Kentucky Military History Museum celebrates grand reopening

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Photos by John Perkins, Creative Services

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FRANKFORT, Ky. — This year’s Veterans Day was made even more special with the grand reopening of a longstanding institution, the Kentucky Military History Museum.

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Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini speaks at the grand reopening of the Kentucky Military History Museum.

Located on East Main St. in Frankfort, the museum features a “Military Treasures” exhibit with artifacts and stories of Kentuckians who fought in battles spanning nearly 200 years.

For more than four years, the State Arsenal has been undergoing extensive renovations.  The goal of the project is to restore the building as closely as possible to its original appearance.  Upgrade to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system have been made, as well as nearly every other aspect of the building, from windows to doors, the walls and floors.

Nearly $1.5 million has been allocated so far to the project, which is funded by the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs, the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation and the Veteran’s Program Trust Fund Board.  By the time the restoration is complete in 2013 the project will run approximately $2 million.

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Kentucky National Guard troops provide a color guard for the ceremony.

“This newly renovated museum represents a tangible record of our state’s history, from the Revolutionary War until today,” said Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini, who spoke at the event.  “Behind the brick and mortar of this museum is the heart of Kentucky’s military legacy – the men and women who put the interests of others ahead of their own.”

The building was originally constructed as the state arsenal in 1850 at the cost of $8,500.  At one point, it was used as a warehouse for military equipment and munitions for the Kentucky State Guard.  During the Civil War, it housed a cartridge factory that employed many women and became a point of defense for the capital city. It was also used as a storage facility until being put to use as the Kentucky Military History Museum in 1974.

Today, the museum is operated jointly by the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs.  It is currently listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini joins members of the Kentucky Military History Museum board in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

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