Perhaps best known for horse racing and bourbon, there’s more to Kentucky than meets the eye. Featuring cities like Lexington, Louisville, and Frankfort, each place contributes something special to do when visiting the state. For fans of history, art, and culture, there are plenty of museums worth the price of admission throughout the state. Here are some museums in Kentucky you should visit.
Learn About Horses at the Kentucky Horse Park
Located in Lexington, KY, the Kentucky Horse Park is a great destination for animal lovers and equestrians alike. Part horse farm, part educational park, this museum attraction features a variety of exhibitions to deepen your understanding of horses and their history in Kentucky and throughout the country. Explore exhibits like the Show Jumping Hall of Fame or walk through the grounds and experience memorials and statues, such as the famous thoroughbred, Man o’ War. The campus even has several museums to browse, including the International Museum of the Horse, The American Saddlebred Museum, and the Wheeler Museum, which houses antique jockey memorabilia.
Tour the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory
Learning about America’s favorite pastime and the storied bats that have played a role in it at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory is a must for any sports fans on your trip. Featuring a gigantic replica of Babe Ruth’s Louisville Slugger baseball bat and a behind-the-scenes tour of the factory itself, a visit to this museum is a celebration of all things baseball. Even better, a souvenir 7” mini bat is included in the price of admission, meaning you don’t even have to stop through the gift shop on the way out!
Engage with the Past at the Frazier History Museum
History buffs will find much to appreciate at the Frazier History Museum. Located in Louisville, KY, this historical museum is also the starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. This Smithsonian affiliate was founded in the mid 2000s and showcases history using gallery tours, artifacts, and arms from America, Asia, and Europe. Notable memorabilia on display at the Frazier include a first edition copy of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “Big Stick,” and the bow and arrows of Native American Geronimo. With exhibitions like The Stewart Historic Miniatures Collection, and The Lewis and Clark Experience, there’s plenty to take in at this popular museum.
If you’re interested in learning more about Kentucky’s history, the Kentucky Historical Society has a list of recommended museums and exhibits to visit after your trip to Frazier. It’s worth noting, too, that The Kentucky Historical Society’s mobile app can help you take an even deeper dive into exploring Kentucky history. The app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and should you need to upgrade your device before taking a tour, you can visit one of the many AT&T stores in Kentucky. They can help guide you to the best smartphones for downloading apps and taking great pictures while on your trip.
Explore the Galleries of the Speed Art Museum
If you’re a fan of art, the galleries at the Speed Art Museum are the perfect choice for a trip. The Speed is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum, and is accessible by car or public transit. Special collections at the museum span six thousand years of creative output from dozens of countries and artists. Contemporary art, African art, Native American art, American art, and European art are all on display at the Speed. A unique gallery focused on pieces made in the state of Kentuckians between 1800 and 1945 rounds out the collection and features paintings, furniture, and sculpture. In addition to serving as a gallery, the Speed also hosts gallery talks, concerts, and even film festivals, so there’s always something exciting to do at the Speed.
From history and bourbon to horses, baseball, and art, there are dozens of museums worth checking out in the Bluegrass State. Each museum offers visitors a glimpse into the state’s rich history and contributions to the country, and even the world. Make plans to visit at least one of the above museums the next time you come to Kentucky—you won’t regret it!