Kentucky Historical Society

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The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) was formed in 1836 by a group of prominent Kentuckians intent on preserving the history of the Commonwealth. It was chartered as the state society in 1838 and began to collect books and printed materials. KHS became an agency of Kentucky state government in the early 1950s and is now part of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet.

The KHS history campus includes its headquarters, the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Old State Capitol and the Kentucky Military History Museum at the Old State Arsenal. KHS has more than 3,900 members and more than 1,300 junior members to whom it provides support and educational services. Outreach programs collaborate with more than 430 local historical organizations. The KHS is administered by an executive committee and is also supported by the KHS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.

The Kentucky Historical Society collects, preserves, conserves, interprets, and shares information, memories, and materials from Kentucky’s past to assist those interested in exploring and preserving that heritage. The museum collection houses 120,000 artifacts.

Martin F. Schmidt Research Library

Located on the second floor of the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Martin F. Schmidt Research Library is a beautiful facility featuring more than 16,000 rolls of microfilm, 90,000 books and periodicals, and 30,000 vertical files focused primarily on Kentucky history and genealogy. The Society's Special Collections of 1,900 cubic feet of manuscripts, 2,000 maps, 8,000 oral history tapes, 200,000 historic photographs, and 9,100 rare books provide clues to the past to genealogists and scholars. The library is a FamilySearch Affiliate, and as such, library patrons may order microforms from the vast collection held by the Salt Lake City-based Family History Library for temporary use at the Kentucky Historical Society. The library, which houses both the General and Special Collections is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Thursday's include extended hours until 8 p.m. The library is free and open to the public. (Check the main website for current hours of operation - especially during the winter hours: Mid-December through Mid-March)

The Library Collections Catalog for the Martin F. Schmidt library is available on-line, as is the Society's Digital Collections Catalog, which includes images of manuscripts, maps, photographs and finding aids for the collections at Kentucky Historical Society. The Society also hosts an on-line database of cemetery records that contains over 150,000 names transcribed by volunteers from gravestones across Kentucky.

For more than a hundred years, the Society has been collecting research materials which help shed light on the lives of Kentuckians in earlier times. These collections are noncirculating, and researchers are encouraged to visit the facilities located in the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.


100 West Broadway
Frankfort, Kentucky  40601

Phone: 502–564-1792