Spring a busy time at Bluegrass Heritage Museum

By Rosemary Campbell

Spring has kicked into high gear and so have events at the Bluegrass Heritage Museum. It’s a busy season for young and old alike.

Civil War Days

Recently we welcomed almost 500 fifth-grade students from Baker Intermediate School to theannual Civil War Days event April 24-26. Volunteers shared lots of information about Kentucky and Clark County’s involvement in the war, local connections that won’t be found in school textbooks.

Students learned about the life of soldiers, the building of earthen forts along the Kentucky River (including the one at Boonesboro), reasons why Kentucky was so important to both sides in the war, and the role of army engineers in expediting troop movement and thwarting the enemy.

The students became history detectives while handling actual artifacts from the 1800s, trying to figure out what the objects were and how they were used. They also learned about different points of view held by people from Clark County such as Roger and Charles Hanson, Mattie Wheeler, George Gardner, Benjamin Buckner and more.

One of the favorite stops in the event was in the operating room of the former Guerrant Hospital on the third floor of the museum. In his role as the museum’s living historian, Winchester Police Chief Kevin Palmer shared information about medicine of the 19th century and the treatment of wounded soldiers, introducing the kids to “Dead Fred,” a mannequin lying on the operating table.

Another favorite activity allowed students to try on hoop skirts, uniforms and more as they visited the “Seven Layers of Dress” station. They learned that ladies’ fans had a language all their own, conveying messages simply by the way the women moved them. The kids practiced communicating things non-verbally like, “I’d like to meet you” and “You are talking too much; go away!”

The museum thanks all the volunteers who helped with this event: Kevin Palmer, Brenda Sipes, Gary Johnson, Barbara Disney, Elizabeth Chalfant, and Mike and Marilyn Goolman. Museum board members were also involved including Jack Jones, Boo Baldwin, Ruthie and James Oetkin, Rosemary Campbell, museum staff member Julie Morgan and director Sandy Stults.

We appreciate the opportunity to work with Clark County schools in bringing local history to life for our young people.

Trolley Tours

May is Preservation Month and the museum’s annual Trolley Tours are under way.

May 1 offered a visit to Harkness Edwards Winery, including a tour of the vineyards and a wine tasting.

Upcoming tours will feature places that received 2018 Preservation Awards. We will be going to Holly Rood, home of Kentucky Gov. James Clark on May 8. Cost is $10. Recent renovations include a new roof, tuck-pointing, and new windows. Refreshments will be offered.

The May 15 tour will highlight the preservation of stone fences at Joan Mayer’s home with remarks by local historian Harry Enoch on the history of these iconic landmarks found throughout Clark County ($20).

Finally, the May 22 trip will be to Mt. Folly Farm, a certified organic farm ($20). Visitors will be able to see a preserved and refurbished cabin.

To make reservations for the trolley tours, call the museum at 745-1358. The tours begin at 6 p.m., so please arrive early. The tours generally fill up quickly, so call today!

New books available

Two new books have arrived and are for sale at the museum gift shop.

One is Harry Enoch’s most recent book, Where in the World? Vol. 3. This is the latest installment in Harry’s popular series about so many of the places and people of Clark County’s past, first appearing as columns in The Winchester Sun from June 2016 to March 2018. Topics in this volume include Swift’s Lost Silver Mine, Poynterville, the Coca-Cola Man, William Webb Banks, Betty Ratliff Smith and Winchester theaters, to name just a few.

The book sells for $15.95. Harry will have a book signing at the museum from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 15 before that day’s Trolley Tour.

The other new book is the Clark County African American Pictorial History. Compiled by the Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee, the book features photographs illustrating and documenting the people, places and events central to the history of our local African American community. Chapters focus on churches and schools, athletics and military, Bucktown, Old Poynterville and much more. The book sells for $30.

Photo request

At the April 2 Second Thursday Program, Jerry Cecil spoke about the history of Becknerville School and the older, smaller schools in the area that closed and consolidated to create it.

Afterwards, several people spoke to him about photographs they had of the schools. Jerry has done considerable research on schools throughout the county is continuing to research early one and two room schools.

He is especially looking for photos or information on the Franklin School on Route 15 (near Morris Road) and the Mooresville School on Muddy Creek Road; both of these schools operated for many years until consolidation following World War II.

If anyone has such photos, please bring them to the museum and we will pass them on to Jerry and scan them for our files. Thank you!

May Second

Thursday Program

The museum’s next Second Thursday Program will be May 10 and will feature Ken Brooks speaking on Frederick Law Olmstead, the famous landscape architect who designed Central Park in New York, the grounds at Biltmore in North Carolina and Cherokee Park in Louisville, among many others. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 program, and refreshments will follow. The event is free.

The Bluegrass Heritage Museum is located at 217 S. Main St. and is open Monday-Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Find us at www.bgheritage.com or email bgheritage@bellsouth.net. Call 859-745-1358.