Unique Museums: From Dolls to Coca-Cola
Kentucky can’t claim a World Famous Asphalt Museum like Sacramento, California, or encourage recycling quite like The Children’s Garbage Museum in Stratford, Connecticut. And alas, the Toilet Seat Art Museum has no plans to relocate to the Bluegrass State from Alamo Heights, Texas.
But Kentucky does have several distinctive collections for fellow enthusiasts and those willing to take a trip off the beaten path.
Cool Coke Collection
Elizabethtown residents Bill and Jan Schmidt have collected more than 50,000 pieces of Coca-Cola memorabilia over the past three decades, and have launched a new museum highlighting some of their most rare and nostalgic finds.
The couple own the only known complete collection of Coca-Cola classic serving trays, and have a nearly complete collection of Coke calendars. They even own 10 Coca-Cola-themed vehicles—one of which has life-sized three-dimensional human sculptures protruding from it.
Parts of the collection were previously put on view in the family’s former bottling plant in Elizabethtown, and more recently, about 1,000 items were displayed in the Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau’s headquarters, with the remainder in storage. But the Schmidts, along with curator Roy Minagawa, are poised to open a new museum this spring just off Interstate 65 in Elizabethtown.
One of the Schmidts’ most sentimental pieces is the first bottle of Coca-Cola the family ever produced, made in Louisville in 1901. Bill says it’s evident why the company’s logo is one of the most recognized worldwide, because it was placed on traditional signs as well as countless other items, like playing cards, celluloid bookmarks, tin water cups, and even a hand ax.
“It’s largely referred to as an American icon,” Bill says. “It’s been around for well over 100 years now. Anything the company could put the trademark on, they did.”
Bill chuckles as he says he can always estimate how old a visitor is by noting the point at which the person exclaims, “I remember that!” while looking at the chronologically arranged items.
“I think it takes people back in time,” he says.
At the Mammoth Cave Wax Museum, you’ll find life-sized wax figures of Jesus and his disciples, Abraham Lincoln, and the legendary Native American leader Geronimo under one roof. The Cave City attraction has been open for 36 years.
“We get people that came when they were little kids and now they bring their kids,” says Audrey Miller, the museum’s owner for the last 15 years.
Originally from Danville, Miller was living in California when she visited the museum, and liked it enough to buy it and move to Cave City to operate the multi-million-dollar complex.
The settings were researched for authenticity, along with the reproduction attire. An audio soundtrack tells onlookers more about the figures, some of which were constructed by the museum’s original owner, and others ordered from California.
People pause longest at the wax re-creations of Jesus Christ and his followers as depicted in Leonardo DaVinci’s “The Last Supper,” Miller says.
“They think it’s awesome,” she says.
Tribute to the Tight-Lipped
Billed as the world’s only ventriloquism museum, the Vent Haven Museum in Ft. Mitchell was founded by W.S. Berger, a Cincinnati native, who purchased his first ventriloquist figure, Tommy Baloney, in 1910.
Berger’s interest in ventriloquism grew along with his collection of figures, which eventually filled his renovated garage and a second building. He outlived any heirs, so his collection spawned the museum, which opened in 1973 with the addition of a third building.
Vaudeville or television and radio variety shows that brought ventriloquists like Edgar Bergen to fame are absent from the airwaves, but ventriloquists today find audiences in comedy clubs, cruise ships, kids’ parties, corporate events, and Christian ministries, says museum curator Lisa Sweasy.
Vent Haven now contains about 700 ventriloquism figures, along with thousands of old photos, playbills, and books. Museum officials also host the annual ConVENTion for more than 400 ventriloquists, and periodically welcome new donated figures.
Be advised—the preferred way of describing a piece in the collection is “ventriloquist figure,” but connotations of stupidity aside, it’s not entirely inappropriate to call them “dummies,” Sweasy says.
“Well, they’re not people, so it doesn’t hurt their feelings,” she adds.
A Lock on History
Around 1,000 security professionals each year are trained at Lockmasters Security Institute in Nicholasville, also home to the Harry C. Miller Lock Collection, considered among the world’s largest assortments of locks.
The museum’s namesake, now deceased, developed his own manipulation-proof combination locks and became president of Sargent & Greenleaf lock company in 1952. After the business relocated in the mid-1970s from Rochester, New York, to Nicholasville, the collection entered the Institute in the late 1990s, and currently draws about 1,000 visitors annually, says Barbara Craycraft, the Institute’s education assistant.
