The Kentucky Museum hosts Fall Open House to celebrate new exhibit


Georgia Mallett

The Kentucky Museum sits on the West side of WKU’s campus on the Avenue of Champions. The museum offers many different exhibits throughout the year, now including its newest exhibit, Remembering Childhood.

Alexandria Anderson, News reporter

The Kentucky Museum held its Fall Open House on Friday, Oct. 22 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and featured a new exhibit, trick-or-treating and guest presenters from the recent exhibits.

The event was held in order to encourage participation in the museum from Bowling Green and WKU communities. It focused on various parts of the museum and generally focused on being an outreach event.

“This is our first event since the pandemic,” Tiffany Iselhardt, the development manager for the Kentucky Museum said. “We wanted to show off the new exhibit, but also have a trick-or-treat type event to do something fun for the community.”

The event also encouraged guests to view other exhibits that may have been installed after the pandemic and not had the chance to have a formal opening. Iselhardt also explained why she thinks it is important that the museum holds themed events like this one.

“It helps show that museums can be fun places and combat that museums have to be quiet or dull,” she said. “We do lots of exhibits that show a range of different fields. Museums can be places to be social, and they’re places to network. A museum is a place to meet people.”

The open house drew WKU students and members of the Bowling Green community to support the museum and its exhibits, but the main attraction at the event was the formal opening of their new exhibit titled Styles and the gistofit, which focuses on the life and work of dressmaker Carrie Burnam Taylor.

“The research technically started back in the 1970s with Dr. Sally Clark, who wrote a thesis over Taylor and interviewed people who had worked in her factories,” Carrie Cox, the curator of the exhibit, WKU alumnus and assistant professor in fashion merchandising said. 

The exhibit and it’s research was supported by many, with multiple grants being given to pursue the research. The dresses also feature the work of historical fashion conservators who had to repair some issues, due to the fact that most are over 100 years old.

“I came back to WKU in the fall of 2015 and started doing more research on her,” Cox said. “I always collaborated with the museum, even during my undergrad, so once I asked, ‘Can I look at Carrie’s garments?’ because they were just wasting away in boxes, and we examined the details.”

Styles and the gistofit is a product of more than five years of research. Cox explained about the history and impact of Taylor on both the Bowling Green and national community.

“I told her, ‘We need to do a comprehensive exhibit’,” Cox said. “We really needed to do something about that clothing and her impact. So we did more research, and we brought together those narratives and added on the influence of other dressmakers. We were always trying to place her [in history]; the purpose of the exhibit was really to contextualize.”

News reporter Alexandria Anderson can be reached at [email protected]