FRANKFORT — A renovated Kentucky Military History Museum at the State Arsenal will reopen to the public with a ceremony at 2 p.m. EST on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11. The museum at 125 East Main St. in downtown Frankfort is operated by the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs.
The Kentucky Historical Society’s “Kentucky Military Treasures” exhibition will be on display in the reopened museum. In addition to artifacts, the exhibition features stories of Kentuckians who fought in battles spanning nearly 200 years of conflicts – from the War of 1812 to more recent engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq.
To date, nearly $1.5 million has been allocated to the renovation project, funded by the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs, the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation and the Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund. By the time the restoration is complete, which is expected in 2013, the project will have cost over $2 million. The goal of the project is to restore the building – as closely as possible – to its original appearance.
Constructed in 1850, the State Arsenal is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. During its long history before becoming the Kentucky Military History Museum in 1974, the building had been used as a storage facility and as a warehouse for the Kentucky State Guard’s military equipment and munitions. During the Civil War, it housed a cartridge factory that employed many women and was a point of defense for the capital city. In 1933, a fire destroyed the roof and damaged the second floor.
Work on the current renovation began on the interior in November 2007 and has included an upgrade to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system; masonry repair; iron bars that had been added to the building sometime in the 1920s were removed; window trim returned to its original color; and wood floors restored. By the Nov. 11 reopening, much of the interior work will be completed.
Work on the historic building has been guided by the firm John Milner Associates Inc. under the direction of lead architect Christopher Quirk. Early next year and into 2013, attention will turn to the exterior.
The State Arsenal was originally painted gray and will be returned to that color. Shutters will be returned to the building, as will a large flagpole that was once situated on the roof.