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History Harvests in Lexington’s East End

We are pleased to announce two upcoming opportunities to preserve the legacy of African Americans in the horse industry. History Harvests will be held on April 13, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and on May 18, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, at 300 East 3rd Street, Lexington, KY 40508.

At both events, museum staff and volunteers will work side-by-side with community participants who bring their items to the Lyric Theatre to be scanned and photographed. A conversation station and refreshments will encourage attendees to connect with each other and discuss their images, documents, and memorabilia. At the May event, we will have the additional capacity to record oral histories by appointment. To sign up for an oral history time, email [email protected]

Community partners for the event include Phoenix Rising Lex and the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, who are promoting the event in the East End neighborhood. This is a significant spot to hold the History Harvest, as the East End was home to the Kentucky Association racetrack, a source of steady employment for the influx of African Americans into Lexington between 1860-1870. Isaac Murphy is the East End’s legendary hometown hero and his life story represents how the social fabric of this community was woven by the men and women whose livelihoods were directly tied to horses.

Our hope is that long-time residents who have been holding onto stories, memorabilia, and photos will share their treasures so we can all deepen our understanding of American history and race relations. We also want to hear from current equine professionals and bring awareness to career opportunities for African American youth. There are more communities that we look forward to holding additional History Harvests with in the future. We also offer the option of recording oral histories at the museum or visiting you at your home with our equipment.

The idea of History Harvests came from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where computer science and history students collaborated with their state historical society to hold a public event. The Nebraska History Harvest welcomed anyone with items of historical significance and digitized the materials for inclusion in an online exhibit. Their model has been replicated many times and in many places. Kentucky Historical Society held a similar event in Hopkinsville, and advised IMH staff as we began developing our History Harvest plan.

History Harvests are free, public events that are dedicated to uncovering, sharing, and digitizing items of historical significance for inclusion on the Chronicle’s website. All participants will also be given a digital copy of their contributions to keep. The museum does not keep the participant’s items. Only scanned images, digital photographs, or audio recordings will be archived for future use on the website.

If an individual wishes to donate items to the museum, a separate assessment procedure will be followed. For more information, email [email protected]

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.