Kentucky State Reformatory staff, inmates design & build commemo - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Kentucky State Reformatory staff, inmates design & build commemorative museum exhibit

(Source: Kentucky Department of Corrections) (Source: Kentucky Department of Corrections)
(Source: Kentucky Department of Corrections) (Source: Kentucky Department of Corrections)
(Source: Kentucky Department of Corrections) (Source: Kentucky Department of Corrections)
FRANKFORT, KY (KFVS) -

Visitors to the Oldham County Historical Society’s Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum will get a look behind the walls of the state prison many view as the most noted landmark in the area, the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR).

The museum’s executive director contacted prison officials and asked them if they wanted an exhibit at the museum.

“We jumped at the idea,” Warden Aaron Smith said. “We were literally given a blank slate and we challenged our inmates and staff to come up with a design. For years, people have passed by on Highway 146 and see the large tower, but few have any idea of what goes on behind that tower. Now, by visiting the museum, they can get a glimpse of life behind bars and learn about the prison’s rich history.”

Construction of KSR began in 1936 and the prison opened three years later as the third state prison. It currently is the largest of Kentucky’s state prisons with 1,730 inmates. It houses all custody levels of inmates and is the primary medical and mental health facility for inmates.

The exhibit is a tribute to the prison’s significant role in the community. It is located on the second floor of the museum and a full room is devoted to the exhibit. It features a 3-D replica of the front façade of the prison complete with the large stone Gothic-style tower many associate with KSR.

“Many of the pieces were designed and built by the inmates,” Smith said. “We have some incredibly talented individuals behind these walls and this was an opportunity for them to showcase their talent.”

Two KSR staff, Unit Administrators Danny Perry and John Hall, were instrumental in completion of the exhibit as well and devoted numerous hours to see the project through to its completion.

The Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum will open to the public on Saturday, January 7 at 10 a.m. Staff from KSR will be on hand to distribute 200 teddy bears donated by Luther Luckett Correctional Complex’ bear program.

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