Welcome to the Cynthiana Harrison County Museum!
The Cynthiana Harrison County Museum first opened its doors in July 1994. Housed in the historic Rohs Movie Theatre on S. Walnut St. the museum is a step back in time displaying nearly 3000 artifacts showcasing the community’s Military, Education, and Agricultural Histories. Rooms are also devoted to items from childhood, daily life, local industry, and the town’s churches, police and fire departments.
Our museum exists to preserve, display, maintain and share artifacts of historical significance. It provides a “snapshot” into the past. The Cynthiana Harrison County Trust Inc. established the museum to provide a place where the tangible history of this small town Kentucky community could reside.
Friday & Saturday 10am - 4pm
or by Appointment - Call 859-234-7179
124 South Walnut Street Cynthiana, Kentucky
4000 Sq. Ft. of Display Space Showcasing Over 3500 Artifacts!
This is a Mortician's "Cooling Table" and was used by undertakers for preparing bodies for burial. It was also used by field doctors during the Civil War for emergency amputations. The 'bed of the table is perforated with holes for the drainage of body fluids.
Our Museum's tool section is filled with hand hewn tools and implements used by local farmers, machinists, carpenters, and those of other professions. Come see how the tools from the past were made and used.
One of the Museum's prized artifacts are the more than 100 letters sent by Harrison county resident William Jones to his wife Mary while he was fighting for the Union during the Civil War. The hand written letters dated from 1864 have been transcribed into a binder and are available for reading. The letters discuss everything from his episodes on the battlefield to the loss of friends, and the love for his wife. A real treasure.
We are always receiving new artifacts in the museum. Here are a few recent acquisitions and newly displayed items.
Apothecary Saddle Bags (Circa 1820-1900)
made by the J.M McGeod Trunks & Co.
Shillings & Dollars with signatures
Leather Satchels with internal drawers for keeping medications
Exhibit Relocations Improve Museum Experience
In an effort to improve the overall experience of viewing related artifacts in the Cynthiana Harrison County Museum a good deal of reorganization has been taking place in the last months. We have relocated all of the housewares to it's own area and moved our physicians and medical artifacts to a single area of the museum in order to better reference associated physicians and artifacts in the collection more completely.
Artifacts from County Physicians, Pharmacists and Harrison Memorial Hospital have all been relocated to one area of the museum.
Housewares are all on display in a new area in the museum. From cooking and baking to washing and ironing the museum's housewares display features many artifacts from 'days gone by'.
After the American Revolutionary War began in 1775, the Continental Congress began issuing paper money known as Continental currency, or Continentals. Continental currency was denominated in dollars from $1⁄6 to $80, including many odd denominations in between. During the Revolution, Congress issued $241,552,780 in Continental currency.
The Continental Currency dollar was valued relative to the states' currencies at the following rates:
5 shillings – Georgia
321⁄2 shillings – South Carolina
Continental currency depreciated badly during the war, giving rise to the famous phrase "not worth a continental". A primary problem was that monetary policy was not coordinated between Congress and the states, which continued to issue bills of credit. Congress and the states lacked the will or the means to retire the bills from circulation through taxation or the sale of bonds. Another problem was that the British successfully waged economic warfare by counterfeiting Continentals on a large scale. Benjamin Franklin later wrote:
The artists they employed performed so well that immense quantities of these counterfeits which issued from the British government in New York, were circulated among the inhabitants of all the states, before the fraud was detected. This operated significantly in depreciating the whole mass.
By 1780, the bills were worth 1⁄40 of their face value. Congress attempted to reform the currency by removing the old bills from circulation and issuing new ones, without success. By May 1781, Continentals had become so worthless that they ceased to circulate as money.