critical skills, promotes economic development and enhances our communities.

Think about what Kentucky communities would be like without preserved main streets, historic homes and schools, museums and historic sites. Moreover, what would Kentucky’s landscapes be without mountains, rolling hills, preserved greenspace, horse farms and rock fences?

Our museums, historic sites and preserved landscapes educate students, bring tourists to the state and make our communities vital places to live and work. This cultural heritage enhances our communities and makes our state what it is.

As we celebrate Kentucky’s 225th birthday, please use this time as a call to action.

Contact a museum or history organization in your community and donate your time, your expertise or your money to help them with their missions. These organizations contribute to local education, tourism development and to making our communities better. Let them know that you will be a vocal advocate for them when they need your help.

You can also support these organizations by donating to the Kentucky Local History Trust Fund on your state income taxes. KHS grants money donated to the Trust Fund to museums, libraries and local history organizations to help them with long-term sustainability, collections care, interpretation, organizational growth and more. Donating to the Kentucky Local History Trust Fund is a great way to help organizations across the state! (Find more information here.)

The late historian Dr. Thomas D. Clark believed that “the past must surely provide a threshold to the future,” and that history “will help us prepare to meet tomorrow.” Many local organizations and museums are working to use history to confront modern challenges. Therefore, as we celebrate Kentucky’s 225th birthday, please help these organizations meet their mission by supporting them and their great work.

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