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Creation Date



Date Built - 1931-1936; interior completed 1939

Opened 1936
Cost of Construction - $300,000
Architects - Brinton Davis, James Ingram

The Kentucky Building was originally designed as a 40,000 square feet Georgian-Revival style structure. It included reception areas, classrooms, museum galleries and library reading rooms. Construction of the building began in 1931 but due to the Great Depression, only the exterior was completed. The half finished building provided classroom space. President Cherry died in 1937, two years after launching a second fundraising campaign to have the building finished. President Paul Garrett, Cherry's successor, hired James M. Ingram to complete the interior of the building. The Kentucky Building officially opened in the fall of 1939. The building was dedicated on November 16, 1939, Dr. Cherry's birthday.

The people of Kentucky were asked to donate money to for construction of the building as well as artifacts for the museum. "The invitation is extended to every citizen of Kentucky to make a special effort this spring, during the annual spring cleaning, to gather up old Kentucky newspapers, magazines, letters, diaries, manuscripts, and any book printed in Kentucky, about Kentucky, or written by a Kentuckian." ["KY. Bldg. is to be Made Real Museum," Oct. 24, 1935]

The Kentucky Building houses the Kentucky Museum, Library Special Collections and WKU Archives. "The museum has displays of early textiles and costumes; china, glassware, and silver, jewelry and fans; early musical instruments; Civil War relics; dolls and doll furniture; and South Union Shaker items. Also on exhibit are the early tools, medical equipment, types of lighting, a relief man of Kentucky shown at the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition, and a large early still. ["Ky. Building Devoted Entirely To State and Local History," April 5, 1969]

In 1977 the building was renovated and expanded to over 80,000 square feet. The addition houses new gallery space for the museum and a library reading room. An interior courtyard between the original building and the addition was also created. The Kentucky Building was closed for three years during the construction.


1977 - $2.7 million renovation and expansion

1993 - Cherry sundial dedicated

Park City Daily News
1928 - Oct. 2, Oct. 25, Nov. 6
1939 - April 2, 9, 16, 23, May 14
1947 - Feb. 9


Western Kentucky University


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