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Current Exhibits Around Campus Upcoming Exhibits
Instruments of American Excellence
This exhibit features everyday objects used by people in many different fields to achieve extraordinary things. For example, an ordinary hammer was used by President Jimmy Carter to not only build houses for the homeless, but to raise the awareness of Habitat for Humanity. An ordinary paint brush was used by Thomas Kincade to paint the most commercially successful scenes of American life available today.
More about the Instruments of American Excellence exhibit.
Hoarded Wealth & Invested Profits in Arochuwu, Glasgow, and Virginia: Legacies of the 18th Century Transatlantic Trades in Slaves & Tobacco
This project is co-curated by the WKU Gallery Studies Class, Department of Art, and Dr. Johnston Akuma-Kalu Njoku, Professor of Folk Studies. Using Dr. Njoku’s written articles and photographs, the class translated this compelling research on the legacies of the Triangular Trade into a visual exhibition. His research examines the folklore and material culture surrounding the Igbo slave journeys from their villages in the interior of the former Slave Coast to the United States.
An American Educator in Liberia: The Collection of Dr. Daniel Hays
Dr. Hays, a native of Bowling Green and a WKU alumnus, worked to develop public schools in the rural interior of Liberia during the 1950s and 60s as part of his job with the USAID. During that time, Hays and his family accumulated a large collection of memorabilia including traditional musical instruments, games, furnishings, sacred objects, and tourist art. Hays's daughter, Coppelia Hays, generously donated the collection and now visitors can learn about this spirited Kentuckian and the Liberian communities he lived with, worked with, and regarded as friends and family.
This exhibit is a project of the 2012 Fall Semester Museums Studies Class, WKU Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology with support from the Kentucky Museum.
Dorothy Grider: Selected Works
Born in Bowling Green in 1915, artist Dorothy Grider was best known as an illustrator of children's books. The current exhibition at the Kentucky Museum includes artwork recently donated by her Estate and work from the museum's collection. Paintings, watercolors, drawings, and illustrations show the evolution from her days in art school to a nationally-recognized illustrator of children's books. The exhibit will include a partial recreation of her studio and a display of books and other printed materials showing her published work.
Traveling outside the young nation was uncommon in Kentucky's early years. By the Civil War Kentuckians traveled to Europe on diplomatic missions. Travel to Europe for pleasure became more popular after the war.
Wealthy Kentuckians joined other Americans in the Grand Tour of Europe by the 1880s, and soon Kentuckians were traversing the globe. Whether hunting in Africa or on a school trip to Mongolia, teaching in Japan or developing schools in South America, people from south central Kentucky brought back mementos of their travels.
Elizabeth Richardson Quilt Gallery
Assembled over two decades, the Elizabeth Richardson Collection is a case study of American quilt collecting from the late 1930s through the late 1950s. The eventual outgrowth of Richardson’s attempt to connect with the female members of several rural Kentucky churches, it includes 13 quilts and 26 historic textile samples; correspondence with several leading figures such as Florence Peto and William Rush Dunton, Jr., who were active in the middle period of the 20th Century Quilt Revival; books about and photographs of historic quilts; and five scrapbooks that chronicle her interest in old quilts.
In addition to featuring quilts and textiles from the Richardson Collection, the opening of the Richardson Gallery will showcase 15 variations of Star pattern quilts that were selected from other parts of the Kentucky Museum Quilt Collection.
|Snell-Franklin Decorative Arts Gallery
The Kentucky Museum has many unusual and interesting objects in its collections. All of the objects in this exhibition are related to Kentucky in some way; they were made here, retailed here, or they might be part of a collection put together by a Kentuckian. This gallery displays furniture relation in time and style with silver, glass, ceramics, paintings and anthropological items, which were used to decorate homes at different periods in history.
|A Star in Each Flag: Conflict in Kentucky
The Civil War, 1861-1865, split the nation apart along the lines of slavery. Kentucky, a southern state with strong ties to north and south, was caught in the middle. This wonderful interactive exhibit explores the Civil War in Kentucky.
|Recommended by Duncan Hines
"Recommended by Duncan Hines" will include 11 sections featuring the life and work of the Bowling Green native. An extensive collection of artifacts will be on hand including the outstanding collection from the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. The exhibit features these artifacts along with state-of the art media tools so visitors will learn about Hines’ career as a writer on travel, dining and entertaining, as well as his transition to a "name brand" icon and pioneer in the world of packaged food.
|Felts Log House
This log house, built about 1815, is a classic example of traditional Kentucky architecture. The double-pen, two story structure with its dog-trot floor plan and poplar, oak, and walnut construction are typical of the folk architecture of the region. The structure interprets life in rural south central Kentucky in the eighteen-teens using reproduction household furnishings and equipment, tools, and clothing accurate to the period.
|L. Y. Lancaster Gun Collection
Thirteen guns in two cases tell the story of how a hobby can make a person an authority. Dr. L. Y. Lancaster (1893-1980), best known as a professor of biological sciences and a mentor of pre-med students at Western Kentucky University for 37 years, collected and restored 19th flintlock and percussion lock long rifles. The earliest dated gun in the case is a flintlock from the late 1820s. For many Kentuckians, this case provides their first look at a double barrel shotgun.
|Hascal Haile: Guitar-maker to the Stars
Monroe County, Kentucky native Hascal "Hack" Haile (1906-1986) began making guitars professionally after retiring from furniture making in the late 1960s. A lifelong musician, he made guitars for classical artists and country musicians alike. This special exhibition case features two of Haile's guitars; an acoustic folk guitar (1983) and a solid body amplified acoustic guitar (1982). Haile received national attention when in 1980 the Smithsonian Institution accepted one of his guitars for its Hall of Musical Instruments and President Jimmy Carter received him at the White House.
|Taking the Mystery Out of Prehistory
Long before the first written history in Kentucky, people lived and hunted there. This small exhibit identifies tools, cooking utensils, and ornaments made and used by prehistoric Kentuckians. Ordinary and unusual objects of stone, bone, pottery, and fiber are included and a special display of projectile points identifies spear and arrow tips that span 10,000 years of Kentucky prehistory.