May 23, 2018 | By: Katie Pratt
Williamsburg, Ky.

An art exhibit is helping people in one southern Kentucky city gain a deeper connection to their history and to each other.

The exhibit, ARTifacts: 20 Decades of Whitley County, was designed by Cortney Moses, fine arts extension agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. It is one of several bicentennial events occurring this year throughout the county. The exhibit features loaned items that have a connection to the county’s businesses, families and culture. Pieces include everything from century-old quilts to railroad lanterns to wooden toys.

“We wanted items that represented Whitley County and that had a history and a story behind them,” Moses said. “It has been really fun to have people come in and start conversations about the history of their family and share their memories. What is so interesting about this exhibit is that everyone can relate to it.”

In all, more than 30 individuals and businesses provided items to the exhibit that is displayed throughout Whitley County Extension’s Community Arts Center in downtown Williamsburg.

Jim Moss, a retired surgeon and Whitley County Fine Arts Extension Council member, loaned several colonial items to the exhibit including wooden vessels and Native American relics.

“One of the things that I appreciate about the exhibit is I grew up in the community and I didn’t have much exposure to farming, so a lot of these older farming implements are new to me,” said the Williamsburg native. “Other aspects of life, even during my lifetime, like dresses made out of flour sacks and flour sack material and homemade toys, are just fascinating. It has given me a deeper insight into my own origin and pride in my heritage.”

Moses, who is also from Whitley County, said the exhibit has been professionally and personally enriching.

“Through this project, I met new people who didn’t even know about Cooperative Extension,” she said. “I have also learned more about the history of Whitley County, the businesses here and more about the history of my own family.”

The free exhibit is open weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is on display through June 29.

The UK Cooperative Extension Service is part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Jointly with its land-grant partner, Kentucky State University, Cooperative Extension takes the university to the people in their local communities, addressing issues of importance to all Kentuckians.

Click here for the video.

Contact: 

Cortney Moses, 606-549-1430

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