Amidst the more traditional combination and key varieties, the lock Craycraft says receives the most interest dates to 1303. It’s made of steel and brass inlaid with gold and silver and bears the engraved message in Arabic, translated in English as “Be beholden unto your servant for one day he may be elevated in life and be your superior.”
Craycraft says guests appreciate the workmanship of locks from hundreds of years ago as much as the technology used in locks today, and the observable differences among manufacturers and their countries of origin.
Guise and Dolls
The Jeffersontown Historical Museum isn’t a doll museum, but resembles one with as many as 1,000 of its 1,350 dolls on display from a variety of countries and time periods.
The dolls are part of the collection of Petra Williams, an attorney who collected Flow Blue china and Mulberry Ware. They’ve been displayed since 2000.
Beth Wilder, museum director, says Williams, who moved to Jeffersontown in 1966 and is now in her 90s, showed little interest in dolls as a child, although the collection does include her favorite childhood doll, Fifi, as well as her circa 1920 Schoenhut doll house. But Williams began collecting dolls later during her travels abroad, and many feature intricate costumes representative of the cultures where they originated.
The oldest doll is a 2,400-year-old Tanagra figurine from an area around Greece. The figurines were often used at home altars and buried with owners, Wilder says.
Williams still collects dolls and periodically donates new ones to the museum, Wilder says. Future plans include creating themed displays that coincide with selected dolls’ nationalities.
Many of the dolls likely originally sold for far less than their cultural and monetary values today.
“You don’t realize how much workmanship went into them,” Wilder says.
Scott Braunstein says the first reptile his parents allowed him to keep was at age 6, but he’d caught a few others before then.
As he grew up, the Dry Ridge resident amassed an assortment of creepy crawlers—snakes, large lizards, and the like—and found that his friends tended to knock on his door late at night with curious acquaintances in tow. After working a stint in the restaurant business, Braunstein realized he could educate the public and make a career of showing off his unusual pets. That’s when the House of Reptiles slithered into being in August 2004.
Braunstein dispels myths about his creature companions: in reality, snakes don’t spit venom, not all of them are poisonous, and they are the number-one natural rodent controllers.
And he warns that not all reptiles make good pets—he has often been called to assume custody after an animal turns out to be larger or more dangerous than its owner bargained for.
A 60-pound Giant African Spur-Thigh tortoise and snakes ranging from 6 inches to 15 feet are displayed alongside a multitude of geckos, monitors, spiders, and insects—more than 100 different species in all. Each cage is labeled with the type of animal, where it originated, and its size, and Braunstein is happy to pull some safer specimens out to let people touch them if they dare.
“It’s a hands-on, educational learning experience,” Braunstein says. “It’s wild, it’s fun, and it’s exciting. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.”
MUSEUMS OF KENTUCKY
Art for God Museum & Gallery. Commissioned oil portraits, landscapes, and more. 143 Lexington St., Versailles. (859) 873-0120, www.art4god.com.
Dawson Springs Museum & Art Center. Historic photos, memorabilia, written and oral histories. 127 S. Main St., Dawson Springs. (270) 797-3891.
Headley-Whitney Museum. Permanent collections include dollhouses, bibelots and jewels, the Shell Grotto, and a library collection. New exhibit, featuring the Helen Bond Carruthers Fashion Sweater exhibition and vintage 1950s accessories, opened March 31. 4435 Old Frankfort Pike, Lexington. (800) 310-5085, www.headley-whitney.org.
Museum of the American Quilter’s Society. Largest quilt museum in the world with more than 100 displayed. 215 Jefferson St., Paducah. (270) 442-8856, www.quiltmuseum.org.
Owensboro Museum of Fine Art. Both permanent and loaned art exhibitions. 901 Frederica St., Owensboro. (270) 685-3181.
Speed Art Museum. The state’s oldest and largest art museum. 2035 S. Third Street, Louisville. (502) 634-2700, www.speedmuseum.org.
University of Kentucky Art Museum. Permanent collection includes 3,800+ European and American art pieces in a variety of media. Rose Street and Euclid Avenue, Lexington. (859) 257-5716, www.uky.edu/ArtMuseum.
