Kentucky Museum and Kentucky Folklife Program Launches “Sonic Landscape” Exhibition

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The Kentucky Museum in association with the Kentucky Folklife Program announces the addition of the “Sonic Landscape” exhibition which will celebrate the area’s rich musical heritage. The organizations received a $75,000 grant from the Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) which will support the multiyear exhibition celebrating Southcentral Kentucky’s musical traditions and legacies.

“Though many may think about the music of Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia first, Southcentral Kentucky has its own rich musical legacy,” said Brent Bjorkman, director of the Kentucky Museum and Kentucky Folklife Program. “Our region of the state has been a site of musical exchange and collaboration between and across a plurality of genres and styles for decades. The exhibit will help frame the story of our prideful place in American musical history that is so deserving of recognition and validation.”

The exhibition and website are based on years of oral history interviews and documentation efforts by the Kentucky Folklife Program as well as WKU Folk Studies faculty and students. The project began with initial interviews of regional musicians conducted by then-graduate student Sydney Varajon. In 2018, the project secured National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) funding to further research and create the website as a resource for sharing their ongoing work. The NEA grant also supported an upcoming WKYU-PBS-produced mini docuseries. This evolving story will take center stage in the upcoming exhibit with a preview now available online at

Now, with support from the Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Kentucky Museum and Kentucky Folklife Program will bring the project to life in a physical exhibition set to open in early 2025. The exhibit will feature highlights from the website as well as artifacts, immersive audiovisual stories and numerous photographs and memorabilia not yet seen.

“We are overjoyed to have the CVB’s support in bringing this exhibition to life,” said Bjorkman. “Their investment demonstrates our community’s excitement in this project – both in documenting the region’s rich musical past and present, as well as creating a centerpiece to attract tourism and foster pride in our community.”

If you are interested in supporting this project, please consider making a gift online at

For more information, including information on the exhibition and how to support related concerts and programs, contact Tiffany Isselhardt, Exhibits Curator and Development Coordinator at [email protected]

About the Kentucky Museum

The Kentucky Museum is an integral part of WKU’s campus and the Southcentral Kentucky community. The Museum actively supports the academic and cultural goals of WKU while providing quality educational experiences and opportunities to engage with Kentucky’s heritage and our relevance in a global society. Thanks to the implementation of free admission, the Museum has grown exponentially over the past three years, from 14,000 visitors in 2019 to over 30,000 in 2021, representing a broad swath of Kentucky residents and tourists.

About the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Bowling Green and Warren County, charged with marketing and selling the city as a leisure, sports and meetings destination.

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