Grand Re-Opening

Oldham Historical Society celebrates
its museum re-opening

Community celebrates following a two-year restoration

LA GRANGE, Ky. (February 2017) – Following a two-year closure for renovations, Oldham County Historical Society members and the community got their first chance to see the new Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum and state-of-the-art exhibits during a VIP reception on Jan. 6 and a community wide open house and ribbon cutting on Jan. 7.
The VIP reception for members held Friday evening attracted a large crowd. Crestwood, Ky., artist Richard Luce greeted many members dressed in period clothing as a pioneer explorer. A replica of his painting of Capt. Francis Snowden’s stepping foot onto the Ohio Riverbank in Oldham County in the 1790s is prominently displayed on the wall at the entryway. The original painting hangs in the Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele’s office in the courthouse next door.

Photo by Don Ward

From left, re-enactor and Crestwood, Ky., artist Richard Luce poses with Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele at the VIP reception Jan. 6 that preceded the Jan. 7 ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand re-opening of the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum in La Grange, Ky.

A trip through the museum finds many new state-of-the-art exhibits, including those about the La Grange Reformatory, the history of Hermitage Farm in Goshen, the Little Colonel Theatre and Pewee Valley author Annie Fellows Johnston, a small theater for watching works by famed Centerfield, Ky., filmmaker D.W. Griffith, and much more. There are also many interactive exhibits for children.
A two-year fundraising campaign to raise $2 million for the renovation has reached $1.5 million, with fundraising efforts still continuing, said Terri Miller, campus renovation campaign chairwoman.
“We are very pleased with the progress, and we have received great support from many generous individuals in the community,” Miller said. She added that no large corporate gifts have been secure, but rather many large donations from individuals. “We received $100,000 donations from four separate individuals, which was great. I’m hoping that when other people come in and see this, they will be inspired to give to the project.”
Oldham County Fiscal Court helped get the capital campaign off to a strong start by donating $100,000 to the project.
“This is great and will be a wonderful addition to our county,” said Voegele, who attended the VIP reception and took part in the ribbon cutting on Saturday.
While the inside of the museum is complete, Miller said much work has yet to be done. This includes site work and landscaping around the museum, lighting, connecting paths to the next-door Rob Morris Chapel Education Building and siding repairs and painting to the exterior of the J.C. Barnett Library & Archives administrative building and Education Building.
In addition, the Oldham County Historical Society would like to raise funds for a barn that would include a colonial fireplace of stone salvaged from the old Mallory Taylor Hospital and a statue that features a World War II veteran.

Photo by Don Ward

The newly re-opened Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum offers many new exhibits on the history of Oldham County.

Oldham County Historical Society boasts 568 members, of which more than 300 are active in the organization, said Executive Director Nancy Theiss. She wrote most of the narrative that appears on the walls and in the exhibits. La Grange artist Mike Prather and Encompass Develop Design architectural firm in La Grange created the displays. Many include large, black-and-white historical photos and all sorts of artifacts from the museum collection.
In addition to the museum renovation, the Oldham County Historical Society has expanded the hours of operation and also has begun a new series of monthly events. The museum will have Sunday hours from noon to 4 p.m. and charge admission. New museum Sunday programs include The Artifacts Speak. This program will be held every first and third Sunday of the month from 1-3 p.m. and feature a knowledgeable volunteer or demonstrator who will speak about a particular artifact from the Historical Society’s collection.
Feature Film Sunday will take place every second and fourth Sunday at 1 p.m.

The museum and archives are on the National Historic Register and the archives received a special designation this past summer as a facility on the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Theiss said the goal for the new campus is to “make our Oldham County History Center an economic engine that will attract 22,000 visitors the first year.”

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