It’s Been a Long, Fun Summer

Well, my friends, our summer at Locust Grove has come to an end and we are looking forward to a busy and beautiful autumn! From Independence Day to the Historic Wedding to Hemp Festival to Cultural Pass to our daily tours, we enjoyed seeing each and every one of you who visited with us this summer! You can relive  the events of the summer in the blog archives, but here are some highlights.
Over five hundred children and their parents joined us for Cultural Pass on Sundays and Mondays to tour the house, check out the outbuildings, wander the grounds, and play games with us! A special thanks to Heather, Noah, and Jocelyn H., who volunteered their time and expertise to inform and entertain our guests every weekend this summer! Noah and Jocelyn portrayed Charles Croghan and Eloise Bullitt and engaged our guests in nineteenth-century games and conversation topics while Heather loaned her extensive games collection and monitored many a spirited rolling hoop race!

The Hiner family heading to the house for Cultural Pass fun!


Jocelyn (as Eloise Bullitt) explains the finer points of hoop rolling.


Noah (as Charles Croghan) contemplates the benefits of a 19th-century education.

Heather demonstrates making cornhusk dolls!

Heather demonstrates making cornhusk dolls!

As summer has drawn to a close, we’ve also said goodbye to our three wonderful interns–Sarah, Bailey, and Melissa! Their projects have added a great deal to our collections and our interpretation, but don’t take my word for it! Here are their own words about their experiences.
Bailey works on inventory in the woodshop.

Bailey works on inventory in the woodshop.

“I’ve had some trial and error (and ultimate success) in terms of formulating an efficient system to reconcile information from the physical collection of artifacts with information in the museum’s database. In a different vein, while I’m still probably more afraid than most when it comes to insects and squirrels, I have had to confront and conquer these hindrances in order to successfully do my project here.
Some of my favorite moments at LG have been witnessing how visitors connect American history to their personal histories. For example, while in the Woodshop I would often hear statements along the lines of: “My grandparents had an old shop just like this! The smell alone brings back great memories from childhood.” Or, “Wow, that’s an impressive collection of planes! I used to use some similar to those.” In those moments, I was given tangible examples of the importance of my project (inventorying the collection). For me, it’s easy to get into a solitary routine where I, obviously, understand the importance of my project from a curatorial standpoint. But, being able to interact and hear personal tidbits from visitors really made the project dynamic and especially meaningful.” –Bailey M.
Melissa works on a sewing project as a demonstration during Cultural Pass.

Melissa works on a sewing project as a demonstration during Cultural Pass.

“I had such a fantastic time as an intern at Locust Grove this summer that it is hard for me to put it into words! Brian, the program coordinator, and I worked very closely in order to plan and facilitate events such as the Historical Picnic and Wedding, Hemp Festival, Party like it’s 1922, and many more. I’m just thrilled that I was able to be a part of the LG team and can’t wait for all of the awesome things to come (hint: they contain whiskey and food!) My time at LG has given me the confidence to run into my graduate program at the University of Cincinnati headfirst, and I cannot wait to see where the future will take me!“–Melissa A.
Sarah leads the house tour she developed about Dr. John Croghan.

Sarah leads the house tour she developed about Dr. John Croghan.

“I absolutely loved this internship. If I had another chance to do it again, I definitely would. The hardest part about this project was finding primary sources to match wonderful secondary leads. One of my favorite finds was finding the article, “Remarkable Phenomenon.” This article is about John and his salt lick business hitting oil near the Cumberland River.The easiest thing about this internship was the people I worked with. Everyone at Locust Grove is so nice and interesting. This aspect about my internship is probably what I’ll miss the most. I loved hearing stories from volunteers about their life.” –Sarah H.

Our summer staff person, Samantha H., also completed a wonderful archaeology exhibit for us in the Surveyor’s Office! It is on display now, so stop by to see some of the pieces that were found on the grounds!


Our first field trip of the school year!

The return of fall means students join us for school tours and field trips. We’ve already welcomed several classes for our Pioneer tours and Craft Samplers, and we look forward to welcoming even more in the upcoming months! More information about school tours can be found here.As we prepare for field trips, autumn events, and visitors from near and far, we’ve also been taking the time to make some repairs to the house. Here’s Lorraine carefully mending the worn places on the woven carpet that covers our stair treads. Each spot takes about six hours to complete, so we are incredibly lucky to have her skill and patience at work in our house.

Thanks for all of your great work, Lorraine!

Thanks for all of your great work, Lorraine!

We’ve had such fun playing this summer, and we’re looking forward to the fun continuing into the fall! Program Manager Brian Cushing had this to say about our summer events:

“We cast a wide net variety wise in order to find out what, exactly, it is that people want to come to Locust Grove to do. Our three most popular categories, hands down, were special theater performances, interactive/hands-on historical experiences, and Bourbon. Luckily, these are three things that we have the most fun bringing to people! This will likely guide the formation of new special programming going forward so  we can create series of programs that we know our visitors will value. We have laid the groundwork for a new wave of partnerships between Locust Grove and Kentucky Shakespeare and we are taking stock in the range of period trade centered historical experiences we have the capacity to offer. We also have some great connections here at Locust Grove with the Bourbon community, Susan Reiglar having been its biggest champion here, and will try to give life to every sort of experience we can think of.

I also want to mention our First Person Interpreters and living history demonstrators. They were more out in force this Summer than ever before and consistently grabbed the attention of visitors and delivered history to them in the interactive, engaging, moldable way that the modern museum audience requires. They have formed into a remarkable team and deliver an incredibly professional product, even though the corps is 100% volunteer. They are also only ever committed to making it better. We are looking at a solid cornerstone for the future of the Locust Grove experience here.”

