Since opening its doors in the fall of 2003, the Hardin County History Museum has been
collecting and preserving artifacts, documents and other memorabilia that tells the story of Hardin County from its early Indian inhabitants to modern times. Through a variety of permanent and rotating exhibits, as well as speakers, tours and promotions, the history museum strives to promote knowledge and appreciation for area heritage.
Pioneer relics form a collective memory of cabin life in the wilderness of the Kentucky frontier. Various panels depict the evolution of the counties carved from the frontier of Kentucky County, Virginia that became a state in its own right and settled by the influx of westward travelers after the War of Revolution.
Today, more than 200 years after the first white settlers made their home in the area we know as Hardin County, the gathering, preserving and displaying objects honoring the area’s founders and inhabitants as well as their lives and achievements is presented in a premier collection of artifacts housed at the museum.
We invite you to visit and enjoy a journey through time.
Community Relevance & Benefits
The Hardin County History Museum strives to reach more and more citizens with local history and cultural programs and introduce them to the Museum as a cultural resource. A major goal of the Museum is to enhance and expand exhibits and programs while aggressively marketing them to increase usage of the Museum by attracting new audiences.
The benefits the Museum provides to the citizens includes promoting an awareness of Hardin County’s rich and diverse historic and cultural heritage through free and inexpensive experiences. The Museum provides educational programs and exhibits to help community members learn about their county and its place in the development of the State of Kentucky. By learning from the past, the current and future citizens will have a better understanding of the future as well as a greater pride in their community. With our free admissions policy, we make the Museum accessible to all, regardless of their financial status.
Tues – Sat 10 AM to 2 PM
Closed on major holidays, including Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day
Inclement Weather Policy
In order to fulfill its mission, the Hardin County History Museum will make every reasonable effort to open to the public as scheduled, consistent with safe access for public and volunteer staff.
Inclement weather can cause transportation problems and locally hazardous conditions with possible power outages and icy road conditions. To facilitate the safety of museum customers/volunteer staff, the Hardin County History Museum’s inclement weather policy will be, to close the museum at any time the that the either Hardin County School System closes or the Elizabethtown Independent School District closes due to hazardous weather conditions. This policy applies to museum customers/volunteer staff.
No Charge for Admission
Parking for persons with disabilities, who have a valid state issues disability-parking permit, is located in the parking lot behind the Museum, nearest the ramp to the back door.
Ongoing Volunteers are needed at the Hardin County History Museum. The Hardin County History Museum is always looking for dedicated volunteers to assist with tours, special events, historical research, office work, and programs. If you are flexible, energetic, and enthusiastic about Hardin County and Kentucky history, then we just might be the place for you. The Hardin County History Museum has several volunteer opportunities, and we would love to match our needs with your skills. If you are interested in serving your community as a volunteer at the Hardin County History Museum, click on the following Volunteer Application link, open, download, complete, and bring into the Hardin County History Museum with I.D, to be attached to the application. (Don’t forget referrals). The following form can be opened by Free Adobe Reader. If you do not have Adobe Reader, you may find the link, to download, at the bottom of the main HCHM Main Page.
Docents. Docents lead tours of the Museum for schoolchildren and other groups. This is a perfect opportunity for those who love working with children and enjoying public speaking. Docents must be willing to provide at least one tour per week (approximately 2 hours) during the school year. Tours are scheduled on weekday mornings and afternoons.
Gallery Guides. Gallery Guides work on weekends and during special events to ensure that, our visitors can easily navigate the Museums. You’ll receive special training on how to present exhibits and engage visitors. Gallery Guides must be willing to work at least one weekend day a month, for approximately 2-4 hours at a time.
Special Events Volunteers. Special Events Volunteers are outgoing, high-energy people who love engaging with our visitors during special events. Volunteers in this area register and greet guests, assist with activities for children and adults, work our fundraisers and parties, and more. Programs are often scheduled in the evening and on weekends.
Clerical and Administrative Volunteers. Clerical and Administrative Volunteers help Society staff with special projects or
ongoing tasks. Most of these volunteer opportunities are on weekdays. Some opportunities are project-oriented and time-specific,
while other opportunities are ongoing.
Historical and Archival Research Volunteers. Volunteers in this area help our curatorial and collections team with tasks ranging from cataloguing artifacts to conducting exhibition research. Most of these assignments are on weekdays and training is provided. Please note: these volunteer opportunities are primarily at the Hardin County History Museum.
Carpentry, Painting, Repair, and Maintenance Volunteers. If you’re handy and inclined to help, the Hardin County History Museum needs you. Put your skills and talents to use making sure that the Hardin County History Museum look as good as they possibly can for our visitors. Opportunities are available on weekdays and weekends.
Marketing/Public Relations Volunteers. Marketing/Public Relations Volunteers help spread the word about the Society’s programs, exhibits, and events. Opportunities are primarily at the Hardin County History Museum and during weekdays, although from time to time special projects might be completed on weekends and weeknights.