Yeiser Art Center. Features Kentucky and national artists, both contemporary and historic. 200 Broadway, Paducah. (270) 442-2453.
Barren River Imaginative Museum of Science. A hands-on science museum for children. 1229 Center Street, Bowling Green. (270) 843-9779, www.brimsbg.org.
East Kentucky Science Center. Planetarium and variety of exhibits. 7 Bert Combs Drive, Prestonsburg. (606) 889-0303, www.wedoscience.org.
Explorium of Lexington.Hands-on exhibits for all ages help children explore the world around them. 440 W. Short Street, Lexington. (859) 258-3253, www.explorium.com.
Louisville Science Center and IMAX Theatre. Three floors of hands-on exhibits and four-story IMAX Theatre. 727 W. Main Street, Louisville. (800) 591-2203, www.louisvillescience.org.
Owensboro Area Museum of Science & History. Natural, cultural, and regional history exhibits, with Wendell Ford Government Education Center and permanent motor sports gallery. 220 Daviess Street, Owensboro. (270) 687-2732.
Salato Wildlife Education Center. Interactive and interpretive exhibits with native plants and animals. 1 Game Farm Road, Frankfort. (800) 858-1549, www.fw.ky.gov and click on Salato Wildlife Education Center.
Aviation Museum of Kentucky.
Historic aircraft and interactive displays. 4000 Terminal Drive, Lexington. (859) 231-1219 or www.aviationky.org.
Behringer Crawford Museum. Civil War, Ohio River, Underground Railroad info, and more. 1600 Montague Road, Covington. (859) 491-4003 or www.bcmuseum.org.
BitterSweet Cabin Museum. Log cabins with artifacts from 1700s+. 2325 Richmond Street, Renfro Valley. (606) 256-9814 or (800) 252-6685, www.rockcastlecokytourism.com.
Bluegrass Heritage Museum.Stories of the Bluegrass from European contact with Native Americans to present. 217 S. Main Street, Winchester. (859) 745-7936 or www.bgheritage.com.
Cane Ridge Meeting House & Barton Stone Museum. Said to be largest one-room log structure standing in North America. 1655 Cane Ridge Road, Paris. (859) 987-5350, www.caneridge.com.
Filson Historical Society. Historical material examining Kentucky, Upper South, and Ohio Valley. 1310 S. Third Street, Louisville. (502) 635-5083, www.filsonhistorical.org.
Floyd Collins Museum. Tells tragic tale of cave explorer Floyd Collins. 1240 Old Mammoth Cave Road, Cave City. (270) 773-3366.
Frazier International History Museum. Arms and armor history, education, and artistry. 829 W. Main Street, Louisville. (502) 753-5663, (866) 886-7103, www.frazierarmsmuseum.org.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Slavery to Freedom Museum. Home dedicated to and visited by the famed author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. 2124 Old Main Street, Washington. (606) 759-4860, www.washingtonky.com.
Highlands Museum & Discovery Center. Interactive exhibits, educational experiences, and programs. 1620 Winchester Avenue, Ashland. (606) 329-8888, www.highlandsmuseum.com.
Kentucky Center for African American Heritage. Traces history of exemplary African Americans who contributed to the state’s history. 315 Guthrie Green, Louisville. (502) 583-4100, www.kcaah.com.
Kentucky History Center. Exhibits detailing Kentucky’s origins through today in interactive exhibits. 100 W. Broadway St., Frankfort. (502) 564-1792, (877) 444-7867, www.history.ky.gov.
Lexington History Museum. Bluegrass, equine, African American, and technology aspects of Kentucky history and more. Old Courthouse, 215 W. Main St., Lexington. (859) 254-0530, www.lexingtonhistorymuseum.org.
Lincoln Museum. Wax figures depict scenes from Abraham Lincoln’s life along with art collections, movie, and other changing exhibits. 66 Lincoln Square, Hodgenville. (270) 358-3163.
National Underground Railroad Museum. Maysville. (606) 564-9419, www.cityofmaysville.com.
McDowell House & Apothecary Shop. Restored home of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, who performed world’s first successful abdominal surgery in 1809. 125 S. 2nd Street, Danville. (859) 236-2804.
Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Stills, cooperage, antique bottles, and advertising art. 114 N. 5th Street, Bardstown. (502) 348-2999.
S.A.R. Historical Museum. Early American history artifacts on display. 1000 S. Fourth Street, Louisville. (502) 589-1776, www.sar.org.
