The Kentucky Historical Society

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Our Story

The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) was formed in 1836 by a group of prominent Kentuckians intent on preserving the history of the commonwealth. It was chartered as the state society in 1838 and began to collect books and printed materials. The Society became an agency of Kentucky state government in the early 1950s.

KHS, an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, has more than 3,300 members to whom it provides support and educational services. Outreach programs collaborate with more than 430 local historical organizations. KHS is administered by an executive committee, and supported by the KHS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.

One of the gallries in the exhibit, "Civil War: My brother, My enemy"

Our Mission

We educate and engage the public through Kentucky history in order to confront the challenges of the future.

Our Vision

The Kentucky Historical Society will be the recognized leader in helping people understand, cherish and share Kentucky's stories.

Our Work

KHS collects, preserves, conserves, interprets and shares information, memories and materials from Kentucky's past to assist those interested in exploring and preserving that heritage.

Our mission is served through:

  • Museum collections, housing more than 120,000 artifacts
  • Oral History collection, containing 8,000 oral history interviews
  • Libraries and Special Collections housing more than 90,000 published works, 16,000 reels of microfilm, 200,000 historic photographs, 1,900 cubic feet of manuscripts and 2,000 maps.


The Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History