This Day in History – July 9

This Day in History – July 9

Zachary_Taylor_half_plate_daguerreotype_c1843-45On July 9, 1850, Zachary Taylor succumbed to illness following celebrations in Washington DC for Independence Day. The 12th president had enjoyed a fundraising event for the Washington Monument, which was under construction, and after having been served a dessert of cherries and iced milk, he became severely ill with what was thought to be cholera morbus, which was very different from the Asiatic cholera which killed hundreds in Lexington just two decades prior.

“Old Rough and Ready” moved to Louisville and lived at Springfield until entering into the United States army, joining prior to the War of 1812. During his tenure, Taylor successfully defended Fort Harrison in Indiana Territory from an Indian attack commanded by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh. He went on to command troops in the Seminole Wars in Florida.

Taylor became a hero during the Mexican-American War, inflicting heavy casualties in many battles, including the Battle of Monterrey, a city which had been deemed “impregnable”, but was captured in three days, forcing Mexican forces to retreat. Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna attacked Taylor with 20,000 men at the Battle of Buena Vista in February 1847, leaving around 700 Americans dead or wounded at a cost of over 1,500 Mexican.

Taylor ran as a Whig and was elected in 1848. His brief presidency was fraught with conflict regarding statehood and foreign affairs. Henry Clay took a central role in Congress, announcing the Compromise of 1850. The proposal allowed statehood for California, giving it independence on the slavery question, while the other territories would remain under federal jurisdiction. This would include the disputed parts of New Mexico, although Texas would be reimbursed for the territory. Slavery would be retained in the District of Columbia, but the slave trade would be banned.

Taylor died after only sixteen months in office. He was buried in the Taylor family burial plots, which became the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville.

 

A New Era for LexHistory

courthousebluesky.jpgWhen the Lexington History Museum opened in 2004, the mission was to educate life-long residents and newcomers to the Bluegrass Region on the rich history of the area. Over the course of the last decade, the Lexington History Museum has experienced a great deal of change. As troubled and uncertain as some times have seemed, we are extremely happy to be entering into a new era of LexHistory, with new beginnings and a direct focus on education and outreach. You’ll notice that we’re now referring to ourselves as LexHistory. This name change is part of our effort to include all of our functions, not just that of a museum.
Debra Watkins

Director Debra Watkins at the Arbor Day celebration at the Arboretum.

 

Our organization is currently without a permanent facility. Though we have been graciously been allowed to house our office in Victorian Square, aside from Pocket Museums, there is no permanent structure in which our exhibits are housed. We’re certainly in a unique situation and one that we hope that we do not have to continue in for a great deal of time. LexHistory’s director, Debra Watkins, is truly a wonder woman. As the only paid staff for LexHistory, she is responsible for educational programming and outreach, coordinating  meetings with city government, volunteer orientation, and research. Assisting her is volunteer Natasha Collier, Manager of Development and Community Engagement. She reaches out into the Lexington community to discuss partnerships and fundraising opportunities with local businesses and individuals. As manager of our social media efforts, she analyzes latest trends in order to implement best practices. Through a dedicated team of volunteers, including our Board of Directors, LexHistory is currently able to maintain basic organizational functions. Unfortunately, there is a diminished capacity for us to move forward with many plans due to very little funding at present.

 

Though the organization has cut back many functions of a traditional museum, we are confident that until which time we are in a permanent building again, we will be able to fulfill our goals and our mission. In 2013, we served nearly 10,000 through community outreach and also unveiled our Pocket Museum program. In January of this year, we opened an updated version of In Black and White at the Lyric Theater. We hope to forge a partnership with the Lyric and other community organizations that will be mutually beneficial. We have also launched WikiLex, an online collaborative encyclopedia of Lexington history. Users can upload their own stories of Lexington’s history to contribute.
We’re very excited for what is to come in the remainder of 2014 and moving forward into 2015. There are plans for fundraising opportunities, but LexHistory is always accepting donations both monetary and in-kind. We also hope to expand our Pocket Museum program into more sites around the downtown area and are even working on exhibits as far out as 2017. This is a time of change and growth for LexHistory and we hope that you will want to join us on this journey.

