Capital City Museum unveils renovated bourbon exhibit, kicks off Heritage Week
The Capital City Museum says getting involved with the history of the state capital can help reconnect the community post-pandemic
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Whether you’re a history buff or just a bourbon connoisseur, Frankfort’s Heritage Week is sure to bring you something you enjoy. The Capital City Museum unveiled its renovated bourbon exhibit Monday as part of this annual celebration.
“I love getting to share these artifacts that otherwise would’ve been lost to history or lost in someone’s attic or garage because it’s not every day you get to see a pre-prohibition bourbon bottle with bourbon still in it,” says Dr. Eleanor Hasken-Wagner, museum and historic sites supervisor. “So, it’s really special to get to share these pieces of our history with the general public.”
The Capital City Museum is home to many artifacts unique to Frankfort and Franklin County and it wouldn’t be a Kentucky history museum without an exhibit on the bourbon industry.
“It’s all about the origins of bourbon and the oldest distillery and continually used distillery in the United States, which is Buffalo Trace,” says Hasken-Wagner. “So, we really try and go through the legacy of bourbon, most importantly talking about the people who make bourbon happen, the residents of Frankfort and Franklin County.”
While museum leaders say people may forget details of the city’s history, the proclamation helps recognize its’ storied history, like it being one of the original settlements this far west. The museum says beyond the importance of knowing the history of where you come from, Heritage Week this year is especially important as it can serve as a way to reconnect the community after the separation from the pandemic.
“Heritage Week allows people to reconnect with the historical past in our contemporary moment,” says Hasken-Wagner.
Since the museum is not associated with any particular distillery, it says it can highlight the drama and scandal of Kentucky’s bourbon history. The updated bourbon exhibit features artifacts from pre-prohibition, like a coin from the swastika distillery which had a different meaning prior to World War II, all the way up to more recent events like Pappy-Gate in the 2010’s.
“Even if you’re from Lexington or from Louisville, Frankfort is the state capital,” says Hasken-Wagner. “Coming here and seeing what we have and who we are and what we value, I think is something that drives this community forward and pushes all of us as a state to really get to know one another in a very important and critical way.”