Sanders Café and Museum. Col. Sanders’ restaurant where the famed franchise was born. U.S. Hwy. 25, Corbin. (606) 528-2163, www.chickenfestival.com/sanders.htm.
Shaker Museum at South Union. Artifacts showing the Shaker way of life. 850 Shaker Museum Road, Auburn. (800) 811-8379, (270) 542-4167, www.shakermuseum.com.
South Central Kentucky Cultural Center. Artifacts from The Barrens area of Kentucky, a doll collection, and military exhibit. 200 W. Water Street, Glasgow. (888) 256-6941, www.cityofglasgow.org/sckcc.
The Lost Squadron/P-38 Museum. Features “Glacier Girl” WWII P-38 Lightning discovered within an icecap in Greenland 1992. 1420 Dorchester Avenue, Middlesboro. (606) 248-1149, www.thelostsquadron.com
Wickliffe Mounds State Park. Archeological site with exhibits from 1930s-era excavations and information on the Mississippian culture. 94 Green Street, Wickliffe. (270) 335-3681.
Wrather West Kentucky Museum. Promotes understanding of facets of development of western Kentucky and Jackson Purchase. Murray State University, Murray. (270) 762-4771, www.murraystate.edu.
1905 Market House & William Clark Market House Museum. Contains the Yeiser Art Center, a museum, and theater. 121 S. Second St., Paducah. (270) 443-7759.
Adsmore House Museum & Ratliff Gunshop. Tours of restored gunshop and tales of R.B. Ratliff, the town’s first gunsmith. 304 N. Jefferson Street, Princeton. (270) 365-3114, www.adsmore.org.
Allen County Historical Museum. 301 N. 4th Street, Scottsville. (270) 237-3026.
Auburn History Museum. Early 19th-century artifacts. 433 W. Main Street, Auburn. (270) 542-4677, www.logantele.com/~aubhis.
Barlow House Museum. Displays of area history, Civil War, and genealogy. 509 Broadway St., Barlow. (270) 334-3010.
Bell County Historical Society Museum. 207 N. 20th Street, Middlesboro. (606) 242-0005, www.geocities.com/bellhistorical.
Bibb House Museum. Furniture, primitive tools, implements, and crocks. 183 W. 8th Street, Russellville. (270) 726-4181, www.logantele.com/~loganhistory.
Bobby Davis Museum & Park. Perry County history on display. 234 Walnut St., Hazard. (606) 439-4325.
Breathitt Co. Museum. Quilting looms, spinning wheels, photos, and Civil War artifacts. 329 Broadway St., Jackson. (606) 666-4159.
Brennan Historic House & Medical Office Museum. House and 1912-era medical office museum. 631 S. 5th St., Louisville. (502) 540-5145.
Conrad-Caldwell House Museum. An ornate Richardsonian 1895 mansion to tour and admire. 1402 St. James Ct., Louisville. (502) 636-5023, www.conradcaldwell.org.
Crittenden County Historical Museum. 124 E. Bellville St., Marion. (270) 965-9257, www.marionkentucky.us.
Cumberland Museum. Contains Henkelmann Life Science Collection, Williams Cross Collection, Appalachian crafts and lifestyle exhibits, and more. 659 S. 10th St., Williamsburg. (606) 539-3100, (800) 315-3100.
Cynthiana Harrison County Museum. 112 S. Walnut St., Cynthiana. (859) 234-7179, www.cynthianaky.com/CynthianaMuseum.
Duncan House Museum & Art Gallery. Museum of Greenville area history, including importance of coal. 122 S. Cherry St., Greenville. (270) 338-2605.
Fordsville Depot Museum. Memorabilia from the area’s past. 32 Ridge Rd., Fordsville. (270) 276-3672.
Forgotten Past Museum. Antique steam engine, museum, arcade, etc. 3390 U.S. Hwy. 68 E., Benton. (270) 527-9244.
Garrard Co. Jail Museum. Garrard County Historical Society’s museum of local lore. 103 Stanford St., Lancaster. (859) 792-3065.
Georgetown & Scott County Museum. 229 E. Main, Georgetown. (502) 863-6201.
Godbey Appalachian Cultural and Fine Arts Center. Appalachian artifacts, oral histories, and photos. 700 College Rd., Cumberland. (606) 589-2145.
