The Cool Kentucky exhibit at the Frazier History Museum is exactly what it sounds like: information about cool geologic features that exist in the state, cool products that are created within the state, and people who were born in the state and went on to do cool things. “It spans all areas of interest; it gives you a little taste of a lot of different parts about the history and culture of Kentucky,” curator Amanda Briede says.
One special feature of the exhibit is called Great Kentuckians and it is full of names you probably haven’t heard or don’t know much about if you have heard them. For example, John Scopes, who was born in Paducah, was an educator who became the defendant in the 1925 Monkey Trial in Tennessee after being fined for teaching evolution. Another Great Kentuckian in the exhibit is Louisvillian Saint Elmo Brady, who in 1916 became the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and went on to develop curricula for historically black colleges.
“We really wanted to focus on diversity, and we had a really huge team of people working in all different departments in the museum who would help contribute,” Amanda says.
While the exhibit opened in 2020, its conception was really in 2018, soon after the Frazier Museum became the official starting point of the Bourbon Trail. “We wanted to take that idea and expand [it] to be the starting point for Kentucky tourism,” Amanda says. “We wanted it to be big, exciting, and draw people in, but we also wanted to work with a lot of different institutions and represent different parts of the state.” There are about 300 objects on loan for this exhibit from around 50 institutional lenders, so be prepared to stay awhile and see what Kentucky has to offer.
By Carrie Vittitoe | Photos submitted