 

For more information about our organization, visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. If you are interested in volunteering with us, please email Director Debra Watkins at debra@lexhistory.org. To discuss community partnerships and donations, email Natasha Collier, Manager of Development and Community Engagement at natasha@lexhistory.org.

Schedule of Events for Scary Night at the Museum

The time is here, Scary Night at the Museum is less than 24 hours away! We’re so excited with all of the buzz surrounding the event, that we thought it would be best if we went ahead and let everyone know what will be going on the night of October 23.

The doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and Scary Night will begin. Please use the Short Street entrance (back of museum). Don’t know where the Lexington History Museum is located? 215 W Main St in the Old Fayette County Courthouse. The museum is bounded by Short, Upper, Main, and Cheapside Park.

Continuous activities on the 3rd Floor 6-9 P.M. –

2nd Floor
Haunted Museum! Come see the Ghosts of the Old Fayette County Courthouse as they chill you to the bone. Small children and anyone who does not like to be scared are asked to not participate in the Haunted Museum as there are thematic elements which may  be too scary for kids. The Haunted Museum will not run during the costume contest (7-8).

Clay-Davis Gallery Reception Room
Crafts
Games
Guest tables: Fayette County Cememtery Trust, Ghost Chasers International, The ScareFest, Apex Publications Owner Jason Sizemore and Editor Mari Adkins

Third Floor Hallway
Food from Papa John’s Pizza, Babycakes Cupcakes, Ale-8-One Bottling Company

Schedule of events for Original 1900 Courtroom
6:15: Mock Witch Trial

6:30: Storytelling with Octavia Sexton

7:00 – 8:00: Costume contest, Judges: Dr. Nick Couns, Mick Jeffries, Ide Bouldin
If you wish to participate in the Costume Contest, you must register at the desk at the Short Street Entrance. A form will be provided for you to put your Name, Age, and the Concept for your costume. Please be at the museum no later than 6:45.

8:00: Mock Witch Trial

8:30: Storytelling with Octavia Sexton

Thank you to all of the local businesses who have shown us SO much support: Ghost Chasers International, The Scarefest, Holiday Inn North, J. Peterman Company, Babycakes Cupcakes, Ale-8-One Bottling Company

If you have any questions about Scary Night please call the Museum at (859) 254-0530.

Ghosts of Lexington’s history will haunt Old Fayette County Courthouse on October 23

Something goes bump in the night in the Old Fayette County Courthouse, home of the Lexington History Museum. Only one night of the year do the spirits of dearly (and not so dearly) departed Lexingtonians and historic figures come back to walk its hallowed halls. On October 23 from 6 – 9 pm, visitors to the Lexington History Museum’s Scary Night at the Museum will be chilled to the bone and will witness terrors beyond their imagination. For those who do not like to be scared, a free community fall festival on the museum’s third floor will provide thrills without the chills.

The ghosts in the Haunted Museum are based on real people and the volunteers portraying them reveal Lexington and Kentucky’s haunted past. Students from Henry Clay High School, SCAPA, Transylvania University, and the University of Kentucky will be doing the scaring. Some apparitions are rumored to be Bonnie and Clyde, who committed a robbery in Western KY, Native American, and zombies from the Lexington Cemetery. This year, there is a new addition to Scary Night in the form of a mock trial of women tried for witchcraft in 1800s rural Kentucky. It is a fictional account based on oral history of witch burnings in Kentucky and the grand jury trial of a woman in Owen County for witchcraft. Visitors to the museum will be able to hear the defense and prosecution present the case and it will be their job to reach a verdict. The sentence for the woman on trial? She will burn at the stake. Mwahahahahahaha.

Back for 2010 is Appalachian storyteller Octavia Sexton who will tell her “haint” tales to those brave enough to listen. Many of her stories are passed down from generation and are derived from European, African and Native American stories, though some are from her own creation. Learn more about Octavia Sexton by visiting her website.

Also on the third floor, there will be representatives from the Fayette County Cemetery Trust with information about their programs. Kentucky author Mari Adkins will be signing copies of her anthology Harlan County Horrors. Representatives from The ScareFest, the largest horror and paranormal convention in the Southeast US will be around so you can learn more about the convention.

There will be crafts and games for children of all ages along with food from local restaurants. The costume contest will be early in the event so children aren’t up too late. Prizes will be awarded to the top three in categories Children 0 – 3, Children 4 – 10, Teens 11 – 18 and Adults 18+ and have been donated by local businesses.

