Explore the Kentucky Historical Society

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. KHS became an agency of Kentucky state government in the early 1950s.

An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, KHS has more than 3,300 members to whom it provides support and educational services. Outreach programs collaborate with more than 400 local historical organizations. KHS is administered by an executive committee and supported by the KHS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.

KHS engages people in the exploration of the commonwealth's diverse heritage. Through comprehensive and innovative services, interpretive programs and stewardship, we provide connections to the past, perspective on the present and inspiration for the future.

Today, the KHS campus includes three important sites: the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Old State Capitol, and the Kentucky Military History Museum at the Old State Arsenal. Ten historical markers located on the campus grounds highlight the important events and people affiliated with these sites.

The Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, built in 1999, includes exhibits, a research library, staff offices, and a gift shop. The Old State Capitol is National Historic Landmark that served as Kentucky's capitol from 1830 to 1910. Built in 1850, the State Arsenal is now home to the Kentucky Military History Museum.

To learn more about the people and places that shaped these sites, use this tour to explore the Kentucky Historical Society campus.

Paul Sawyier Boyhood Home

Historical marker #2204 in Frankfort identifies the boyhood home of Paul Sawyier, one of the most recognized and popular artists in Kentucky. Sawyier's popularity is due in large part to his work being so closely identifiable with particular…

The Old Mansion

Historical Marker #1208 in Frankfort notes the location of the Old Governor's Mansion, the former residence of the state's chief executive. When Kentucky became the nation's fifteenth state in 1792, Frankfort was selected as the…

State Arsenal

Historical Marker #1490 in Frankfort notes the location of the State Arsenal building, which now serves as the Kentucky Military History Museum. In 1836, a devastating fire and explosion that heavily damaged the state arsenal necessitated the…

Old State House

Historical Marker #1524 in Frankfort notes the location of the Old State Capitol, which served as the state’s center of government from 1830 to 1910. Due to the generous donation of land and building materials by the town's citizens,…

Frankfort Union Station

Historical Marker #1955 commemorates Frankfort's Union Station and an early railroad tunnel built near downtown. In 1820, Lexington was still the largest town in the commonwealth. The coming of the steamboat, followed by an economic depression…

Veterans of the American Revolution Elected Governor

Historical Marker #1372 in Frankfort notes the Revolutionary War service of the state's early governors. Although only one formal engagement occurred in what would become Kentucky (the Battle of Blue Licks, August 19, 1782), the Revolutionary…

Father of the Highway Marker Program

Historical Marker #1420 in Frankfort honors Walter Allerton Wentworth, who was known as the father of the Kentucky Historical Highway Marker Program. A native of New Hampshire, Wentworth was a graduate of Iowa State University and received his…

Confederates Here

Historical Marker #522 commemorates the Confederate occupation of Frankfort in September 1862. That summer, multiple Confederate armies invaded Kentucky in order to pull Union troops away from the vital railroad junction of Chattanooga, Tennessee. …

CSA Governor at Old State Capitol

Historical Marker #522 in Frankfort commemorates the installation of Richard Hawes as Kentucky's second Confederate governor. The ceremony took place at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort in 1862. That year, several Confederate armies invaded…

Governor George Madison

Historical Marker #1896 in Franklin County commemorates Governor George Madison, an 1812 veteran who only held office for a few weeks. Born in Virginia in 1763, George was second cousin to U.S. President James Madison. While he had some militia…