Lex. History Museum moves to Rankin House, will open as house museum

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lexington History Museum has a new home and soon will operate as Lexington’s newest house museum.

The museum moved May 1 into the historic Rankin House, 317 S. Mill St., and the Lexington Board of Adjustment granted the museum permission to operate as a house museum at its June 8 meeting.

With this approval, the Lexington History Museum at Rankin House is the first house museum to begin operation in Lexington in at least 40 years. It joins the likes of the Hunt-Morgan House, the Mary Todd Lincoln House, the Bodley-Bullock House, Waveland, Ashland and others in sharing and preserving Lexington’s history.

The Lexington Museum at Rankin House will hold an open house as part of Lexington’s Fourth of July celebration. The house will be open and staffed by museum volunteers from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, July 4. The event is free and open to the public.

The Rankin House is the oldest original private home in Lexington. It was built in 1784 as a log cabin with a frame addition added a few years later. The whole structure now is covered in clapboard exterior siding. The house originally was on West High Street, roughly across the street from First United Methodist Church, and was moved in 1971 during a period of urban renewal in downtown Lexington.

The home is owned by a private individual who is renting it to the Lexington History Museum. In time, the museum hopes to purchase the structure and the property on which it sits.

The house is named for the Rev. Adam Rankin, a Pennsylvania native who came to Central Kentucky in 1784 to accept the pastorate of the Pisgah Church in what is now Woodford County. Rankin left Pisgah several years later to found Mt. Zion Church in the late 1780s, and he founded First Presbyterian Church, now on North Mill Street, in 1792. The Rev. Rankin died in 1829.

The Lexington History Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Donations to The Lexington History Museum at Rankin House may be mailed to P.O. Box 748, Lexington, KY 40588-0748 or online at by clicking here.

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