There are many ways you can support the Hardin County History Museum. Individual support makes up 23% percentage of our annual operating budget-- meaning that supporters like you play an essential role in helping us to preserve and share local history. Your tax-deductible charitable gift helps to support exhibitions, the archives, educational programming, and the preservation of the collections for current and future generations.
Thank you to our supporters for helping the museum meets its mission of research, teaching, and collecting.
Donations or Loans
Interested in making a donation? The Hardin County History Museum depends on the generosity of people like you to enhance our collections. While the museum does not accept "unsolicited donations" or "drop-offs”, we are happy to work with you to schedule time to evaluate your potential donation. In general, the best thing to do is to send an email or letter to the Curator or Collections Manager, along with photographs and descriptions of the offered material.
Loans are temporary transfers of objects from one institution to another in which there is no transfer of ownership. The Museum sends and receives loans for the purposes of exhibition, research (including destructive sampling, conservation, or study), or education. The Hardin County History Museum will exercise the same care of objects received on loan as it does in safekeeping its own objects. If you are interested in donating or loaning, click on, open, download, complete, and click on the email button at the bottom of the attached Hardin County History Museum Temporary Tag for Gifts and Loans form. Gifts and Loans Form.pdf
Lending and borrowing objects and specimens for exhibition, research, and educational purposes is an integral part of
any museum’s mission to make their collections accessible to the widest possible audience.
When you join the museum family, you can take pride in knowing that you help make our research, education programs, and exhibits possible. Membership has its benefits…
Membership has its rewards...and there is a level that is right for you.
Annual Membership Level and Incentives
$25.00 John Shields Level - Membership Card, HCHM Mug, 10% discount on purchases, E-Newsletter
$50.00 Martin Cofer Level - Membership Card, HCHM (Mug, Lapel Pin), 10% discount on purchases and events, E-Newsletter
$100.00 Carl Brashear Level - Membership Card, HCHM (Mug, Lapel Pin, Cap), 10% discount on purchases and events, E-Newsletter
$500.00 John Helm Level - Membership Card, HCHM (Mug, Lapel Pin, Cap, Shirt), 10% discount on purchases and Events, E-Newletter, your name added to the donors plaque in the museum lobby
$1,000.00 Abraham Lincoln Level - Membership Card, HCHM (Mug, Lapel Pin, Cap, Shirt), Lincoln’s In Kentucky DVD, 10% discount on purchases and events, your name added to the donors plaque in the museum lobby
Members are invited to attend field trips and a Quarterly lunch or dinner at a group discounted rate. Hardin County History Museum is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Thank you in advance for considering membership to the Hardin County History Museum. We look forward to welcoming you to the community of supporters that enable the museum to remain as Central Kentucky's premier history museum.
If you are interested in becoming a member, click on, open, download, complete, and click on the email button at the bottom of the
The Hardin County History Museum is utilizing collection resources and expertise to provide families with assistance in genealogical research. Our Genealogy Programs consist of workshops, lectures, children's camps, and other offerings to strengthen families and build family histories.
Ancestral Trails Historical Society, Inc (ATHS)
ATHS is co-located within the Hardin County History Museum. This is a regional genealogical and historical society with national membership. It was formed "to bring together persons who are researching history and genealogy and to share ideas, information, research methods, and ractices". We work with local officials and other organizations to preserve cemeteries, historic buildings, public records, and historical and/or genealogical collections. Our focus is on the following ten Kentucky counties: Breckinridge, Bullitt, Edmonson, Grayson, Hardin, Hart, Jefferson, LaRue, Meade, Nelson, and Harrison in Indiana. Historical or genealogy presentations are available to groups or organizations upon request.
Summer History Camp Program
Don’t miss this opportunity for your child to experience three fun-filled days of activities, crafts games and more that can only be found at the HCHM. Let our amazing collections spark inquiry and creativity for your young learners. The HCHM Summer Camp Program offer kids an exciting and interactive experience where they use their imaginations, exercise their creativity and discover the history of the Civil War and the local area. Campers explore the session’s theme through a diverse array of hands-on activities, games, crafts, collaborative projects, and investigations of the museum’s exhibits. If you or your child would like to be apart of history, click on the following History Camp Application below. Just print the application, complete, and bring it by the museum during regular business hours.
--Registration will begin in May 2019--
FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE HCHM UPCOMING EVENTS
Bill Hogan's 1819 Harper's Ferry Rifle at the museum Family Bible of Benjamin Hardin (1784-1852)
Names in the Family Bible of Benjamin Hardin
The Hardin County History Museum offers a variety of opportunities for groups to enjoy their visit. We offer a wide array of educational programs, guided and self guided tours, special opportunities such as behind-the-scenes tours and more. Complete the attached application and call us today so that we can create a package designed specifically for your group’s needs.
Personalized tours are a wonderful way to get the most out of your museum visit. A private Museum visit is ideal for your book club, garden club, birthday party, school trip or corporate event. Make the Hardin County History Museum experience part of your school year! The Museum is currently accepting appointment requests for guided and self-guided visits.
Please note that appointments are required for all school groups visiting the Museum.