Throwback Thursday – Tribute to the Kentucky Library’s Special Collections, home of SoKY’s Living Memories

Have you ever wondered how we research the histories we share in throwback Thursday segments? While many of these tales are inspired by people, places, events and legends of southern Kentucky, there is one place we rely on for these artifacts and truths—the Kentucky Library Special Collections Department. 

Viewers have watched segments featuring hundreds of historic images, documents and artifacts. These are all housed in-person in a modest research library on the second floor of the Kentucky Building on Western Kentucky University’s main campus. We’ve shared the history of the eight-decades-old building, and stories about its museum galleries and events. The museum itself would not exist without the memories living within the library walls.

The collection began in the late 1920s with plans to construct the Kentucky building. Dedicated in 1939, it serves as a repository for all things relative to culture and life in Kentucky. It’s grown to include items from all over the world.

The second floor is especially vital to us, as it houses thousands of files and specialty research items, and is currently open by appointment only. Thousands of the images, documents, and artifacts have also been digitally archived, and can be found online from Kentucky Library Special Collections catalog searches.

We look forward to the Kentucky Museum’s public re-opening this winter and the new gallery experiences, but we also want viewers to know these throwback stories could not come to life without the help of the Kentucky Library’s Special Collections archives. It houses the puzzle pieces we use to share our heritage. 

Should you have any questions of your own about Kentucky history or have anything to donate to the archives, visit the Library Special Collections website. You never know what you may find!