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Faculty Resources

Faculty Resources at the Kentucky Building

Each semester the Kentucky Museum and the Special Collections Library work with WKU faculty and students. Professors bring students to the Kentucky Building for a variety of programs, as well as to utilize items from many collections to enhance instruction. After reviewing below, if interested in a visit to the Kentucky Building, or in any of the resources, please call 745-5083 for more information.

Register your class for research instruction or a tour



Cultural materials left by the earliest "Kentuckians." Collection consists chiefly of thousands of lithic (stone) materials such as projectile points, scrapers, hoes, axes, celts, gorgets, mortars and pestles.

Architectural Drawings/Blueprints

There are over 2,500 sets of architectural drawings chiefly from south central Kentucky.  The collection consists of designs for residential properties as well as  schools, churches, libraries, municipal and governmental structures, businesses, and buildings at WKU.


Collection consists of thousand plus works: Snell Collection  (17th-19th European paintings, miniatures, icons, furniture, and statuary), American (mainly mid 19th to mid 20th century paintings), folk art, and Modern prints.

Big Red

 The Kentucky Building maintains the original Big Red suit, drawings, memorabilia and much more about our favorite mascot.

Books/Journals/ Periodicals/ Magazines

There are more than 75,000 books, journals, periodicals, and magazines located in the Kentucky Building. The book collection contains a wide range of rare or unique print items from 1559 to the present.

Bowling Green History

The Kentucky Building houses resources documenting the rich history of Bowling Green, Kentucky. These resources include historic books, newspapers, letters, diaries, business records, photographs, maps, postcards, broadsides, and other ephemera that detail the city's evolution from 1812 to the present. 


The  collection includes broadsides, posters, handbills and other single sheet imprints whose topics span two centuries of American and Kentucky history. These posters and papers often feature popular or newsworthy events.


Retail merchants' publications provide rich primary sources on the accessibility of goods relevant to studies in architecture, arts and crafts, fashion, needlecraft and quilting.


Censuses from various Kentucky counties and states at different times in history can also be found within the book collection.  These records reveal important information about families, deaths, marriages, populations, and various other recorded data.

Civil War

A Star in Each Flag: Conflict in Kentucky - Exhibit    The Civil War 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 exhibit explores the Civil War in Kentucky. 

Letters and Diaries    Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as civilians, are represented in our manuscript collections.  Included are letters, diaries and military papers documenting the experiences of Kentuckians and those who found themselves in Kentucky during the war.  The building also houses the Civil War and Southern Research Collection, an extensive microfilm collection of antebellum and war-era books, manuscripts and documents.

Clothing & Textiles

The collection consists of outerwear, underwear, footwear, headwear, and accessories that date from 1810 to 2000.  Historic textiles include 50 coverlets, 200 plus quilts, and numerous 19th and 20th century household linens.


Cookbooks from the mid-nineteenth century to the present can be found at the Kentucky Building.  Many were published by KY organizations fundraising projects and document local foodways.  The collection also includes cookbooks published by Duncan Hines and Julia Child.

 Decorative Arts

Snell Franklin Decorative Arts Gallery- Exhibit  This gallery displays decorative arts from different periods in history including furniture, textiles, silver, glass, ceramics, paintings, lighting devices and many other items from several collections.


Collections include diaries of Shakers, authors, ministers, children and dozens of others.  These diaries provide personal reaction to international, national and local events.  One example is the the diary of Josie Underwood, who discussed the occupation of BG during the Civil War.

Dorothy Grider: Selected Works- Exhibit

Bowling Green native Dorothy Grider was best known as an illustrator of children's books.  The exhibit includes paintings, watercolors, drawing and illustrations throughout her career.  There is also a partial recreation of her studio and a display of books. This exhibit will be temporarily unavailable February 11 through April 21, 2013.

Duncan Hines

Recommended by Duncan Hines - Exhibit   Features the life and work of the Bowling Green native. An extensive collection of artifacts help visitors 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.

Collections include well over 1,000 items related to Duncan Hines and his career.


The building has a variety of permanent and changing exhibits, including the newest premier exhibit Instruments of American Excellence

Felts Log House- Exhibit

This early 19th century log house is a classic example of traditional Kentucky architecture.  The double-pen, story and a half structure with its dog-trot floor plan and poplar, oak and walnut construction is typical of the folk architecture of the region.   


