Bardstown museums open for 2014 season

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Museums offer history, education to students and locals alike

By Kacie Goode

Bardstown’s Civil War Museum and its corresponding venues, Historic Bardstown Village, Wildlife Natural History Museum, Museum of MidAmerica and the Women of the Civil War Museum, have reopened for the season.


Having already hosted one field trip from Louisville this month, the museums are ready to open their doors for a historical and educational experience.

Kenny Johnson, manager of the Civil War museum, said more field trips have been scheduled, but the number of local residents who are unaware of the museums’ existence surprises him.

“You can tell people in this town what they have and they don’t even know it,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who earned a degree in history from the University of Kentucky, has worked at the museum for three years.

“I love it,” Johnson said. “It’s a great place to work with nice, interesting people.”

Johnson said the Civil War Museum is the “central hub” for the museums in Bardstown.

“The Civil War Museum collects artifacts from the western part of the war,” Johnson said. “As for exhibits, most of it — especially the Civil War Museum — stays the same, but we do collect donations.”

Johnson said most of the donations they are currently receiving are from World War I and II, which are placed at the MidAmerica Museum.

The most recent donations, which are on display for the first time this year, are items donated from Bardstown resident Rice Sutherland. The items belonged to her first husband, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Mill Wood II, who was lost in action at Leyte Gulf on March 23, 1945.

“He was a fighter/bomber pilot who was shot down,” Johnson said. “He was missing for five years, and they didn’t find his remains until 1951.”

Johnson said Wood had been at Pearl Harbor, and part of the donation was his sword, which had been found among his quarters on the USS Nevada.

“His quarters were underwater, and when they pulled his stuff out, they found this sword,” Johnson said. “When they put it in, they put it on the wrong side, so it was rusted in the wrong way. We’ve pulled it out and got it looking really good.”

Johnson is hopeful for this year’s season and hopes to see more of the community visiting.

The museums will be open seven days a week until Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays at the same hours until Nov. 30.

Ticket information can be found at http://www.civil-war-museum.org and tickets are good for all five museums and the village.