30
Nov
09

Kentucky Humanities Council awards $1,200 to Portland Museum for panel discussion

The Kentucky Humanities Council recently awarded $1,200 to Louisville’s Portland Museum for an upcoming forum that focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and how it was influenced by the media.

The panel discussion, scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 17 at the museum, corresponds with an exhibit featuring about 50 engravings that depict the major events of the Lincoln presidency, from the Republican Convention in Chicago in 1860 to the hanging of Lincoln’s assassins in 1865. The images, original engravings published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and Harper’s Weekly, are from a private collection and have not been previously displayed in Kentucky. They tell the story of the Lincoln presidency and demonstrate the power of imagery in the 19th century popular media.

As part of the Lincoln Bicentennial, the Kentucky premiere of this private collection will stimulate discussion on the role of the media in creating mythic and iconic stature of Lincoln in the national culture. Panelists include Dr. John Kleber, professor emeritus of history from Morehead State University, McConnell Center Fellow and editor of several major works, including The Encyclopedia of Louisville and The Encyclopedia of Kentucky; Dr. Thomas Mackey, professor of history at the University of Louisville and adjunct professor of law at the Brandeis School of Law; Richard C. Cooper, manager of interpretive services at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and Harpers’ Weekly scholar; Stephen George, editor of LEO, a weekly newsprint publication serving the Louisville Metro area; and John Faulkner, director of community relations for the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.

Since its creation in 1972, the Kentucky Humanities Council, with the assistance of the National Endowment for the Humanities and private contributions, has supported public programs in the humanities throughout the Commonwealth. These programs include, but are not limited to, conferences, lectures, radio and television productions, exhibits, teacher training and development of curricular materials, interpretive programs for festivals, book discussions, and planning for future projects.

For information about this event or Portland Museum, located at 2308 Portland Ave., Louisville, Ky., click here. For more information about applying for a minigrant through the Kentucky Humanities Council, visit our grant introduction page. For information about KHC’s programs and services, click here.

23
Oct
09

Listening to gourds

By Jonna Spelbring Priester

Once, a customer looking at one of Lynn Horine’s pine needle baskets was puzzled.

“Is that leather?”

Bedford resident Lynn Horine working on a pine-needle gourd basket. Photo by Jonna Spelbring Priester

Bedford resident Lynn Horine working on a pine-needle gourd basket. Photo by Jonna Spelbring Priester

No, Horine told the customer. It’s a gourd.

“What’s a gourd?”

She’s a country girl now, but Bedford resident Lynn Horine grew up in the city.

Because of her own experiences, she’s not surprised by the questions some of her customers ask.

“I got to thinking back — I spent the first 21 years of my life in a city. I thought milk came from cartons, not cows. The questions aren’t silly, they just don’t know.”

Horine moved to Trimble County from Long Beach, Calif., with husband George 43 years ago. She worked at Bedford Bank several years and then took a position with Wal-Mart, where she unloaded trucks for a living before working her way to assistant manager.

And then suddenly, in 2004, the effects of degenerative disc disease left Horine incapacitated. Overnight, she was bedridden and needed help with the most basic tasks. The disease required three spinal fusion back surgeries, which themselves resulted in a small stroke.

Continue reading ‘Listening to gourds’

23
Oct
09

Multimedia collection at NKU will feature artifacts, photos and stories of tragic Beverly Hills Supper Club fire

By Feoshia Henderson

The night of May 28, 1977, tragically turned the national spotlight on Southgate, Ky., after a deadly blaze ravaged the Beverly Hills Supper Club. It was the third deadliest night club fire in history.

For most, the fancy night club that drew famous acts forever will be synonymous with the horrifying deaths of 165 people, most from northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Sparked by faulty aluminum wiring, the fire historically changed state and federal fire code and inspection standards.

Behind those headlines, however, are the people of the northern Kentucky region, many whose family members, friends or acquaintances died. And 32 years later, memories remain of escaping the chaos, smoke and flames on that dark night. Others have fond remembrances of the club, which hosted special family occasions like wedding and anniversary receptions and birthday parties.

Those stories, and others, are being preserved at Northern Kentucky University’s Steely Library, where a multimedia special collection will capture memories of the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire — the events that followed, the people who died, and those who were left behind.

Continue reading ‘Multimedia collection at NKU will feature artifacts, photos and stories of tragic Beverly Hills Supper Club fire’

23
Oct
09

Images of life: Campbellsville University project catalogs nearly 100,000 images of Taylor County

Country comedian Minnie Pearl mingles with the crowd during homecoming at Campbellsville College in November 1984. Photo courtesy of Central Kentucky News-Journal, Campbellsville University

Country comedian Minnie Pearl mingles with the crowd during homecoming at Campbellsville College in November 1984. Photo courtesy of Central Kentucky News-Journal, Campbellsville University

By Stan McKinney

Crammed into a dozen or so bright yellow boxes, each of which originally contained 500 sheets of 8-by-10-inch photographic paper, are images of life that span two decades in Campbellsville, Ky.

