Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

With a name perhaps meaning “prairie” in the Iroquoian language, Kentucky was the 15th state admitted to the Union, in 1792, becoming the country’s first state west of the Appalachian Mountains. Ancient peoples living here left behind various burial mounds; by the time of the earliest European arrivals it was home largely to the Shawnee and the Cherokee. European exploration and settlement came in the 18th century, resulting in various skirmishes with the indigenous peoples. The state was much divided during the Civil War, with both U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate Jefferson Davis having been born in Kentucky. In the early 20th century, the state’s Bluegrass region gave its name to an emergent style of country music.

Archaeology & History Sites in Kentucky

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park

Abraham Lincoln is no doubt the most famous US President of the 19th century, having led its government to victory in the Civil War. Born in LaRue County in 1809, he spent his early years here. Several monuments now commemorate Lincoln: the well where his family collected their fresh water, a log cabin resembling that which he was born inside, and a neo-classical memorial structure completed in 1911.

Museums & Art Galleries in Kentucky

Civil War Museum, Bardstown

The Civil war museum in Bardstown was established in 1996, bringing together four separate attractions. The Civil War Museum of the Western Theater and the Women’s Civil War Museum are the largest and most complete museums in America to cover the western theatre of the war. Adjacent to the museums is the Old Bardstown Village – an open-air collection of ten original log structures from the 18th and 19th century. Also in the group is the General Hal Moore Military Museum, which tells the life of a local war hero who fought in both Vietnam and Korea.

Frazier History Museum, Louisville

Founded in 2004 as the Frazier Historical Arms Museum, the museum has expanded considerably since and now has a range of permanent exhibits about local, national and international history.  Topics of some of the permanent exhibitions include one of the largest displays of toy soldiers in the world, historic arms, bourbon whiskey, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The museum is housed in a historic 19th century commercial building that was known as the Doerhoefer Building. Today the museum is the official starting point for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.