The very scary Carry Nation is part of the Frazier exhibit. | Photo by Sara Havens

The notorious temperance titan Carry Nation — who has taken up residence at the Frazier History Museum since 2015 when the “Spirits of the Bluegrass: Prohibition and Kentucky” exhibit first opened — is taking a trip to Bardstown to represent her ax-wielding role in Prohibition.

In fact, the entire exhibit will be relocating to Bardstown’s Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, and guests can peruse the many artifacts, displays and videos free starting Saturday, May 19.

The Oscar Getz Museum was started in 1984 by the Getz family, who sold their Tom Moore Distillery in Bardstown and decided to dedicated a few rooms to their vast collection of artifacts, documents and whiskey industry memorabilia. The museum is now home to more than 5,000 items.

“Prohibition and Kentucky” | Courtesy of Frazier

“‘Prohibition and Kentucky’ was so popular with the public, we knew this exhibit had to live on beyond its time here at the Frazier,” said Frazier President Penny Peavler in a news release. “With Bardstown’s rich bourbon past and growing Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour experiences, the Oscar Getz Museum is the perfect partner with whom to share this important chapter in Kentucky history.”

The exhibit had to be paired down slightly to accommodate the smaller confines, but it will still feature a bar and some familiar characters like the aforementioned Nation, telling the story of the temperance movement, followed by Prohibition in 1920 and its repeal in 1933.

There also will be a new feature specifically on Bardstown and the city’s role in bootlegging during Prohibition.

“A lot of people made a lot of money running whiskey,” said Dixie Hibbs, a local historian who helped with the project.

“Prohibition and Kentucky” will officially open on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and remain there for a couple of years. And on Thursday, June 14 — aka National Bourbon Day — there will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, complete with a 1920s jazz-era band.

The Oscar Getz Museum is located inside Spalding Hall in Bardstown. | Courtesy of Oscar Getz Museum

The museum is located in Spalding Hall, an antebellum brick building that served as a hospital during the Civil War. And at the insistence of the Getz family, admissions is free.

Of course, the Frazier is already working hard to fill the space formerly held by the exhibit.

On Aug. 25, it’ll open both the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center as well as a new “Spirit of Kentucky” exhibit that will act as visual guide to the history, craft and culture of the bourbon industry.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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