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My Old Kentucky Home and the Derby

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If it’s been a few years since you’ve toured My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, KY, it’s time to plan a return visit. The lace gloves have come off and this 19th century mansion is now abuzz with new interactive programming, singing hoop-skirted tour guides, and active tour options.


 

My Old Kentucky Home and the Derby

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If it’s been a few years since you’ve toured My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, KY, it’s time to plan a return visit. The lace gloves have come off and this 19th century mansion is now abuzz with new interactive programming, singing hoop-skirted tour guides, and active tour options.

 

 

Called Federal Hill by Judge John Rowan, the mansion’s original owner, the iconic and historic plantation is surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds that encompass a Visitor Center and gift shop with made-in-Kentucky artisan items, an 18-hole golf course, and the J. Dan Talbott Amphitheatre. During the summer, visitors can catch “The Stephen Foster Story,” a splashy Broadway-style musical, under the stars.

 

 

More familiarly known as My Old Kentucky Home, a name inspired by Foster’s abolitionist-inspired ballad, the mansion is hosting a new exhibit tour just in time for Kentucky’s most famous sporting event.

 

 

Opening April 18 and running through May 31, “The Race Is On” features Kentucky Derby traditions and shows the connection between the mansion and the “greatest two minutes in sports.”

 

 

The Rowan family ventured into the world of horse racing during the early 19th century. According to Matthew Bailey, director at My Old Kentucky Home, John Rowan’s horses – Rifle, Magnatia and Slipper – were sired by the most famous foundation bloodlines in horse racing. (There are photos of them in the house.)

 

 

“In fact, every horse that has run the Kentucky Derby for decades has the same bloodlines coursing through their veins,” said Bailey.

 

 

Visitors will see movie pieces from the 2010 Disney movie, “Secretariat”; jockey silks from Kentucky’s winningest horse farms; fanciful ladies Derby hats; a collection of original coin-silver family julep cups; and a Kentucky Derby trophy.

 

 

Other exhibit tours planned for the calendar at My Old Kentucky Home include “A House Divided,” Sept. 1-30, which explores realities of the Civil War era; “Weep No More, Victorian Funeral Customs,” Oct. 1-31; “Shadows of Federal Hill,” Oct. 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29, featuring ghost stories of My Old Kentucky Home; and “An Old Kentucky Christmas Carol,” Dec. 7-9, where visitors can see Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” acted out in the mansion.

 

 

Additionally, My Old Kentucky Home will be implementing new visitor experiences with its regular summer tours, such as demonstration cooking in the mansion’s kitchen. Visit the website for these program updates.

 

 

Plan Your Visit

 

 

My Old Kentucky Home, 501 E. Stephen Foster Avenue, Bardstown, KY; www.visitmyoldkyhome.com, 502-348-3502. Mansion Tours are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Each tour concludes with guides in period dress performing the song, “My Old Kentucky Home.” Gift shop hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission: $10/adults; $9/seniors; $8/ages 13-18; $7/ages 6-12; free for children 5 and under; $5/military. All special exhibits are included in the regular admission.

 

 

For information about visiting Bardstown, visit www.visitbardstown.com.

 

 

Kathy Witt

 

 

PHOTOS

 

Civil War soldiers who saw Federal Hill and knew the song, “My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night,” which was published in 1853, are credited with calling it “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Photo: My Old Kentucky Home

 

Learn about One of the earliest of mixed cocktails on My Old Kentucky Home’s Julep Tour.

Photo: My Old Kentucky Home

 

As is tradition, tours of Federal Hill end with a live performance of the song, “My Old Kentucky Home,” by talented and carefully selected and trained guides.

Photo: My Old Kentucky Home

 

April 28, 2017

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