Department of Tourism
Breathitt Co. Museum Is Seeking to Expand
JACKSON, Ky. -- The Breathitt County Museum is seeking to raise several hundred thousand dollars to complete renovation of the old county jail to provide more museum space and serve as a welcome center.
“We’ve been working for about a year on renovations to the jail,” said museum director Janie Griffith. “We need $300,000 to $400,000 to finish the project.” The jail was constructed in the 1930s by the federal Works Projects Administration.
The museum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the rich Appalachian heritage of Breathitt County, is a virtual storehouse of historical treasures relating to the history of Eastern Kentucky, said Griffith. It needs more space to accommodate its growing collection of exhibits and artifacts.
The museum also has a temporary gallery for the display of works done by local artists and crafts people. Traveling exhibits are also occasionally displayed in this area.
Presently on display in the temporary gallery is a collection of about 130 11” by 14” black and white photographs taken in Breathitt County in 1940 by Marion Post Wolcott, a Farm Security Administration photographer. Wolcott was one of a team of FSA photographers who traveled the country in the 1930s and early 1940s documenting life and cultural traditions of various regions.
The temporary gallery will soon be home to a traveling exhibit devoted to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial, Griffith said.
The museum’s permanent exhibits include: 1) Breathitt County Timeline; 2) Family map; 3) Prehistoric Man in Breathitt County; 4) How Coal Was Formed; 5) Early Farming; 6) Coal Mining; 7) Hunting and Food Preparation; 8) Textiles, including a weaving loom and several spinning wheels; 9) Men’s Work; 10) Logging; 11) Religion; 12) Education; and 13) Breathitt County Goes to War.
Historical organizations such as Kentucky Association of Museums, the Daughters of the American Revolution and veterans’ groups have met in the conference area of the museum. National and statewide organizations have held gatherings at the museum, which recently hosted a regional Southeastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association meeting.
In the past, the museum has joined with other organizations to promote such projects as the Veteran’s War Memorial Project, the Breathitt County Sesquicentennial Celebration, and the annual Honey Festival.
The museum hosts frequent visits by school groups on field trips to learn about the folk traditions and history of their ancestors. During summer months, as well as year round, the museum is a leading tourist attraction in the area, Griffith said.
The museum, located at 329 Broadway Street in downtown Jackson, is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Groups can also arrange in advance for tours on other days, Griffith said.
For more information call 606-666-4159 or visit the museum’s website at www.breathittmuseum.com. Email should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky’s economy.