More than a decade after it was displaced from the Old Fayette County Courthouse, the Lexington History Museum has found a new home in another historic Lexington landmark.
The museum, which also goes by the name LexHistory, held a ribbon cutting Saturday at the Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan House at 210 North Broadway.
“We are thrilled to welcome visitors and share Lexington’s incredible history,” Executive Director Amanda Higgins said in a news release. “Lexington deserves a museum where all our history—the known and unknown, the celebratory and the cautionary—can be told. I’m proud to be a part of bringing this valuable asset back to the community.”
From learning about the work of Lexington-born Nobel Prize winner Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan to an exhibit explaining why IBM chose to locate in Lexington, “even if you’ve lived here your whole life, you’re going to find something you didn’t know about,” Higgins said in an interview.
Board Chairman Jim Dickinson said Saturday marked a major step in the museum’s “journey back to visibility and impact in our community.”
“We are very excited to be open to the public, but you know, this is only the beginning,” he said.
In 2025, he said the city will celebrate the 250th anniversary of its founding, and the museum will play a big part in that.
The Lexington History Museum struggled after it was forced to leave the old courthouse in 2012 because asbestos and other hazards were found. Over the years, it relied on volunteers and part-time employees, took its resources online and hosted pop-up exhibits in temporary locations.
“We did not give up,” Dickinson said Saturday.
Under an agreement with the city, the museum has created a five-year strategic plan that included hiring a full-time director and leasing space. As long as the organization meets certain benchmarks, the city will provide $270,000 in funding each year for the three years, the Herald-Leader reported after the lease was signed in November.
The Thomas Hunt Morgan House is owned by the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation, which also has its administrative offices there, and Higgins said the partnership is already proving beneficial.
“This work started the moment we had to close our doors at the old courthouse. For 10 years, we’ve been working to find a home,” Higgins said Saturday. “Ten months ago, I started in this position, and we’ve worked hours and hours and weeks and months to make sure that we are representing Lexington history in a place where people can find and see themselves and understand how the city developed, where we are today and where we can go in the future.”
The museum will be open noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Admission is $10 with children under 5 admitted free. The organization says special rates are available for groups, seniors and members of the military, and school and group tours are available by appointment.