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History & Heritage of Kentucky

Exploring your genealogy and finding paths that wind through the Commonwealth? Thousands of our forebearers traversed Cumberland Gap, floated down the Ohio, fought in the Civil War or rode the rails through Kentucky. Come see Civil War re-enactments, salt licks and museums focused on everything from Mary Todd Lincoln's childhood home, the old Kentucky Capitol, where the first human surgery took place, to a coal mine.

 Fort Boonesborough
Fort Boonesborough
Fort Boonesborough has been reconstructed as a working fort complete with cabins, blockhouses and furnishings. Resident artisans perform craft demonstrations and give modern-day visitors a true sense of what life was like for pioneers in Kentucky.
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
Illinois may call itself the "Land of Lincoln" but only Kentucky is home to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th and perhaps, most revered US President after George Washington, was born in a small cabin in Sinking Spring just south of Hodgenville, Kentucky on February 12, 1809. When he was just two, his family moved to Knob Creek Farm, northeast of Hodgenville, where they remained until 1816. This time they moved north, across the Ohio River, to what is now Spencer County, Indiana. Lincoln was just 7 years old.
Bardstown Pioneer Village & Civil War Museum
Bardstown Pioneer Village & Civil War Museum
Bardstown Pioneer Village, Civil War Museum, and the Women’s Museum of the Civil War in Bardstown, KY are the largest and most complete museums of the American Civil War's Western Theater.
BB Riverboats
BB Riverboats
Looking to add a little adventure during your visit to Northern Kentucky? Then come aboard BB Riverboats in Newport, Kentucky, celebrating over 35 years as the region's premier Riverboat company! Cruising daily on the Ohio River, BB Riverboats recalls times gone by, providing guests with a truly one-of-a-kind dining or sightseeing experience. You'll feast your eyes on spectacular views as you're treated to a delicious buffet with excellent entertainment. On BB Riverboats, every event becomes a special occasion.
Big Bone Lick State Park
Big Bone Lick State Park
Officially opening in 1960, Big Bone Lick State Park has forty acres of picnic grounds, facilities for different types of sports, a herd of bison, and an indoor-outdoor museum with collections of bones and life-size replicas of mastodons and bison. Big Bone Lick’s short-lived, salt-trade history is celebrated every October at the Salt Festival, with salt-making demonstrations and other attractions.
Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum
Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum
Bluegrass or Mountain music has its roots in the Irish, Scottish, and English immigrants of the 1600's who took the threads of what was to evolve into bluegrass music with them as they settled the mountains of North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. There, the songs were used to reflect and nurture their way of life: the hard work, the pride, the family, and community of the United States' early mountain and country peoples.
Camp Wildcat Civil War Battlefield
Camp Wildcat Civil War Battlefield
Civil War battlefields are part of our national heritage; scenes of struggle and sacrifice where American soldiers lost their lives. Camp Wildcat Preservation Foundation works to preserve, protect and interpret this unique battlefield so that future generations can learn about the sacrifices made here.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Almost 300,000 pioneers passed through the Cumberland Gap between 1760 and 1850. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park gets its name from the Cumberland Gap, the gateway to the West: a wide, low point in the Appalachian Mountains right around where the Kentucky border meets those of Tennessee and Virginia - and it's a pretty incredible section of the country.
Great American Dollhouse Museum
Great American Dollhouse Museum
They say it's the little things in life that matter most and the Great American Dollhouse Museum in Danville, Kentucky may be just the place to prove that point with over 200 dollhouses, miniature buildings, and room boxes in its astounding and fascinating miniatures collection.
Kentucky Coal Museum and Portal 31
Kentucky Coal Museum and Portal 31
Coal mining has been a part of Kentucky since the state was admitted to the union - and you can experience that world and learn more about its history with a visit to the Kentucky Coal Museum and Portal 31 Exhibition Coal Mine. Today, the Kentucky Coal Museum is busy preserving and exhibiting the artifacts and experiences of Benham and other eastern Kentucky coal camps. Since opening in 1990, the Kentucky Coal Museum has continued to expand and now boasts over 20 exhibits on 4 levels, all illustrating the lives of Kentucky coal families through pictures, dioramas, interactive exhibits, displays, and more.
Kentucky Derby Museum
Kentucky Derby Museum
The Kentucky Derby Museum is one of the premiere attractions in the Louisville region, celebrating the tradition, history, hospitality and pride of the world-renown event that is the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Horse Park
Kentucky Horse Park
The mission of the Kentucky Horse Park is to celebrate the history of our relationship with horse through education, exhibition, engagement and competition. KHP will be the premier event venue for equestrians and those who love and want to learn more about horses and man's relationship with the horse. At the Kentucky Horse Park, visitors and exhibitors will have diverse opportunities to engage with, learn about and be enchanted by the beauty, strength and spirit of the horse.
Kentucky Military  History Museum
Kentucky Military History Museum
History is both preserved and explained at the Kentucky Military History Museum. The State Arsenal for more than 100 years and a Civil War-era munitions factory, this Gothic Revival style building houses the exhibits "Kentucky Military Treasures" and "George M. Chinn: Sights Set on Innovation," and 19th-century war records.
Kentucky Railway Museum
Kentucky Railway Museum
The Kentucky Railway Museum, journey with us on a 22 mile excursion through the Rolling Fork River Valley. Climb aboard our specialty trains: Dinner Trains, Mystery Trains, Santa Trains, Train Robberies and Day Out With Thomas.
Louisville Slugger Museum
Louisville Slugger Museum
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is all about celebrating the extraordinary role of Louisville Slugger in baseball's past, present and future. We're here to delight our guests and create joyful, lifetime memories.
Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind
Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind
The American Printing House for the Blind is the world's largest company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are visually impaired - and it's been around since before the Civil War!
National Corvette Museum
National Corvette Museum
This home for America's Sports Car features over 70 Corvettes showcased in periodic settings. See mint classics, prototypes, rare finds and racing champs. Families will enjoy the Kid Zone with hands-on activities for children. A Corvette is available in the lobby for photo ops and so you can "try one on for size," take a ride in your choice of one of the Museum's historic Corvettes or try out the new Racing Simulator where you 'drive' an actual C6 Corvette.
Pleasant Hill Shaker Village
Pleasant Hill Shaker Village
Pleasant Hill Shaker Village is the largest restored Shaker community in the United States - and it's right here in Kentucky's Bluegrass region! Pleasant Hill Shaker Village contains 34 of the original 250 Shaker buildings. Visit and see more than a dozen of these beautifully restored buildings along with craft demonstrations, history exhibitions, hands-on programs, livestock, organic gardens, 40 miles of hiking trails, and even cruises aboard the Dixie Belle paddle wheeler on the Kentucky River!
The Creation Museum
The Creation Museum
Prepare to Believe! Bible history comes to life at the Creation Museum! This family-friendly attraction near Cincinnati explores creation science with stunning exhibits, dinosaur bones, fossils, botanical gardens, a planetarium, zoo, zip line course, and more.
The Harland Sanders Museum and Cafe
The Harland Sanders Museum and Cafe
Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken is an iconic part of America - visit the Harland Sanders Museum and Cafe in Corbin, Kentucky.
The Headley-Whitney Museum
The Headley-Whitney Museum
The Headley-Whitney Museum's fascinating and diverse collection of jewels, artifacts, shells, books, and much more has long been an icon of art and culture in Lexington, KY. Founded by jewelry designer, George Headley and his wife, Barbara Whitney in 1968, the Headley-Whitney Museum features rotating exhibits, a gift shop, events, and educational workshops on 13 acres of beautiful grounds that also happen to be the perfect picnic spot!
WaterWorks Museum
WaterWorks Museum
Step inside the WaterWorks Museum to see the history of Louisville's water come to life! Located inside the west wing of the original Pumping Station No. 1, the WaterWorks Museum highlights Louisville Water' Company's archive of historic photographs, films and memorabilia, some of which date back to 1860.
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Additional Information on Kentucky's History and Heritage