The boxes are stacked in a large metal cabinet and a wooden overhead cupboard. Inside them are dozens of legal size envelopes. And inside each of those are varying numbers of glassine envelopes containing strips of 35mm negatives.

I took all of these photographs between January 1980 and July 2000 when I was the news editor of the Central Kentucky News-Journal. It’s difficult to know exactly how many images are contained within those boxes. Based on the number of rolls of film I usually shot each week, I estimate there are at least 100,000.

The glassine envelopes are acid free. They have provided some protection for the delicate emulsions from time, heat and humidity. The oldest negatives, however, are already showing signs of deterioration.

That’s what concerns me. It is literally a race against time to preserve these images.
Continue reading ‘Images of life: Campbellsville University project catalogs nearly 100,000 images of Taylor County’

23
Oct
09

Being Daniel Boone

By Julie Nelson Harris

There’s no question Scott New is serious about portraying Daniel Boone.

Just walk into the Kentucky County, Va., surveyor’s office at Fort Boonesborough and ask to buy a piece of land.

Especially if you’re a female.

Scott New portrays Daniel Boone for Kentucky Chautauqua. Photo by Alan Meadows

Scott New portrays Daniel Boone for Kentucky Chautauqua. Photo by Alan Meadows

In Daniel Boone’s most gentle, yet direct voice, New reminds the women who enter his cabin to make this transaction alone that in the 1700s, they could not purchase property. Not without their husbands.

“And not one of them has taken offense to it,” said Bill Farmer, living historian at Fort Boonesborough State Historic Site. After all, that’s the way it was in the 18th century — women were not afforded the right to own property. Farmer smiles as he talks about Scott New’s extraordinary effort to make Fort Boonesborough’s visitors feel like they’re living in the year 1775. When Scott began working as a character interpreter at Fort Boonesborough and the Kentucky State Parks system in April, he initiated the surveyor experience: Walk in, buy a piece of property, receive a signed deed from Daniel Boone, and all the while, feel like you’re in the presence of the man himself, learning about the man he really was.
Continue reading ‘Being Daniel Boone’

23
Oct
09

Meet the poet laureate: An interview with Gurney Norman

Gurney Norman was a “mountain kid.”

Born in Grundy, Va., in 1937 and raised in western Virginia and eastern Kentucky, Kentucky’s poet laureate has a unique understanding of the Appalachian region, an understanding that has helped him give back to that area again and again through his labor of love — writing.

Kentucky Poet Laureate Gurney Norman

Kentucky Poet Laureate Gurney Norman

He has produced a number of works focusing on the Appalachian region. His novel Divine Right’s Trip follows a young man who travels from California back to his native Kentucky. Kinfolks is a collection of short stories about a Kentucky mountain family. He has co-edited two anthologies, Confronting Appalachian Stereotypes: Back Talk from an American Region and An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature. He has written and narrated three documentary films about eastern Kentucky’s rivers and trails for KET: “Time on the River,” “From This Valley” and “Wilderness Road.” He is co-author of three screenplays based on stories from the Kinfolks collection: “Fat Monroe,” “Nightride,” and “Maxine.” His forthcoming novella, Ancient Creek, is a contemporary Appalachian folktale.

A graduate of Stuart Robinson School in Letcher County, Norman majored in journalism and English at the University of Kentucky and studied writing at Stanford University as a Stegner Creative Writing Fellow. Thirty years later, he is leading UK’s Creative Writing Program. He serves as advisor to schools and community-based arts groups in Kentucky and the Appalachian region.

Learn more about the 2009-10 poet laureate, who is also a member of the Kentucky Humanities Council’s Speakers Bureau, in his interview with KH.
Continue reading ‘Meet the poet laureate: An interview with Gurney Norman’

23
Oct
09

Yes, they too were Kentuckians: Floyd Collins, cave explorer

By James C. Claypool

The death of Floyd Collins (1887-1925) is said to have constituted one of America’s most sensational media events of the 1920s.

Floyd Collins lived in western Kentucky’s cave region his entire life. He began exploring the extensive cave system in this region as a young man, and in 1925, the year of his tragic death, Collins was considered the foremost authority on the caves and cave systems of western Kentucky. In fact, some have gone so far as to label Collins “the greatest cave explorer ever known.” In 1917, Collins discovered Crystal Cave, which was located at the edge of the vast Mammoth Cave system, a discovery the Collins family tried to turn into a commercial enterprise. However, attendance at Crystal Cave was disappointingly low. In the hope that he might be able to uncover a new entrance to the area’s cave systems and thereby generate a new spark of interest in Crystal Cave, Floyd entered a nearby sandstone cave on Jan. 30, 1925. While crawling through a narrow crawlway that ran 55 feet below the surface, Collins became trapped and would remain so for 13 highly melodramatic days until he died from starvation and exposure.
Continue reading ‘Yes, they too were Kentuckians: Floyd Collins, cave explorer’