Armed Kentucky on display


May 5, 2003, 05:05 PM
The Indianapolis Star

May 4, 2003 Sunday City final Edition


LENGTH: 528 words

HEADLINE: Armed Kentucky on display

BYLINE: David Mannweiler

Kentucky Military History Museum

Where: 128 E. Main St., Frankfort, Ky., 27 miles west of Lexington.

Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Indianapolis time) Tuesday-Friday, prearranged tours on Saturday and Sunday.

Admission: Free.

Information: 1-502-564-3265 or

From Indianapolis: 166 miles, 2 hours 45 minutes. I-65S 112 miles to I-71N to I-64E 47 miles to US-127N and Exit 53B.

In area: Daniel Boone's Grave, Berry Hill Mansion, Frank Lloyd Wright Zeig ler House, Kentucky Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, Labrot & Graham Distillery.

From rifles of the Revolutionary War to fragments of Scud missiles from the Persian Gulf War, the Kentucky Military History Museum in Frankfort emphasizes the service of the state's militia, state guard and other voluntary military organizations.

The museum displays a large collection of weapons, medals, uniforms, flags, photographs, military personal items and equipment and Civil War flags that commemorate Kentucky's martial heritage. Weapons include firearms, edged weapons, artillery and a large collection of Kentucky rifles.

Among the museum's artifacts are a Mitchell rifle, a dueling pistol owned by Aaron Burr and rallying horns used in the War of 1812. Only three of the horns are known to exist, and all are owned by the Kentucky Historical Society.

Other artifacts are a Civil War-era bomb, a militia sword that supposedly belonged to Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan, "trench art" made by Kentucky soldiers in World War I and the papers and ration cups of POW Col. John Rodman.

In late June, a new exhibit will open honoring the 623rd Field Artillery's role in the Korean War. The unit was made up of Kentucky National Guardsmen.

The museum is housed in the Old State Arsenal that was built in 1850 for $8,000 to store 12,000 arms and equipment of the Kentucky Militia. The two-story brick Gothic Revival building looks like a castle in downtown Frankfort.

The Kentucky Legislature mandated that the armory had to be within a half-mile of the state capitol. An explosion in a previous armory in 1836 had damaged the capitol building.

The arsenal became the Kentucky Military History Museum in 1973 after the Kentucky Historical Society restored the Old State Capitol and displaced its collection of military items. The museum is operated by the Kentucky National Guard and the Kentucky Historical Society.

The armory building is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Civil War Trust Discovery Trail. In the Civil War, the armory was used as a cartridge factory for Union troops in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.

The museum is one of three operated in Frankfort by the Kentucky Historical Society. The new $29 million Kentucky History Center continues the popular exhibit, "A Kentucky Journey," while offering touring and temporary shows in its Keene land Changing Exhibits Gallery.

The center's most infamous artifact is the coat that Kentucky Gov. William Goebel wore when he was assassinated in Frankfort.

The Old State Capitol Museum is a national historic landmark. Visitors see paintings and sculptures about Kentucky in the Senate and House chambers.

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May 5, 2003, 06:50 PM

Thanks for the heads up. It sounds like a great place to visit!

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