Woman on loom


500,000 artifacts that define Kentucky—and counting!

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KY History Mobile


Using history to teach 21st century skills.

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Historic photo of pole climbing


Providing Kentuckians a touch point to history.

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Empowering Kentuckians through history

Though it may sound odd, the Kentucky Historical Society is much more about the future than it is about the past. Since its founding in 1836, KHS has worked non-stop to empower Kentuckians by helping them understand what a vital role the state has played in helping shape the nation. History can bolster Kentuckians' pride by showing what we have accomplished – and it can help us learn from our mistakes, equipping us with the knowledge we need to push forward.


Preserving our heritage for new generations

State law mandates the KHS to care for more than half a million artifacts that help tell Kentucky's story. The Churchill Weavers Collection is a prime example of how KHS works to preserve the historic treasures that define our Kentucky roots. Founded in 1922 in Berea, Churchill Weavers quickly became America's foremost hand-weaving studio. But by 2007, cheap foreign imports and the organizational problems of its parent company took its toll, forcing Churchill Weavers to close. Learn how this Kentucky treasure found a home at the KHS where it can be studied and cherished for generations to come.

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Historic garment
Screen capture from video


Hands-on approach revs up the thrill of discovery

KHS champions the power and relevance of history in teaching students 21st critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration. The process of learning history dovetails perfectly with these "4C's" if we encourage students to experience the thrill of discovery by digging into our collections to learn what happened and why. This occurs both onsite at the KHS history campus and offsite through our online and our traveling educational programming. Click on the video to see a fascinating example of how we are encouraging students in their own historical discovery.


From historical markers to oral history and more, KHS is a vital touch point to history for all Kentuckians. We have ongoing programming and collaborations with historical organizations in all 120 counties, covering all sorts of historical experiences. Still, for many people the journey begins with finding their own roots. Piecing Together History is a KHS program that brings together people from communities to share their collective knowledge as they delve into their own pasts. And in October 2013 we added to an already robust repertoire of genealogy resources when we launched Kentucky Ancestors Online, a free portal dedicated to Kentucky genealogy and local history.

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Kentucky Ancestors Online

In the Archives

110 Unique church histories cataloged
126 Artifacts loaned to institutions nationwide
204 Oral history interviews with Kentucky Oral History Commission support
2,110 Artifacts cataloged
3,074 Artifact records with images placed online
7,001 Documents identified in the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs Collections for the Civil War Governors Digital Documentary Edition
10,258 Files of genealogical material processed

Through Our Doors

14 Countries where onsite visitors came from
45 States where onsite visitors came from
222 Teachers attending KHS onsite workshops
277 Participants in Cemetery Workshops, ranging from Williamsburg to Olive Hill
651 Visitors to the Kentucky Military History Museum during the first three weeks of its reopening in March
718 Family History Workshop attendees
1,538 Children enrolled in Camp ArtyFact and Night at the Museum/Staging Voices

On the Screen

9 Tours added to Explore Ky History smartphone app (current total = 17)
3,290 Register article downloads on Project Muse
10,699 Kentucky Ancestors Online page views by 1715 unique visitors in its first three months
18,209 Blog views
19,462 Visitors to the KHS HistoryMobile
100,000+ People who Googled our online collections database
123,787 Households reached via 17 Kentucky History Treasures segments airing on WTVQ-36
22,733,800 U.S. theatergoers who heard Lincoln's watch ticking

On the Road

23 Historical markers dedicated in 14 counties; current total = 2163 in 120 counties
4,886 Miles driven by Pass the Word staff to 77 oral history repositories statewide
7,607 Researchers/genealogists served onsite at the Martin F. Schmidt Research Library
27,808 K-12 students served during onsite group visits
95,820 Participants in KHS onsite and outreach activities

We the People

2,048 Combined years of knowledge at Piecing Together History in Lexington
2,391 Students participating in KJHS and National History Day activities
3,043 Attendees of special events, including 1235 at Food for Thought