The Folklife Archives hold numerous examples of student and faculty research related to folklife in Kentucky.  Project topics include foodways, ethnographic studies, superstitions, folk medicine, crafts, fold art, dance, music and cultural resources of individual communities. 


The furniture collection numbers in excess of 150 pieces and includes examples of the Queen Anne, Chippendale, Federal, Empire, Late American Empire, Gothic, Rococo and Renaissance Revival, Shaker, Eastlake and Modern styles.


The Kentucky Building houses the largest local history and genealogical collection in southern Kentucky with a wide array of print, microfilm and ephemera sources. There are extensive obituaries and biography files. There are over 300 scrapbooks that document local organizations, families and individuals.

Ghost Stories

The Folklife Archives houses a number of collections that include ghost stories and other documentation about paranormal activities sin Kentucky. Ghost stories are also included in the collections of Lynwood Montell, who wrote several books containing Kentucky ghost stories.

Glassware & Ceramics

There are 1,300 examples of glassware and ceramics in the collection.  Items include condiment dishes, candy jars, tableware, canning jars, and patent medicine, milk, soda pop bottles, and flasks.  

Greeting Cards

Thousands of vintage valentines and holiday greeting cards provide insights into period etiquette and customs of 19th and 20th century Kentuckians.

Instruments of American Excellence-Exhibit

Exhibit features ordinary means by which Americans from many fields have achieved extraordinary things.   

International Studies

 WKU faculty, staff, students and friends of Special Collections have donated photographs, diaries, letters, books, and ephemera from their travels around the world.  In addition, faculty research donations have enhanced our holdings on Europe, Asia and Africa    


For more than 70 years, librarians clipped local newspapers and created files on Kentucky topics, counties, biographies and obituaries. Currently functioning as a master index to pre-electronic newspaper articles, the vertical files lead researchers to pertinent sources in pre-1999 newspapers.


The Kentucky Building houses over one million manuscripts pages, including thousands of letters. These include letters of businessmen, government officials, teachers, lovers, artists, authors, poets, and numerous others. It also includes numerous examples of ordinary citizens living through extraordinary events.

Literary papers

Literary papers generally include an author's correspondence as well as gallery proofs and edited versions of publications.  The Kentucky Building holds literary papers for several KY authors including Janice Holt Giles, Robert Penn Warren, Alice Hegan Rice, Cale Young Rice, Joy Bale Boone, Eliza Calvert Hall and others.   


There are hundreds of vintage paper dress patterns, as well as pattern and catalog books. Some of the styles of dress include Civil War period clothing; pattern catalogs from 1873-1909, and patterns from 1950's and 1960's. Access is also available to CoPA.

Photographs (also carte de visites, daguerreotypes)

There are thousands of photographs from south-central Kentucky that depict families, landscapes, events, activities, and daily life during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Additionally, there are international themed photographs from amateur photographers and internationally known ones such as Ewing Galloway .

Political Memorabilia

The largest and most unique collection regarding national, state and local politics in Kentucky from 1830 to today. 10,000 artifacts (buttons, ribbons, badges, and novelty items) and 50,000 ephemera items (bumper stickers, campaign publications, photographs, posters) document well known and obscure candidates.


There are over 10,000 vintage postcards, emphasizing Kentucky themes but not exclusively.  The postcards in the collection date mainly from the very end to the 19th century to mid-20th century.  Some of these images may not exist in any other format.  


There are hundreds of posters promoting political controversies, estate sales, patriotic celebrations, theatrical performances, and election campaigns.  The time period covered includes mainly late 19th and 20th centuries, with a strong emphasis on Kentucky's political, social and cultural history.  


The quilt collection is composed of more than 175 examples; the majority of quilts were made between 1850 and 1900, although the time span covered extends from circa 1810 to 1999.

Richardson Quilt Gallery- Exhibit   This gallery hosts a rotating display of quilts and other textiles.  Currently, it includes two dozen quilts and historic textile samples collected by Elizabeth Richardson as well as an exhibit of Star pattern quilts.


There are over 6,000 maps in house.  Maps date from the 17th through 20th centuries, and their subject areas include transportation, natural resources, regional, municipal and historical themes with a major emphasis on Kentucky and its history.


 There are thousands of letters, diaries, and documents that document wars and military engagements. The Kentucky Building also houses numerous books, uniforms weaponry, and other military related items and artifacts.

