Exhibits of Kentucky source materials found in WKU Library Special Collections, WKU Archives and the Kentucky Museum.

Barn Ad in Horse Cave
90 Miles of Dixie: 31W Today

In 2000 the Kentucky Museum partnered with the Southern Kentucky Photographic Society to produce this exhibit of images along US31W aka the Dixie Highway.

U.S. Senate Clerk's Desk
U.S. Senate Clerk's Desk

Read documents related to the history of the United States Senate Clerk's desk.

Bowling Green: Architecture
Bowling Green: Architecture

Take a stroll with us to Fountain Square Park in downtown Bowling Green Kentucky. This exhibit will be about the breathtaking architecture and briefly about its history around it. Fountain Square Park holds so much history and it is our pleasure to share a little about it if not all of the rich architecture that makes up Fountain Square Park. If you have anything pertaining to the photographs please contact Special Collections, we always could use help with putting names to unnamed history.

Bowling Green: Beech Bend
Bowling Green: Beech Bend

Beech Bend is an integral piece in the machine that is Bowling Green. This family-oriented park has been providing entertainment since 1898, originally under ownership and supervision of William Helm Brashear from 1880-1942 as a picnic area. As time grew on, the ownership and park did as well. Charles Garvin became the owner from 1942-1980 and added both rides and recreational activities, such as a pony ride, roller skating rink, dance hall, and swimming pool, to name a few. Racing also became a popular activity during the 1950’s and its popularity lives on today. The park boomed during the 1960’s with the addition of a zoo, the abundance of carnival rides, and the growth of the campground. However, the park’s revenue and popularity began to decline, as well as the health of the owner of 38 years. After Garvin’s death in 1980, the park turned over ownership to a group that included musician Ronnie Milsap, which purchased and owned the park from 1980-1982. After these unsuccessful years, ownership was returned back to the Garvin family. In 1984, Dallas and Alfreda Jones purchased the racetracks and began hosting drag-race events. As the popularity and revenue increased over the next three years the couple purchased the rest of the park, leading to what is current day Beech Bend.

Bowling Green: Cemeteries
Bowling Green: Cemeteries

Beautiful is not the term most people would think about when you mention a cemetery, but they are beautiful. In this exhibit we wanted to showcase the haunting beauty and history of cemeteries in Bowling Green. The tombstones, monuments, chapels, and the people that are buried in those cemeteries deserve to be remembered. The cemeteries are an important part of our community and that is something we hope you can see from this exhibit.

Bowling Green: Education
Bowling Green: Education

People are naturally interesting, through history and education. What else is there that we cannot be fascinated by? Even more if they are from Bowling Green Kentucky; no matter what race and gender they are interesting and unique people. Join us in this exhibit to learn more about what education they had and what part WKU had to play through history. If you have anything pertaining to the photographs and unnamed people please contact Special Collections, we always could use help with putting names to unnamed people.

Bowling Green: People
Bowling Green: People

Without people history would be empty, it is our choices that go down in history and inspire people to become great. This exhibit goes over some unique and different people that you normally don't hear about doing. From the strange to the down right funny this is people who choose to be different and do different things. Will you feel inspired to do something unique? If you have anything on the photographs of unnamed faces or times please contact Special Collections at the Kentucky Museum.

Bowling Green: Religion
Bowling Green: Religion

Bowling Green is filled with many different people, from different cultures and backgrounds. Through this exhibit about religions in Bowling Green, we hope we can show you the amazing diversity we are lucky to have here. We are proud to have many different denominations in our community, and hope you will be too.

Bowling Green: Theater
Bowling Green: Theater

Bowling Green has a long history in the world of theatre. It was common and very possible to renovate empty buildings into an area for theatrics and accommodate performers and an audience. These buildings held events for numerous entertainment types, such as spectacles, dancing, recitation, pantomime, and combination animal-dramatic performances, as well as true drama. There were also melodramas, farces, and comic operas.Traveling theatrical companies and amateur groups performed regularly in Bowling Green. Bowling Green's first building for theatrical productions was Odeon Hall. The original three-story building was erected in 1866 by John Cox Underwood, according to "Our Heritage: An Album of Early Bowling Green Kentucky Landmarks" by Irene Moss Sumpter. The first performance there was a piano recital in 1869. After it was purchased in 1887 by Pleasant J. Potter it became The Potter Opera House. The building was later renovated for business. The Phoenix Theatre is the home to local troupe Public Theatre of Kentucky and also the site of Fountain Square Players' performances. The Phoenix is a great place for recitals, birthday parties, receptions, meetings, and other special events. The Princess Theatre was owned by the Crescent Amusement Co. and opened in July 1916, according to information provided by Miranda R. Clements, Greenways coordinator of the City-County Planning Commission. It may have been one of the first theaters built in Kentucky for the express purpose of showing motion pictures. After operating for more than 40 years as a theater, the Princess at 430 E. Main St. closed in 1957 and was remodeled in 1959 for retail use. Several retail operations occupied the building until 1980. The theater, which is now known as the Princess Building, once again houses several businesses. The Capitol Arts Center was built in the late 1890s as a vaudeville house and originally named the Columbia Theatre. It was renamed and converted into a movie theatre in the mid-1930s. The theatre closed in 1967. After sitting for ten years, an extensive renovation was completed, and it reopened as the Capitol Arts Center in 1981.

Lizzie Morrison Tombstone
Haunting Beauty

Cemeteries are often thought to be dark, morbid, and most would not think of them as beautiful. This exhibit is meant to show the artistry that is found in cemeteries. The beautiful marble works of art should be seen, and we hope after you take a glimpse in this exhibit you leave with a new found appreciation for the haunting beauty that can be found even in the most unusual and ominous places. This exhibit was created by student Elizabeth Sutherland.

Kentucky Progress Magazine Covers
Kentucky Progress Magazine Covers

The Kentucky Progress Commission, formed in 1928 sought to draw tourism and business to our state. The Kentucky Legislature created the board with 12 members. The The magazine featured local interest stories, photographs of people, places, roads, industries and activities. Many ads featured business from the various cities around the state. Published monthly from September 1928 through August 1932, it continued quarterly until the Spring issue of 1936. Please note that some issues contain material that is under copyright, but qualifies for display by libraries under Section 108(h) of US Copyright Law. It is the user's responsibility to determine the copyright status of the material they want to use.

Green River (Oldtime Distillers Inc.)
Kentucky Spirits: Liquor Labels from the Commonwealth

Kentucky has long been recognized for producing fine Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. By 2013, Kentucky distilled 95 percent of the world’s bourbon. In 2019, The Commonwealth was home to 47 microbreweries 67 wineries. Despite living where this much alcohol is produced, Kentuckians, in 2019, ranked 44th among Americans in alcohol consumption. State tourism promotes the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (16 stops), a Kentucky Brew Trail (20 attractions), and 62 vineyards and wineries. Our collection includes many labels for bourbon, beer, vodka, gin and other spirits made in Kentucky.