The Kentucky River Museum is located in Boonesborough, Kentucky, in Fort Boonesborough State Park. Established in 2002, the museum occupies the former lock operator's home and storage and maintenance building for Lock 10, one of fourteen locks on the Kentucky River which were originally built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The ten uppermost ones (locks 5 through 14) are now operated by the Kentucky River Authority.
Open April 1 thru October 31 daily 9am-5pm. Admission for the Kentucky River Museum is included with the fort admission.
Between 1836 and 1917 a
slackwater navagation system of 14 locks and dams was built on the
Kentucky River. The Commonwealth of Kentucky constructed the first five,
from Carrollton to above Clifton and operated them until after the
Civil War. The navigation was federalized in 1880 and The United States
Army Corps of Engineers added nine more locks and dams, extending the
network to Heidelburg near the confluence of the Three Forks at
In 1836 few engineering
projects this large and this difficult had been attempted in America. It
was completed over 80 years and cost over 5 million dollars for the
construction alone. The railroads overtook river travel and the project
was obsolete even before it was completetd but continued to operate into
the 20th century. In 1986 the Corp of Engineers began to pass ownership
to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. When Lock No. 10 came under the
Commonwealth’s ownership in 1996 the lock buildings (called a
reservation) were restored.