New museum at Fort Boonesborough to display rare artifacts

Boonesboro, Kentucky (AP) 9-07

A handwritten note by Daniel Boone and other rare artifacts will be on display when the new museum at Fort Boonesborough State Park opens its doors this weekend.

The grand opening for the museum will be in conjunction with the annual “Siege of Boonesborough” at the re-created fort near the Kentucky River in Madison County.

Along with the note, other items on display include a 1750s vintage smoothbore fowling gun of the type settlers might have carried at Boonesborough; a working 18th-century compass like the ones early Kentucky surveyors used; an iron hatchet head that was found in Boone’s Cave in Jessamine County; and a painting depicting one of the Indian attacks on Fort Boonesborough in the 1770s.

Curator Jerry Raisor said the museum is designed to tell the story of Fort Boonesborough, beginning with the Native Americans who hunted in Kentucky long before white settlers arrived.

Raisor began gathering items for the museum about two years ago, working within a tight $150,000 budget. Some of the items are on loan from their owners, including the smooth-bore fowling piece.

While the new museum will help give visitors a better sense of history, the park would benefit from a larger, freestanding museum that would cost $7 million to $8 million, Raisor said.

Park manager Phil Gray said such a facility could cover not only the history of Fort Boonesborough, but tell about Native Americans, explore Kentucky’s role in the Civil War and other events that have shaped the state.

“We don’t know who we are if we don’t protect and preserve our past,” Raisor said. “We are sorely lacking in that.”

The displays will be about 85 percent completed by the grand opening, but park officials wanted the museum open for the crowds arriving for the Siege of Boonesborough.

The event commemorates the September 1778 attack on Fort Boonesborough by Shawnee Indians led by Chief Black Fish at British direction. Settlers held out inside their ramshackle fort for 10 days, and the Indians eventually withdrew, disillusioned with their English allies.

The park will offer other attractions both days, including demonstrations of cannon-firing and pioneer crafts. The events begin September 19th with the park’s annual “children’s day,” with more than 1,000 youngsters expected from around the area.

Information from:
Lexington Herald-Leader,