And the best part of it all? Scary Night at the Museum is free!

For questions about Scary Night at the Museum please contact Museum Assistant Natasha Collier by email tashalee09@gmail.com or by phone (859) 254-0530.

Scary Night at the Museum
Lexington History Museum
October 23, 2010
6 – 9 pm

Costume contest, haunted museum, games, crafts, food, mock trial.

Special thanks to BabyCakes Cupcakes, J. Peterman Company, Lexmark Corporation, The ScareFest, Chuck and Patti Starr, Ghost Chasers International, Ale-8-One and Holiday Inn North for their partnership!

Changes coming to the Lexington History Museum

In the quarterly print edition of The Bluegrass Historian this month, a major change was announced concerning new admissions procedures at the Lexington History Museum. As of September 25, 2010, all visitors will be charged an admission fee. At the June board of trustees meeting, members voted to approve the admission charge in light of the museum’s budget. After the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the admission policy will change again to offer free admission to Fayette County residents.

The admission changes also bring about changes in entering and exiting the Old Fayette County Courhouse which houses the Lexington History Museum. As of September 25, point of entry will be the Short Street entrance. The Main Street entrance will be permanently closed and signage will be placed accordingly.

After the Games close on October 10, Fayette County residents will be admitted at no charge upon presenting proof of residence (driver’s license, student ID, check, library card, etc.) The change in policy is because of projected budget deficits, but still remains in keeping with the spirit of Dr. Thomas D. Clark’s vision that local residents should not have to pay to learn about their heritage. The decision to charge admission to non-residents is supported by Dr. Clark’s widow.

Museum President and CEO had this to say about the impending changes:

The Museum receives no public operating funds, although the building is maintained at a minimum by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. The Museum operating expenses are totally dependent on private donations, such as the impending admissions costs.

The cost will be $5 for Adults and Children over 12, $3 for Children 6-11. Children 5 and under will be free. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards will be accepted at both the admissions desk and in the gift shop. The three other History Center museums Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum, Pharmacy Museum and Public Safety Museum will remain free to the public.

For questions regarding these changes, please contact Museum President and CEO Jamie Millard by email jamie@lexingtonhistorymuseum.org or by phone (859) 254-0530.

Located at 215 W. Main St in Downtown Lexington, KY, the Lexington History Museum is open seven days a week 12-4 with extended hours on Saturday 10-4. During the World Equestrian Games, the hours will be extended to fit with the Spotlight Lexington events downtown. The new hours will be Sunday through Friday 10-6 with hours of 10-6 on Saturday. Following the close of the games, the museum will revert to its Friday through Monday schedule.

The Lexington History Museum engages all people in discovery and interpretation of the history of Lexington, KY and the Bluegrass region.

This Day in History — September 8

This day in history, September 8, 1867,John LaRue Helm, Kentucky governor 1850-51 and 1867 passed away just five days after taking the oath of office at his bedside. Born near Elizabethtown on July 4, 1802, e served as president of Louisville and Nashville Railroad and worked in his 1867 campaign to end post-Civil War bitterness and proscriptions against ex-Confederates.

Though he favored Kentucky’s neutrality during the Civil War, he was considered to be a Southern sympathizer. During his terms as Lt. Governor, Governor (18th and 24th) and in the Senate, he favored state aid for economic development, election reforms to curb irregularities and violence, higher salaries to attract better judges, and prohibition of the carrying of concealed deadly weapons.

He proposed that LaRue County be so-named for his grandfather.

Support the museum by voting — Chase Community Giving on Facebook

Help the Lexington History Museum win $250,000 by voting on the Chase Community Giving page on Facebook. Help us become one of the top 200 charities in the rankings. Having this money would allow us to bring even more programs and resources to the community.

Voting is simple:
“Like” Chase Community Giving on Facebook
Search “Lexington History Museum” —> click on LEXINGTON HISTORY MUSEUM INC
THEN! (And this is the most important part) click “Vote!”

Send all of your friends to vote for the museum too!

There are some amazing things that we can do with even $20,000 like our Scary Night at the Museum event or Hands on History Summer Day Camp. Help us preserve history for Lexington and the Bluegrass Region.

VOTE TODAY!