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Kentucky Historical Society examines artifacts from past protests

Posted at 4:43 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 09:07:15-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Kentucky Historical Society collects artifacts that show the history of some of the most important moments in the state's history. As protests continue across the nation and in the Bluegrass, the society is examining artifacts related to protests and demonstrations in previous years.

Within these walls, the Historical Society has about 100,000 artifacts of Kentucky's past.

"Some have connections to important people, others are sort of representative of life at those times," curator Andrew Washburn said.

And these objects are just some of them. Washburn says the museum has items like signs from a women's march in Lexington in 2017 to a billy club used by the National Guard in 1930.

"By the 123rd calvary. They were deployed to Harlan County in response to the strikes related to the unionization of the coal fields there," Washburn said.

The museum also has a t-shirt, from protests in 1975 when the federal government ordered Louisville schools to integrate.

"Again the National Guard was called out," Washburn said. "That included the National Guard troopers were riding school buses, with school kids as they traveled from one end of town to another."

The collections mainly include artifacts from law enforcement, a sign of the times and not unusual. Washburn says the most illustrating thing they've found is what they don't have, which is something they're trying to change for the future.

"We want to make sure that in 100 years, people who have our jobs and who want to tell the story of the momentous events that are happening now, will have objects to tell that story," Washburn said.