Kentucky Heritage Council
Vanishing Bluegrass exhibit to open Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, at the Kentucky Derby Museum
Vanishing Bluegrass to open Earth Day, April 22, at the Kentucky Derby Museum
Exhibit explores issues of growth and preservation in central Kentucky
Friday, April 20, 2007
Contact: Diane Comerdiane.email@example.com
502-564-7005, ext. 120
FRANKFORT, Ky. – In 2006, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) named the Kentucky Bluegrass region one of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. But what exactly defines the Bluegrass region? Why is it important? How real are the threats? Could the iconic central Kentucky landscape that is unique from any other in the world disappear forever? These questions and others are addressed in the exhibit The Vanishing Bluegrass opening on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22 at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville.
"Is the Bluegrass vanishing? This exhibit is intended to challenge people to answer that question for themselves," said David L. Morgan, state historic preservation officer emeritus, who will be a special guest speaker on Sunday. Morgan served as Kentucky Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer for 22 years, retiring in December. In March, Gov. Ernie Fletcher appointed Donna M. Neary of Louisville as new Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer, a position she began April 2.
"The issue is not one of growth versus preservation," Morgan added. "Instead, this exhibit is intended to engage people in thinking about how they want their communities to grow, and what are the best ways to accommodate growth and change while preserving the historic, cultural and natural resources that make central Kentucky a world-class, world-renowned landscape."
www.derbymuseum.org or call 502-637-7097. The Kentucky Derby Museum is located at 704 Central Avenue, Louisville.
"The Vanishing Bluegrass introduces people to the very real dangers of poor planning and overdevelopment threatening to destroy the unique cultural landscape of Kentucky," said Mark O’Bryan, an associate professor of architecture in the University of Kentucky College of Design. "There is no other place in the world like the Bluegrass region. Its conservation is vital to our identity and our long-term economic interests."
O'Bryan, his fellow College of Design faculty and design students crafted an exhibit that lets viewers explore the importance of balance in urban development and land preservation while demonstrating the impact that planning decisions today will have on the future of the land, its wildlife and the people of the Commonwealth. The exhibit looks at growth in an 11-county region of central Kentucky and how these particular trends are endangering the unique Bluegrass cultural landscape.
The Vanishing Bluegrass exhibit is highlighted with images reflecting the region's beauty by such renowned photographers James Archambeault, Guy Mendes and Frank Döring, as well as original drawings by schoolchildren in the Bluegrass region.
In addition to the UK College of Design and the Kentucky Derby Museum, the exhibit is presented in partnership with the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office, the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation and the Bluegrass Conservancy, the organizations that, along with UK, collectively nominated the central Kentucky Bluegrass region to the WMF 2006 Watch List. According to the nomination narrative, Kentucky’s Bluegrass region "is one of North America’s most distinctive cultural and agricultural landscapes… and between 1997 and 2002, more than 300 square kilometers of [Bluegrass] agricultural land were converted to other uses."
The WMF is considered the foremost private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered architectural and cultural sites around the world. Since 1965, the organization has worked tirelessly to stem the loss of historic structures at more than 450 sites in over 80 countries.
The Kentucky Derby Museum understands the importance of the preservation discussion to the state and through this exhibit has given the topic a platform at the museum. The exhibit will remain on display through December.
"The Vanishing Bluegrass will explore what is happening to one of Kentucky's most valuable natural resources," said Lynn Ashton, Kentucky Derby Museum executive director. "We are pleased to work with all of these organizations to present this vital issue to the public."
For more information, visit the museum’s Web site at
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An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of historic and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens. This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.