Museum Theater

WKU Theater students may enroll in Performance 461: Museum Theater, which is a partnership between the Theater Department and KY Museum Education.  Students research, develop and perform original theatrical pieces in conjunction with KY Museum exhibits.  


Newspapers in the microfilm collection cover a multitude of Kentucky counties including  these examples from local and regional papers:

Courier Journal/Louisville (1891-1939)

Franklin Favorite (1892-1977)

The Glasgow Times (1897-1955)

Hopkinsville (1895-1966)

Park City News (1899-1996)

Oral Histories

The audio recordings held number over 10,000.  These include oral histories conducted by professional folklorists and historians as well as folklore and history students at WKU.  Also included are recordings of musical performances and lectures.

Robert Penn Warren

WKU has taken an active role in preserving Warren's literary legacy.  The Kentucky Building houses his personal library, his bibliographer's library, papers related to the writing of Warren's biography, as well as numerous photographs and artifacts.


Many documents, diaries, business records, and hymnals of the South Union Shakers, who gathered in Logan County in 1807 and disbanded in 1922, can be found in the Kentucky Building.  The collections also contain significant examples of Shaker furniture, textiles, photographs and publications.

Southern Kentucky Music

From Kentucky amateur and professional musicians' 4,000 sheet music pieces from 1840 to 1950, to more than 1,000 contemporary local disc jockeys and area musicians' modern sound recordings, posters and ephemera, the collection documents the musical heritage of southern Kentucky.

Toys & Games

The toy collection includes 2,800 toys, dolls and games, most date from the late nineteenth century through 1940. Important categories include cast iron banks and vehicles, tin mechanical toys, miniature furniture, and china hear and porcelain bisque dolls, and military miniatures and vehicles.

US Bank Celebration of the Arts Open Art Exhibition

This competitive annual art exhibition is open to all professional and amateur artists living within a 65-mile radius of Bowling Green.  This exhibit of approximately 400 pieces is a wonderful opportunity for regional artists to show their work 

VSA arts Bowling Green Side by Side- Exhibit

This annual exhibit features artwork of students with disabilities, area artists, and the artwork they created collaboratively.  VSA arts of Kentucky is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting creative expression of all.

Warren County History

County court records, local histories, postcards, photographs,business and family records, biography and obituary files make the Kentucky Building the primary source location for Warren County research.


 The collection includes 19th and 20th century long and small arms, edged weapons and armament accessories.

WKU Hilltopper Heritage

WKU administration, alumni, athletics, buildings, faculty/staff, photographs, special events, student organizations, timeline and traditions are featured in this website.

WKU History

WKU Archives collects the permanent records created by and about Western Kentucky University. the faculty and alumni.  These records are available to researchers interested in all aspects of WKU history.

WKU Photographs

WKU Archives maintains a collection of 50,000+ images of campus, faculty, staff, students, alumni, organizations, athletics and events.  Over 9,200 images have been digitized and are available through KenCat.

WKU Student Exhibits

Students from several departments utilize the museum to produce exhibitions typically done as class projects.

Please click for more information about An American Educator in Liberia: The collection of Dr. Daniel Hays and Hoarded Wealth & Invested Profits in Arochuwu, Glasgow, and Virginia: Legacies of the 18th Century Transatlantic Trades in Salve and Tobacco.

WKU Yearbooks

Yearbooks, commencement programs and other lists of graduates from WKU, Bowling Green Business University, Ogden College and Potter College are available through TopScholar.


Over 400 yearbooks from public and private schools in Kentucky enhance scholars, genealogists, and the general public's knowledge of education and student activities in many of our state's most rural settings.

Useful Links:

Kentucky Museum 

Kentucky Museum Education

Special Collections   


WKU Archives

WKU Records Management

Speakers Bureau   


Gold button with white lettering, Stay In Touch is linked to museum email

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Class in special collections library



Lecture in special collections library reading room.



student textile project



wkustudents during harry potter night



wku students at ky museum



college students in library



birg Red and college students outside of the KY Museum



WKU students at ornament contest



old books in special collections



WKU students in KY Room



Education class in the KY Lib.



wku students at ky museum



Student atheltes volunteer at KY Museum



WKU student and father



Students in Felts House



special collections Civil War and Southern History Research file cabinets



WKU students during scw



WKU students in front of museum



WKU students in dye workshop





Call 745-5083 for more information.

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 Last Modified 8/13/15