Hardin County History Museum. 201 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown. (270) 763-8339, www.hardinkyhistory.org.
Hart County Historical Museum. 109 Main St., Munfordville. (270) 524-0101, www.historichart.org.
Heistand House Museum. Built in 1823, this is one of a dozen German stone houses in Kentucky. 1075 Campbellsville Bypass, Campbellsville. (270) 789-4343.
Hickman County Museum. 221 E. Clay St., Clinton. (270) 653-6948.
Historical Society of Hopkins County Library & Museum. 107 Union St., Madisonville. (270) 821-3986.
Hopewell Museum. History of Paris & Bourbon County, fine arts, Garrett Morgan exhibit. 800 Pleasant St., Paris. (859) 987-7274, www.hopewellmuseum.org.
JFC Museum. Fossils, rocks, minerals, war memorabilia, and more. 1369 Stanford Ave., Danville. (800) 755-0076.
Kentucky Museum at WKU. 1 Big Red Way, Bowling Green. (270) 745-2592, www.wku.edu/library/museum.
Knox Historical Museum. 196 Daniel Boone Dr., Barbourville. (606) 546-4300.
McCreary County Museum. 1 Henderson St., Stearns. (606) 376-5730.
Morris Toy Museum.Toys from 1800s to present. 1007 First St., Carrsville. (270) 988-3591.
Mountain Life Museum. 998 Levi Jackson Mill Rd., London. (606) 878-8000.
Museum Center. 215 Sutton St., Maysville. (606) 564-5865, www.masoncountymuseum.org.
Nostalgia Station Toy & Train Museum. 279 Depot St., Versailles. (859) 873-2497, www.ohwy.com/ky/n/nosttotr.htm.
Ohio County Museum. 415 Mulberry St., Hartford. (270) 298-3444.
Oil Springs Cultural Arts & Recreation Center. Art classes and displays. 7846 Rt. 40W, Oil Springs. (606) 789-8108.
Old Jail Museum. Restored 1870s jail and jailer’s residence. 200 S. Main St., Nicholasville. (859) 887-4351.
Old Morrison Building. Greek revival architecture on Transylvania University campus. 300 N. Broadway, Lexington. (859) 233-8120, www.transy.edu.
Oldham County History Center. 106 N. 2nd St., LaGrange. (502) 222-0826.
Pennyroyal Area Museum. 217 E. 9th St., Hopkinsville. (270) 887-4270, www.hopkinsville.net/~museum.
Portland Museum. Sound and light show, “Portland, the Land, the River & the People.” 2308 Portland Ave., Louisville. (502) 776-7678.
Red River Historical Museum. Mining, logging, and railroad industries of area detailed. 4541 Main St., Clay City. (606) 663-2555.
River Heritage Museum. Story of the four rivers region: Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers. 117 S. Water St., Paducah. (270) 575-9958.
Rose Hill/Lyon County Museum. Ky. 730, Eddyville. (270) 388-9986.
Three Forks Historical Museum. Beattyville area history. 87 Main St., Beattyville. (606) 464-2888.
Western Kentucky Museum. Graves County and its tobacco industry showcased. 120 N. 8th St., Mayfield. (270) 247-6971.
Woodford County Historical Society Library & Museum. 121 Rose Hill Ave., Versailles. (859) 873-6786, www.woodfordkyhistory.org.
Civil War Museum/Old Bardstown Village. Artifacts from the Civil War’s Western Theatre. 310 E. Broadway St., Bardstown. (502) 349-0291.
Columbus-Belmont State Park. 350 Park Rd., Columbus. (270) 677-2327, http://parks.ky.gov/stateparks/cb/index.htm
Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum. History of 101st Airborne Division Air Assault, the “Screaming Eagles.” 5702 Tennessee Ave., Ft. Campbell. (270) 798-3215.
James D. Veatch Camp Breckinridge Museum. Genealogy records and historic murals. 1116 N. Village Rd., Morganfield. (270) 389-4420, www.breckinridge-arts.org.
Kentucky Military History Museum. Collections of firearms, flags, uniforms, and personal equipment. 125 E. Main St. at Capital Ave., Frankfort. (502) 564-3265, www.history.ky.gov.
Patton Museum of Cavalry & Armor. History of the famed general and the Cavalry-Armor forces. 4554 Fayette Ave., Ft. Knox. (800) 334-7540, www.radclifftourism.org/pattonmuseum.shtml.
