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KY Cultural Sites See Uptick in Local Interest, Visitation

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Tuesday, February 22, 2022   

Amid the pandemic, Kentuckians have shown more interest in local attractions as they stick closer to home, and museums and cultural centers say they're responding to the demand.

Local venues are working to increase educational experiences and accessibility.

Chris Joslin, executive director of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Museum in Owensboro, said people have participated in music lessons, concerts and jam sessions, all without having to leave home.

"Folks have been looking for opportunities to engage in some adventures that are enriching, but still a little closer to home; that don't require perhaps a flight or long travel," Joslin observed.

Last year, the museum received a $15,000 grant from AARP to upgrade its tour experience with a user-friendly audio guide. AARP Kentucky said this year, local nonprofit groups and government agencies can apply for its Community Challenge grants, now through March 22. The grants are made for quick-action projects to make communities more livable.

Joslin explained the museum used the funding to develop a hand-held audio guide of its core exhibit areas. He noted the device also has a sign-language option for visitors with hearing impairments.

"As you're going through the museum, this is ideal for those who are vision impaired, or low literacy, or let's say someone who is not ambulatory," Joslin outlined. "A lot of the labels, a lot of the narrative, is at eye-level. So, this enables those folks to really get an enhanced, guided tour."

Joslin added many residents are picking up traditional music as a result of the museum's work.

"And we find that a lot of those folks then discover ways they can engage on an ongoing basis with the broader work of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Museum," Joslin noted. "We see them coming back, and we just love that."

AARP Community Challenge grant projects must be completed by November of this year.

Disclosure: AARP Kentucky contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Senior Issues, and Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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