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About the IAE Icons

The Instruments of American Excellence exhibit closed to the public on May 12, 2018. This is an archived web site. 

See what some of the American Icons represented in this collection are saying about the Instruments of American Excellence exhibit:


LaLanne family"Jack LaLanne devoted his entire life to help people help themselves through motivation, inspiration and perspiration on his TV exercise shows, which lasted 34 years. The Jack LaLanne family is proud to be in the company of many of the high achievers in the Nation who have inspired the world in their own way, to personify the American spirit. One of Jack's more famous LaLanneisms is: "Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you've got a kingdom."                                                 - Elaine LaLanne



whitey sanders"We should never underestimate the value of visually touching base with the historical artifacts that are left along the path that has led us to where we are today---for in the genius, creativity and accomplishments of those that travelled that path, we nourish the direction of our future. That is the importance of this exhibit."                                                                                                                        - Bill "Whitey" Sanders



Steve Huskey"An amazing exhibit that represents what is truly exciting about discovery in our great country. This one-of-a-kind collection is certain to spark ingenuity and excitement in our future innovators."             - Steve Huskey




Roger Ingram"For documenting the present-day anthropological record, the necessity of a collection like the Instruments of American Excellence at the Kentucky Museum should not be understated. It is inspirational to see these tools on display; it assists in understanding the importance of common items, and the extraordinary achievements that can be accomplished with them."                                - Roger Ingram



"The Instruments of American Excellence Western Kentucky University...will be of interest to many."                                       - Sandra Day O'Connor


"Helen Keller's favorite book was the Bible.  It was a source of enormous joy and sustained her strong faith in human goodness, empowering her in her lifelong fight for those with disabilities."                                                                                                                           - President Carl Augusto, American Foundation for the Blind


"We come into the world naked and our parents dress us, but we choose which instruments we will pick up to implement our passions.  We don't choose them to make us great, but as servants to give meaning and substance to our passions.  My instruments gave my life to peace and justice for all."                                                                                                                                                                                     - Hunter "Patch" Adams, MD


"Every worker values his tools, and though a dictionary may seem a humble offering, this one has been my handy and steadfast instrument for many years, though many stories, helping me to find just exactly the right word -- and to spell it correctly! I'm honored to contribute it to the Collection."                                                                                                                                                                            - Valerie Tripp


"Daniel Chester French, sculptor of Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial, once described himself as "a man nine-tenths mechanic and one-tenth poet." Chesterwood and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are honored to see French's sculpting tools included in this important, interdisciplinary collection of instruments that have contributed widely to the arts and sciences.  French's tools represent his contributions to the ideology and identity of America through his iconic sculpture."                                                                                           - The Chester Daniel French Foundation


"It is through accomplishment that man makes his contribution and contribution is life's greatest reward."                                                       - John Portman


"It is a pleasure and honor to be included in this collection that honors the extraordinary skills and talents of Americans in a wide variety of fields, and aims to inspire all who see it to achieve their own greatest potential."                                                                                              - Keith Lockhart, The Boston Pops

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 Last Modified 5/21/18