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Library & Special Collections

Thousands of researchers blaze their own trail through the historic landscape each year with the assistance of the Society’s research facilities. Here genealogists can trace an ancestor’s path aided by family histories, census, church, and cemetery records, family Bibles, and land ownership and military service records.

In addition, the Society’s Special Collections house hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, photographs, maps, rare books, oral histories, pioneer accounts, diaries, albums, personal recollections, and more— all helping researchers come face-to-face with Kentucky’s distinctive heritage.


The Society publishes books and periodicals that meet the needs of genealogists, historians, and scholars alike. The publications program produces two quarterlies: The Register, a journal of scholarly research in Kentucky history, and Kentucky Ancestors, a genealogical magazine providing statewide coverage for family history researchers. The Society also publishes The Chronicle, a membership newsletter offering information on Society events, exhibitions, and programs.

The Library and Special Collections facilities contain the stories of Kentuckians and their families, from the 1700s to the present. Researchers have access to hundreds of thousands of books, records, and photographs.


Every year thousands of people travel to Frankfort from all across America for hands-on tours, interactive exhibits, touch carts, historic character reenactments, family workshops, theatrical presentations, symposia, and festivals that celebrate Kentucky’s history. In addition, the education program offers Kentucky history curriculum materials to teachers for use in their classrooms. The Society’s outreach programs help people from Ashland to Paducah discover Kentucky’s unique past. These programs include the Kentucky Junior Historical Societ , Museums To Go, and Historical Highway Markers. Grant and technical assistance activities sponsored by the Folklife, Local History, and Oral History programs give citizens the tools to document and present their own history.

Hours and Admission

Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History

Museum Martin F. Schmidt Library

Tues-Sat (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) Tues.-Sat (8 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Special Collections

Old State Capitol

Tues-Wed by appt Thurs-Fri (8 a.m.-4 p.m.) Tues-Sat (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)

On-the-hour tours begin at the Center for Kentucky Histor , last tour starts at 4 p.m.

Kentucky Military History Museum

Tues-Sat (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)

Tickets will be sold at both the History Center and the Kentucky Military History Museum and will include admission for all three museums. No ticket required for genealogical research library and 1792 Store. Parking is FREE. Ticket prices:

  • Kentucky Historical Society & Kentucky Junior Historical Society members FREE (must present membership card)

  • Active military and veteran discounts (must present service ID)

  • Adults $4

  • Youth (ages 6-18) $2

  • Children 5 and under FREE

  • School groups ($2 per person, students and adults; school group scholarships are available)


2007 Kentucky Ancestors V42-4

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