Tour Bluegrass State museums to explore history and culture

Northern Kentucky River Region Caves, Lakes & Corvettes Bourbon, Horses & History Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ

by Ben Mackin
April 10, 2024

 

If you’re the type of traveler who loves getting to know a region’s people and culture, then look no further than Kentucky’s museums.

Beyond the world-famous National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington, and the Newport Aquarium in Northern Kentucky, are these lesser-known but just as amazing museums.

 

 

Roots 101 African American History Museum

 

 

Located in the heart of downtown Louisville with a view of the Ohio River, the Roots 101 African American History Museum gives visitors a comprehensive look into what it means to be Black in Kentucky, and the United States. Thought-provoking exhibits cover wide-ranging topics on cultural identity such as civil rights, music, representation in the media and much more, and will leave an impression on you long after your visit. The museum also regularly hosts live performances, community events, lectures and other educational programming.

 

 

Owensboro Museum of Fine Art

 


The Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts to a fantastic collections of art and antiquities from around the world.

 

Since 1977, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art has connected people to the culture of artistic expression. More than 4,000 individual pieces representing diverse time periods, genres and mediums are on display in this free admission museum. In one afternoon you can view both paintings from the 1500s and ceramic pieces created by Pablo Picasso. The museum houses a Regional Art Market offering works for sale by artists and craftsmen from Kentucky and surrounding states, and hosts annual events like the Bronze Buffalo Festival and Art by the Stars Gala, KALEIDOSCOPE KAVE, a computerized digital gallery, and the Young at Art Gallery, offering hands-on children’s activities.

 

 

Kentucky Science Center

 

Wandering around downtown Louisville? Walk on down to the Kentucky Science Center. There you’ll find three floors dedicated to fun and interactive STEM exhibits for kids and kids-at-heart, aged 2 through 99.

 

 

American Cave Museum

 

Not so much a museum as an immersive experience, the American Cave Museum is nestled beneath the charming town of Horse Cave. Delve into the captivating world of caves through interactive exhibits, fascinating displays, and an unforgettable elevator ride down into the belly of Hidden River Cave. Take in spectacular cave formations such as dripstone chandeliers, stalagmites and flowstone formations sculpted over millions of years. Learn about the importance of karst geology and the vital role that cave ecosystems play in groundwater systems.

 

 

Behringer-Crawford Museum

 

The unique arts, heritage and culture of Northern Kentucky are on display at the Behringer-Crawford Museum in scenic Devou Park in Covington. With its wide array of exhibits, there is something to pique everyone’s interest, such as centuries-old fossils and artifacts from the area’s Indigenous communities, as well as a replica of the Roebling Bridge, which connects Covington to Cincinnati. Families can explore NaturePlay@BCM, a free and contained handicapped-accessible green space. The area includes kid-sized log cabins and caves, a wooden replica of a flatboat, a cruise line swing, walkways imbedded with animal tracks, and gardens planted with native plants and shrubs.

 

 

 

Kentucky Gateway Museum

 

At the Kentucky Gateway Museum, you can peruse in-depth dinosaur and history exhibits, immerse yourself in a world of 1/12 scale miniatures dioramas that feature hundreds of homes, room boxes, vignettes and individual works of art, and even learn how bourbon became the Spirit of Kentucky. The museum is home to the Old Pogue Distillery Experience, offering tastings of select bourbons from the area’s storied distillery.

 

 

The Historic RailPark and Train Museum

 

Are you a certified train enthusiast? You’ll love the Historic RailPark and Train Museum in Bowling Green. Its fun, interactive displays allow you to learn from real cooks, pullman porters and conductors who worked on the historic L&N rail line. After wandering the museum, be sure to check out the RailPark’s five restored railcars.

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