Tilghman Civil War Museum. Exhibits in restored home of Gen. Lloyd Tilghman. 631 Kentucky Ave., Paducah. (270) 575-1870.
War Memorial of Mid-America. Artifacts of Revolutionary War era through Desert Storm. 310 E. Broadway, Bardstown. (502) 349-0291, www.civil-war-museum.org.
Women of the Civil War Museum. Contributions of women during the Civil War. 202 E. Broadway St., Bardstown. (502) 349-0291, www.civil-war-museum.org.
International Bluegrass Music Museum.117 Daviess St., Owensboro. (888) 692-2656, www.bluegrass-museum.org.
Kentucky Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Honors performers, songwriters, publishers, promoters, and others in the music industry both statewide and worldwide. 2590 Richmond Rd., Renfro Valley. (606) 256-1000, (877) 356-3263, www.kymusichalloffame.com.
American Cave Museum/Hidden River Cave. 119 E. Main St., Horse Cave. (270) 786-1466, www.cavern.org.
Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum. Fluorite crystals mined locally and worldwide. 205 N. Walker St., Marion. (270) 965-4263, www.marionkentucky.us/clementmineralmuseum.
Coal House Museum. Structure built in 1926 out of bituminous coal, now houses mining equipment. 106 N. 20th St., Middlesboro. (606) 248-1075, (800) 988-1075, www.mountaingateway.com.
Coal Miners’ Museum. Coal mining tools, post office, and more. 78 Miller’s Creek Rd., Van Lear. (606) 789-8540,
EKU Hummel Planetarium. Kit Carson Dr., Richmond. (859) 465-9191, www.planetarium.eku.edu.
Gheens Science Hall & Rausch Planetarium. Public astronomy programs and laser light shows. University of Louisville, Louisville. (502) 852-6664, www.louisville.edu/planetarium.
Kentucky Coal Mining Museum. Life in a coal camp depicted for visitors. 221 Main St., Benham. (606) 848-1530, www.kingdomcome.org.
Museum of Anthropology, NKU. 200 Landrum Academic Ctr., Highland Heights. (859) 572-5259, www.nku.edu/~anthro/museum.html.
University of Kentucky William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology. 211 Lafferty Hall, University of Kentucky, Lexington. (859) 257-8208, www.uky.edu/AS/Anthropology/Museum/museum.htm.
Wildlife/Natural History Museum. Displays of animals, fossils, minerals. 310 E. Broadway, Bardstown. (502) 349-0291, www.civil-war-museum.org.
Bluegrass Railroad Museum. Train rides, railroad memorabilia, and equipment. 175 Beasley Rd., Versailles. (800) 755-2476, www.bgrm.org.
Caldwell Railroad Museum. 116 Edwards St., Princeton. (270) 365-0582.
Elkhorn City Railroad Museum. 100 Pine St., Elkhorn City. (606) 754-8300.
Kentucky Railway Museum. 136 S. Main St., New Haven. (800) 272-0152,
Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati. 315 W. Southern Ave., Covington. (859) 491-7245.
Stanford Historic L&N Depot. 1866 Depot St., Stanford. (606) 365-0207.
Wilmore Railroad Museum. Wilmore City Hall, Wilmore. (859) 858-4411.
American Saddlebred Museum. 4083 Iron Works Pkwy., Lexington. (800) 829-4438,
Bluegrass Motorcycle Museum. Vintage cycles 1906-present. 5608 U.S. Hwy. 231N., Hartford. (270) 298-7764.
International Museum of the Horse. 4093 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington. (859) 233-4303.
Kentucky Derby Museum. 704 Central Ave., Louisville. (502) 637-1111, www.derbymuseum.org.
Louisville Slugger Museum. Interactive exhibits and bat factory tour. 800 W. Main St., Louisville. (502) 588-7228, (877) 775-8443, www.sluggermuseum.org.
Muhammad Ali Center. Hometown tribute to the life of this famed boxer and humanitarian in an international cultural and educational center. 144 N. 6th St., Louisville. (502) 584- 9254, www.alicenter.org.
National Corvette Museum. 350 Corvette Dr., Bowling Green. (800) 538-3883, www.corvettemuseum.com.
