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Kentucky Museum  

The Kentucky Museum is a history, arts, and culture museum located at 1444 Kentucky Street, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on the campus of Western Kentucky University. It includes 8,000 square feet of exhibit space. Archaeology, art, clothing and textiles, furniture, glassware ceramics, quilts, toys and games, and the newly opened “Instruments of American Excellence” collections are all permanent exhibits at the museum. 

If you think the Bluegrass state is only horses and bourbon, step into this 80,000 sq. ft. museum celebrating all aspects of South-Central Kentucky’s art, history, and culture. Current exhibits focus on issues such as women’s role in politics, “Crazy Quilt Mania,” the art and science of Mammoth Cave, and the first-year experience on campus. There’s even a striking art installation in the courtyard produced by visiting artists from the HAD Collective and the new Jonesville mural inside the museum’s lobby. Explore some sweet history in the “Recommended by Duncan Hines” exhibit and follow the career of the Bowling Green native from traveling salesman to esteemed restaurant critic to the cake-mix king. Other exhibits include The Snell-Franklin Decorative Arts Gallery featuring decorative arts from Egyptian – the 1970s, the world-renowned collection in the Elizabeth Richardson Quilt Gallery, and the 1810 Felts Log House, also featured on the property. Note: Face masks are always required on the free, self-guided tour. There is currently no admission fee to the museum for individuals and families! You can support the Museum through donations or purchase an item through the online shop at Redbubble (

Group rates still apply for docent-led tours and activities.

Additionally, meeting space is available in the Charles Hardcastle Kentucky Building. “Kentuckians need to know Kentucky” was the museum’s earliest conceptual framework, which took shape in the eyes of WKU’s founding president Henry Hardin Cherry. Today, after more than 80 years, it is a steadfast educational campus partner helping to inspire innovation, elevate community, and transform the lives of WKU students and the community.

What’s Inside?

Permanent exhibits include the Instruments of American Excellence (IAE) (opened September 2012), the life of Duncan Hines, a look at the Civil War from a local perspective, a decorative arts gallery ranging from an Egyptian sarcophagus to 1970s macramé, and a gallery of regional quilts. Changing galleries display a variety of themes, with community exhibitions, university-class designed and installed exhibitions, and some annual events, like the open art show. In addition, the 1815 Log House displays building techniques, furniture, tools, and clothing authentic to the 1810s period. Hands-on programs for school classes, educational workshops for adults, lectures, and festivals are also regularly featured at the Kentucky Museum.

Address: 1444 Kentucky St, Bowling Green, KY


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