A Short History of the Knox Historical Museum
The Knox Historical Museum was established in 1987 to preserve pieces of KnoxCounty's and southeastern Kentucky's rich mountain heritage.
Major partners in this organizational process were the City of Barbourville, which provided a location for the museum, and the Kentucky Historical Society, which assisted the museum throughout the organizational process and the early years.
Many local individuals were key players in the establishment of the museum, including former Barbourville Mayor Phillip Connley, Jeanne Souchanek of the Kentucky Historical Society, the Charles Black family, which donated several large antique display cases, and numerous individuals, including the museum's first president, David Cole, Michael C. Mills, William Sherman Oxendine, Susan Arthur, Marie Croley, Charles Reed Mitchell, Jakalyn Jackson, David Helton, Carlos Morris, Lois Renfro Morris, K.S. Sol Warren, Grover Wagers, and many others. There would many other volunteer workers and museum supporters in the years to come.
The grand opening of the museum occurred on Sunday, October 9, 1988, in front of City Hall. Opening week programs featured Dr. Thomas Clark lecturing on Daniel Boone, Dr. Loyal Jones of Berea College lecturing on Appalachian religion, music and folklore, and the first of the Mitchell Local Newsreels program by Charles R. Mitchell.
Mr. Mitchell would be instrumental in holding the museum together, with the assistance of Connie Danner, Margaret Jean Owens, Syd Robbins and others, during leaner years to come, following the passing of several key supporters, but a recent resurgence in membership and activity under the guidance of 2012-2014 president Michael C. Mills promises a bright future.
In just a few months time, the museum has opened the new Knox County Genealogy Center, directed by Nancy Hampton and Wayne Adams, which consists of several significant genealogy collections, and the Photo Archives and Gallery, a favorite stop for many visitors.
Our new website, new Facebook account, and a museum phone number (606.546.7581) are indicators of this progress.
We also have several new active members who give of their time on a regular basis. These include Steve Valentine, Doug Bargo, Wayne Adams, Dora Sue Oxendine, Joyce Parker and Carla Lawson.
Meetings and special programs of the Knox Historical Museum are being planned as this was written in Spring 2014.
A new Board of Directors has been selected and have accepted the challenge. These include Alvin Jordan, David Mills, Diana Mills, and Jane Skidmore.
Another individual who has been a key advisor in recent months is Helen Mills, who helped support the development of the website and a history club at Flat Lick Elementary.
Thanks to all those mentioned above and all our supporters as the Knox Historical Museum moves ahead.