University of Kentucky Basketball Museum. 410 W. Vine St., Ste. 205, Lexington. (800) 269-1953, www.ukbballmuseum.org.
1817 Saddle Factory Museum. Displays of early saddles and primitive tools on display. S. Breathitt St. at E. 4th St., Russellville. (270) 726-4181, www.logantele.com/~loganhistory.
American Printing House for the Blind. Free guided tours to see production of Braille publications, recording of talking books, and demonstrations of assistive aids for the visually impaired. 1839 Frankfort Ave., Louisville. (800) 223-1839, www.aph.org.
Mammoth Cave Wildlife Museum. P.O. Box 31, Cave City. (270) 773-2255.
Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum. About 50 antique and classic cars on display. 1100 N. Dixie Hwy., Elizabethtown. (270) 765-2181, www.swopemuseum.com.
VISITING FEATURED MUSEUMS
The Harry C. Miller Lock Collection is located within the Lockmasters Security Institute, 1014 S. Main St., Nicholasville (Jessamine County). It is considered to be the most comprehensive collection of safe locks in the country. Among those of particular interest are an engraved Arabic lock dating back to the 14th century and another used at the White House from 1865–1926. Normal hours for tours, which are self-guided, are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1–4 p.m. or by appointment. Free admission. For more information. call (859) 887-9633.
The House of Reptiles has more than 100 live specimens of alligators, snakes, land tortoises, geckos, monitors, spiders, and insects on display each day at its facility at 12 S. Main Street, Dry Ridge (Grant County). Educational programs offered to day cares, libraries, museums, schools, youth groups, parties, and festivals. Open daily with normal hours 10 a.m.–8 p.m. but it’s strongly recommended that visitors call first in case a program is being conducted off-site. Reptile supplies are also sold, as well as specimens that are most suitable as pets. Tours are guided, and admission is $3. For more information, visit the Web site http://houseofreptiles.150m.com/houseofreptiles/home.html or call (859) 824-4577.
The Jeffersontown Historical Museum at 10635 Watterson Trail in Jeffersontown (Jefferson County) features about 1,350 dolls donated from the private collection of Petra Williams, an attorney who helped found the Gaslight Festival held each year in Jeffersontown. The dolls range in age from a Tanagra figurine from ancient Greece to more modern ones made in countries around the world dressed in native attire. Tours are guided or self-guided. Hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday. Closed on city holidays. Free admission. For more information, call (502) 261-8290 or visit their Web site at www.jeffersontownky.com.
For the past 35 years, the Mammoth Cave Wax Museum on Highway 70 West in Cave City (Barren County) has offered up an eclectic assortment of life-sized wax reproductions depicting notable religious, historic, and pop culture figures including Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, and famed outlaw Jesse James. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Central Time) March 1 through Memorial Day; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day; and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Labor Day through October 31. Closed November 1 through March 1. Admission is $7 adults, $4 children age 6 to 12 years, and under 6 admitted free. Group rates available. For more information, call (270) 773-3010 or go online at www.mammothcavewaxmuseum.com.
The Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia is scheduled to open in a new facility this month showcasing more than 2,000 selected items bearing the soft drink’s logo from among the roughly 50,000-piece collection of Bill and Jan Schmidt. The museum is located at 109 Buffalo Creek Drive, Elizabethtown (Hardin County), next to the Holiday Inn Express just off I-65, Exit 94. Admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors and tour group members, $2 children ages 5-17 and student tour members, and preschoolers admitted free. Open seven days a week except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1–6 p.m. Sunday. Tours are self-guided. Gift shop and refreshment area on-site. For more information, visit their Web site at www.schmidtmuseum.com
or call (270) 982-5100.
The Vent Haven Museum is located at 33 W. Maple Avenue, Fort Mitchell (Kenton County), and has tours by appointment only, May through September. Tours of the three-building complex are guided, and encompass the history of ventriloquism and brief backgrounds on two to three dozen selected ventriloquism figures. The museum hosts an annual ConVENTion each July—it’s said to be the oldest and largest continuous gathering of ventriloquists in the world. This year’s event will be July 12-15 at the Drawbridge Inn and Convention Center in Fort Mitchell. Admission to the museum is $3 adults, $1 children. No public restrooms available and not handicapped-accessible. For more information, call (859) 341-0461 or go online to www.venthavenmuseum.net.
All times Eastern Standard Time, unless otherwise noted.