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The “William Behringer Memorial Museum” opened July 5th, 1950 showing off the collections of a late world traveler. Visitors would see a mounted stuffed life sized black bear, birds, small game, the emblematic Two Headed Calf, American Indian artifacts and other unforgettable “curiosities.”  

Also seen was the elegant streetcar “Kentucky.” Built in 1892, it had just been retired from public use and it has since been restored.  Streetcar lines had connected the river cities--centers of service and heavy industry and multi-ethnic urban life.

Under the first curator, Ellis Crawford, the Museum co-sponsored nearby “digs” which yielded many more artifacts including large “paleo” bones from historic Big Bone Springs.

In the 1979-80 after adding fire safety and restoration components it reopened as the “Behringer Crawford Museum.” Staff and volunteers increased public programming--Junior Curator archeology, arts, crafts, visual and performing arts. Permanent displays showed natural history, archeology, paleontology, mineralogy, “rivers and steamboats,” industry, folk art, politics, frontier home life, the Civil War and Slavery. Special temporary exhibits added other attractions.

A regional Museum, it has documented historic Civil War battery sites in three counties, including those in Devou Park.

In the early 1990s the museum built an outdoor amphitheater where people enjoy an annual Fresh Art auction and a two-month weekly musical concert series. Inside during the holiday season children, parents and grandparents enjoy watching the very popular toy trains and pushing the many interactive electrical buttons.

The region has been hub for Rivers, Roads, Rails and Runways. In the last decade Behringer Crawford added 15,000 square feet--adopting the theme of “Transportation.” Click on the picture below to see the planning of the expansion.

BCM Museum

CoinOther incisive themes include immigration, tourism and entertainment, municipal and regional planning and the local arts heritage. Recent special exhibits included Coaches Corner; Our Greatest Generation;  “I Too Am a Kentuckian” (Lincoln), the Dixie Highway’s Gourmet Strip and archeology for adults and children.
Supplementing text panels, audio visual stations provide a geological “deep-time” overview of Northern Kentucky. The brand new Children’s Garden facilitates archeology programs and the study of Ordovician, prehistoric and native flora and fauna.

The museum meets the standards set by the Americans for Disabilities Act. Newly renovated to better educate and entertain, Behringer Crawford will in 2010 be 60 years old.

-- John Boh, historian

 

 
Behringer-Crawford Museum History