We had a few hours to spare between when we checked out of the Jailer’s Inn and our scheduled Mammoth Cave tour; my contact at Bardstown Tourism had suggested that we visit the Bardstown Civil War Museum. It was a short drive from the Bardstown Square. I’ll be honest, the location and exterior made me apprehensive; it wasn’t on a bad side of town but it resembled a strip mall next to the Pioneer Village. I was trying to justify the admission tickets based upon outward appearances; the tickets included admission to the Civil War Museum, Pioneer Village, Women of the Civil War Museum, and the War Memorial of Mid-America. Before you read on, don’t let my first impressions keep you from purchasing tickets. As they say, never judge a book by its cover! I was both fascinated and impressed at the large collection of Civil War memorabilia that the museum had. You can check out some of the exhibits in my photos below.
The Bardstown Civil War Museum is a nonprofit organization, and it is solely funded through admission tickets and donations. The collection of Civil War clothing, weapons, and personal items is much larger than I imagined. Kentucky played such a central role in the Civil War, and there are numerous battlefields and significant places to visit. We live very close to both Mill Springs and Perryville battlefields; I’ll be sharing about our recent visit to Mill Springs very soon. We enjoyed browsing the exhibits before heading to the Pioneer Village.
Across the parking lot from the Civil War Museum is the Pioneer Village. The houses are primitive recreations of what pioneer settlement homes throughout the area would have looked like. This was Gabe’s favorite exhibit; he was very curious about the houses/buildings, and it was nice to take a walk outside.
The other two museums that are included with admission, the Women’s Civil War Museum and the War Memorial of Mid-America, are not on the property; they’re located just up the street. One of my grandfathers is a Korean War Veteran and my great grandfather served during World War II, so I really enjoyed the War Memorial of Mid-America. The Women’s Civil War Museum shares a building with the War Memorial of Mid-America. The museum has a small collection of period dresses that were my favorite part of that museum.
I definitely would recommended checking out these museums if you’re visiting Bardstown. It was the most educational attraction on our trip. Kentucky’s history is as much connected to the South as the North–being the birthplace to both Civil War presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. It’s difficult to understand Kentucky and its culture without some appreciation for the role the Civil War played in its development.