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The Kentucky Historical Society offers a museum and archive that are both open to the public. In addition to the museum and archive, this complex includes the headquarters of the organization, which also operates the nearby Kentucky Military History Museum and Old State Capitol. Together with the Society's publications and programs, the museum and archive and these nearby sites offer tours and work to preserve and interpret the history of the state.


  • The Kentucky Historical Society is located inside the Thomas D. Clark Center, which was completed in 1999.
  • The Kentucky Military History Museum is housed in the former State Arsenal which was built in the 1850s.
  • The Old State Capitol served as the Commonwealth's capitol grounds from 1830-1910.

The Society was established as a private organization in 1836. The organization received some support from the state and during the 1950s it became a state agency. The Society's headquarter building is named in honor of former state historian Thomas D. Clark. The building was dedicated in 1999 and offers a museum, library and archive, and a gift shop. 

The Center houses a number of both traveling and permanent exhibitions, including "A Kentucky Journey" which traces the history of Kentucky from prehistoric to modern times. The Clark Center also houses a genealogical research library--the Martin F. Schmidt Research Library--and the Keeneland Changing Exhibits Gallery, which is used to showcase traveling exhibitions. 

The Kentucky Military History Museum is housed in the former State Arsenal--a Gothic Revival built in the 1850s that served as a munitions factory during the Civil War. The museum was established in 1973 by the KHS and Department of Military Affairs. The museum is operated by the KHS. Collections at the museum highlight the military contributions of Kentuckians. The museum is a member of the Army Museum System.

"The Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History," Kentucky Historical Society website (accessed 5/23/16) http://history.ky.gov/portfolio/thomas-d-clark-center-for-kentucky-history.