LexHistory Presents Dinner with the Dead This October

LexHistory Presents Dinner with the Dead This October

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Image courtesy Christ Church Cathedral

This October, the ghosts of the Old Episcopal Burying Ground will rise for one very special evening. On October 18, LexHistory will present “Dinner with the Dead” a unique living history event in Downtown Lexington. Featuring interpreters telling the stories of real individuals buried in the cemetery, music, food, and family activities, this annual event will become a Halloween tradition in Lexington. Originally sponsored by the Fayette County Cemetery Trust, a now inactive organization which works to preserve the history of Lexington’s burial grounds, Dinner with the Dead was last held in 2009. Continue reading

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.

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.

“Hands on History” Summer Day Camp mixes fun and learning!

The school year is drawing to a close and that means it is time to figure out what to do with the kids this summer. The Lexington History Museum is sponsoring 3 week-long summer day camp sessions for children of all ages. The camp mixes hands-on activities, walking tour of Lexington, trips to other historic sites and behind the scenes fun at the museum. Kids will play Native American games, explore life as a Pioneer, find out how Lexington was divided during the Civil War and create their own exhibit!

Three sessions will be held daily from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.: June 21- 25
July 05 – 09
July 12 – 16

Ages listed on the promotional material specify children 6 – 10, but we welcome children of all ages with a desire to learn about the history of Kentucky and Lexington!

Topics for the camp include: Native Americans in Kentucky, Lexington’s Pioneer Heritage, Abraham Lincoln and His Wife’s Hometown, Civil War Lexington, and Behind the Scenes of the Lexington History Museum.

Important Information about the Camp:

  • Each camp session costs $183 per camper
  • Cost includes all materials and any outside attraction admission charges.
  • Lunch is not included in the camp fee. (Campers should bring a bagged lunch printed with his/her name and a soft drink. There is access to a refrigerator to keep lunches cool.
  • Camps sessions are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Campers are expected to be dropped off and picked up on time.
  • Late pick up at 5 p.m. is available for $25 per camper, per session.
  • Activities are in the Museum Center building, on the Court Square, or within short walking distance of the Museum

Payment is due the Monday before the desired session begins. Financial assistance is available for those in need.

Stop by the museum for a registration form or email lexhistorymuseum@yahoo.com for a pdf version!

Lexington History Museum to participate in BGT Sunday Stroll

Sundays are generally a great day to get out and take a walk around Lexington. Today is no exception as the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation sponsors a “Sunday Stroll” with 8 open historic sites. Put on your walking shoes and head to Gratz Park where the stroll will begin. Refreshments and a music ensemble are to be found at the Bodley-Bullock House at 200 Market St. Just across Gratz Park, the Hunt Morgan House will be open as well.

The Sunday Stroll is a free way to get out and see important historic sites in Lexington. While the Lexington History Museum is always free, we will be giving a 10% Discount in the Court Square Trader Museum store during the event. Visitors must mention the Sunday Stroll to receive the discount.

The evening culminates at Christ Church Cathedral for an organ concert and Evensong beginning at 4:30. The Lexington History Museum will be open until its normal time of 4 p.m. so be sure to check it out!

Open sites include:

1.  Hunt Morgan House & garden  (Blue Grass Trust)
201 North Mill St.

2.  Old Morrison, Transylvania University; Patterson Cabin is on the grounds
West Third St.

3.  Bodley Bullock house & garden (Lexington Junior League)
200 Market St.

4.  Christ Church Cathedral, Art Gallery & Garden;  Organ Concert & Evensong
166 Market St.

5.  Henry Clay Law Office (The Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship)
176 North Mill St.

6.  First Presbyterian Church
174 North Mill St.

7.  Lexington History Museum (Old Fayette County Courthouse)
215 West Main St. (Main at Upper; open ’till 4 PM)

Additionally, Pope Villa, 326 Grosvener Ave., a restoration in progress by the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation will be open for free tours conducted by historic preservation specialists.

If it’s May, it’s Preservation Month!

May is Historic Preservation Month! As part of our observance of this national holiday, the Lexington History Museum will be out in the community for a few Saturdays this month.

Saturday, May 8 (and possibly Sunday, May 9) come say hi to us at Mayfest Art Fair in Gratz Park. This annual event features local art vendors, artisans and crafters. We’ll be hanging out at the education tent, so come make some crafts (and kids, impress your moms with your art skills) and take home some information about our upcoming programs. Gratz Park is located between Third and Second Sts at Mill and Market Sts. Music, a book fair at the Carnegie Center, educational activities, and fun times await you at Gratz Park for Mayfest. And just think… it’s the beginning of funnel cake season!

Saturday, May 15 we’ll be at Founders Day celebrating the founding of Lexington at McConnell Springs off Manchester St. Due to construction, there may be some detours in getting to McConnell Springs so give you up-to-date information. We’ll have crafts and activities focused on the founding of Lexington.

Beginning Saturday, May 29, the Lexington Learning Cooperative will be offering free educational activities for families at the Lexington Farmers Market at the new 5/3 Pavillion at Cheapside Park. Check back for more information!

A completed Lincoln hat from Mayfest 2009