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banjo

Visit the Birthplace of Bluegrass

The iconic International Bluegrass Music Museum pays homage to Kentucky's traditional bluegrass music. In Kentucky, bluegrass is more than just music. It's a world filled with culture, art, history, and adventure.
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MOUNTAIN SIDE VALLEY

The Birthplace of Bluegrass Music

One of our favorite pastimes during the summer months, apart from enjoying the great outdoors, is listening to the sweet sounds of Kentucky Bluegrass music.
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Banjo Male playing

Ohio County & Its Bluegrass Roots

Ohio County, Kentucky has many attractions, not the least of which is the childhood home of country legend Bill Monroe, the Father Of Bluegrass.
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Civil War Cannon

Tour Kentucky's Civil War Battlefields

 Due to Kentucky's significant role in the Civil War, a Civil War Heritage Trail was established in 2010. Along this trail, visitors will find several Civil War Battlefields to visit, along with battle re-enactments, costumed walking tours, historic home tours, and more.
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BLACK AND WHITE PICTURE OF A MAN

The Home of Edgar Cayce

Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) the "sleeping prophet" and "father of holistic medicine" may be the one of the best known psychics of the 20th century - 
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BUILDING WHERE ABE LINCOLN BORN

Top Historic Attractions in Kentucky

Come visit Kentucky, and discover historic attractions like Lincoln's Birthplace, Civil War Forts and Battlefields, and the Legendary Trail of Tears.


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sunrise

Harrodsburg, Kentucky's Oldest Town

Harrodsburg, located less than an hour outside of Lexington, is the perfect place to spend a day. It was voted one of Best Choice Reviews' "50 Best Small Town Downtowns in America" and one of "20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014."