Famous baseball bats, boxing legends, horse racing, and creation are just a few things you can explore at the best museums in Kentucky. With its rich culture and history, the Bluegrass State doesn't disappoint when it comes to interesting museums.
If you're looking for a day of educational experiences or a chance to observe some of the finest art in the country, you may want to stop into one of these 10 fantastic museums in Kentucky.
Marked by the world's largest baseball bat leaning against the side of the museum, the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville shares the history of America's favorite pastime. Learn about baseball's greatest players with interactive exhibits, and watch how Louisville Slugger bats are made. The best part is that every visitor leaves with his/her own miniature Louisville Slugger. Just don't try to carry it on the plane when you fly back home. Security will confiscate it unless you pack it with checked luggage!
Learn about the history and science of flight at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky in Lexington. The 20,000 square foot museum boasts restorations of antique aircrafts, aviation memorabilia, and newer planes that are still capable of flight. The museum is also dedicated to educating and encouraging students interested in entering a career in aviation, so it's a great place to take young aspiring pilots, air traffic controllers, and flight attendants.
Located on Museum Row in Louisville, the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts is an art museum and gallery dedicated to showcasing the works of regional artists from the present and past. Browse historical and contemporary art in the gallery, shop for an original piece of art or jewelry in the gift shop, or attend during one of the museum's special events to combine art and alcohol consumption. The best part is that admission to the museum is free.
The National Quilt Museum in Paducah showcases some of the region's and world's most interesting and unique quilts. With three galleries of quilts and eight rotations throughout the year, there's always something new and interesting to see at the museum. Great for crafters and people who just enjoy viewing the output of a lot of time, care, and effort, the National Quilt Museum is a great place to visit on a trip to Kentucky.
The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green is a haven for car lovers. The 115,000 square foot museum showcases the history of the classic American sports car with contemporary Corvettes placed alongside classics, antiques, rare restorations, and one-of-a-kind prototypes that were never mass produced. After browsing the museum, grab a bite to eat at the Corvette Café to relive the 50's diner scene.
From the outside, you can tell that the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, is a special place. Thousands of tiles forming the façade of the building come together to form an image of Muhammad Ali's face from certain angles and an image of him boxing from others. Inside, you'll find memorabilia and exhibits that celebrate the life of Ali and teach visitors about the boxing champion's six core values: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. While in part the museum is about Ali's boxing career, the overall theme of the museum is one of acceptance and respect for others.
Whatever your beliefs, the Creation Museum in Petersburg, boasts a unique experience that's difficult to find outside of the Bluegrass State. The Creation Museum chronicles the history of the creation and evolution of the world according to the Bible, even boasting a dinosaur skeleton showing proof of Noah's flood. If you're looking for a little adventure beyond the museum, you can also visit the petting zoo, ride a zip line, and wander through the museum's botanical gardens.
Located on the University of Louisville's Belknap campus in Louisville, the Speed Art Museum is the best place in the state for browsing historical and contemporary art. On the outside, the Speed Art Museum boasts an interesting, modern architecture that's worth seeing even if you don't set foot inside. If you do decide to venture in, you'll find contemporary art exhibits, ancient art archives, art from Native American and African cultures, and original art created by renown Kentucky artists.
Whiskey enthusiasts and individuals exploring Kentucky's bourbon distilleries will want to make a stop at the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in Bardstown. The museum boasts a collection of whiskey memorabilia that takes visitors from precolonial times to post-prohibition. Take in rare bottles of whiskey and peruse unique whiskey art and advertisements. While well-known in Kentucky, the museum is also nationally recognized: it won Whiskey Magazine's "Whiskey Visitor Attraction of the Year" award in 2014.
Truly exploring the history of Appalachia and Eastern Kentucky requires understanding the impacts of coal mining in that region, and visitors to the Kentucky Coal Museum in Benham can do just that. The museum's focus is on life as a coal miner in the Eastern Kentucky region. After browsing the museum's exhibits, visitors can also take a tour of a closed mine in order to get a full understanding of what life was like for coal miners from the early days of the 20th century to the present.