As always, you can find our full calendar of events here, but now, we want to hear from you! If you attended one of our summer events, whether it was a Thursday night lecture on beer or a Sunday afternoon at Cultural Pass or Antiques Market, please tell us about your experiences! What did you enjoy this summer? What would you like to see more of here at Locust Grove?  We also love seeing pictures and  hearing stories of your time with us, so find us on social media, send us an email at, or use the contact form below.  And if you have any ideas about what you’d like to see on this blog, I am always open to suggestions! History is about everyone!

Yours sincerely,


Locust Grove and the Artifacts of History: Meet our Archaeology Intern

As you’ve no doubt realized, we have an incredible team working behind the scenes at Locust Grove. Today, we’re talking with Sammi Hagan, Archaeology intern. Sammi just graduated from the University of Kentucky in May with a BA in Anthropology. Her focus was in archaeology and classical studies and she’s also very interested in South American archaeology as well as Cultural Anthropology.While she applies for graduate programs in anthropology, we’ve been lucky to have her working on an archaeology exhibit here at Locust Grove. Let’s see what’s she’s been up to!

Meet Sammi Hagan!

Meet Sammi Hagan!

What drew you to work at Locust Grove? 
 I actually didn’t know much about Kentucky or even Louisville history before working at LG so working here seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn more about Kentucky’s past and the important people that lived in Louisville and helped make it the awesome place to live that it is today. Plus it was a chance to work with people just as invested in history as I am!
What are you working on right now? 
 Currently I’m working with our archivist Kaitlyn on completing the inventory of the collection in the house and updating the database that has all the information about every item displayed Locust Grove. We are uploading new pictures, updating the location and status of everything in the house. I’m also working on finishing an exhibit using the archaeological collection. It’s about the Surveyor’s cabin built in the middle of the formal garden here at Locust Grove during the Croghan family era and includes some of the artifacts found in 1997 during the field school excavation in that area.
The surveyor's cabin exhibit at Locust Grove is a focal point of Sammi's project.

The surveyor’s cabin exhibit at Locust Grove is a focal point of Sammi’s project.

What does your typical day look like? 
 I don’t really have a “typical” day here at LG. I split my time a lot between the archaeology facility down at UofL where our collection is curated and Locust Grove. If I’m not at the lab I usually come in to LG around 11 and work on the inventory with Kaitlyn. Then when Kaitlyn is gone I research some about the artifacts I’ve picked to display and work on how I’m planning to display it.
What’s been your most interesting discovery? 
 I can’t remember exactly when this happened but one of the archaeologists LG works with is Phil DiBlasi at UofL and he told me once they used a tornado to find a feature at Locust Grove. They looked at a record of a tornado that had cut through Locust Grove’s Property and apparently hit a barn in it’s path. Then they used knowledge of tornados and the way they behave to figure out the exact path and ended up finding archaeological evidence of a barn in that way. I’ve never heard of doing archaeology through meteorology like that but apparently it works!
Has anything frustrated you in your work here at Locust Grove?
 One thing that has frustrated me about this project is just the sheer size of the archaeological collection. There are literally tens of thousands of artifacts that have been excavated at Locust Grove throughout the years and only a TINY fraction of them are on display already. So going through the whole collection and trying to narrow it down to just a few things to display was really difficult, especially when I didn’t start with a topic already in mind.
What is your favorite item in the collection? 
There’s so many things to choose from!! But my favorite item in the archaeological collection is a tie between a piece of pottery with a colorful design painted on it that looks like the style from the colonial period and a box of tons of leather shoes, some whole and some in pieces.

A shard of pottery in the Locust Grove collection.

What do you like best about Locust Grove? 
 I love the way Locust Grove makes history really come alive. The house is set up so well it looks like the Croghan’s are just away on vacation. The amount of personal detail they use in setting up the exhibits makes it really fun to imagine you are actually there in 1809.
Why should people care about archaeology?
That’s a dangerous question to ask me! I am extremely passionate about archaeology because I think it’s really important in understanding who we are. It tells us where we came from and how we got to where we are today. Archaeology fills in the parts that history might leave out like telling us what slave life was like or what women did on a daily basis in different ancient civilizations. Many times history was written by the affluent men in a society because they were typically the only literate ones so they tended to gloss over or completely leave out information about the less privileged groups in society and archaeology helps to bring those people back into history by using the material culture they left behind. Not to mention it’s really fun to get dirty and live out your Indiana Jones fantasies.
A leather shoe from the archaeological collection.

A leather shoe from the archaeological collection.

Why should people visit Locust Grove?
 People should visit Locust Grove because it’s an exciting chance to sort of go back in time and experience history in a way that’s more fun than reading it out of a book. Also because the Clark and Croghan families did so much collectively for our country when we were just starting out and there’s so much to learn about them.
What’s next for you?
I’m going on a trip in the spring to South America and can’t wait to see some of the Inca ruins and also do some volunteering with a community development organization in Peru.
Sammi adds, “I have loved my time here at Locust Grove and I’m only bummed it’s ending so soon!” Thanks for all your hard work, Sammi! We’ll miss having you, and we’ll work on getting you a hat like Indiana Jones!
Stay tuned for news of Sammi’s exhibit by following Locust Grove on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. And if you’ve visited us recently, please take a moment and leave us a review on TripAdvisor! We’d love to know what you thought!
And don’t forget–Market Fair is this Saturday and Sunday from 10-4:30. Come back to the blog on Friday for a brief preview of the excitement!
 Until then, I remain your faithful servant,