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Shelby County Historical Society

Shelby County Historical Society
627 Main Street
Shelbyville, KY 40065

Wednesday-Friday (10AM-4PM)
Saturday (10AM-2PM)
or by appointment, admission is free.

Mailing Address:
PO Box 444
Shelbyville, KY 40066

Call us:(502)513-5555
email: director@shelbykyhistory.org

Mission Statement

The Shelby County Historical Society’s mission is to preserve and promote knowledge and appreciation of Shelby County and Kentucky History.

We are a 501(c)3 organization, donations to the historical society maybe tax deductible!

Shelby County Historical Society 2024 Board Members

President: Trace Kirkwood
Vice President: Sarahbeth Farabee
Treasurer: Belinda Nichols
Secretary: Julie Mulcahy
Executive Director: Helen McKinney

Serving Through 2024:
Jeffrey Bell
Jon Park

Serving Through 2025:
Heather Cecil
Kenneth Harris

Serving Through 2026:
Bonnie Burks Gray
Leon Mooneyhan

Executive Director

Contact The Director At director@shelbykyhistory.org

Meet The Executive Director

Helen E. McKinney is an Oldham County native and direct descendant of Samuel Boone, Daniel Boone’s older brother. Samuel was one of the first settlers to live at Boone’s Station in Athens, Fayette Co., Ky, with Daniel and other family members. They settled there on Christmas Day, 1779, while younger brother Squire Boone, Jr was attempting to settle in Shelby County. Since that time, each generation of her family has lived in Clark Co., KY until 1937, when her grandparents moved to Oldham County. She is a member of The Boone Society, Kentucky Historical Society, the Painted Stone Settlers, Inc. and a Kentucky Colonel.

As a double major, she earned a BA in History and a BA in English at Bellarmine University. Having been a freelance writer for over 20 years, she has combined the two interests to interweave them into a career that has been filled with writing, research, genealogy, and all things history. Helen also has a background in the museum field based upon previous job experience.

A love for genealogy, a life-long quest to explore her ancestors and their lives, and a dive into what really rests within our DNA, keeps history exciting and makes it come alive for her. As a re-enactor of the 18th century lifestyle on the Kentucky frontier, she has had the chance to experience what her ancestors found when they discovered Kentucky.

“It isn’t how you die. It’s what you live for.” Daniel Boone.

President Trace Kirkwood

Trace Kirkwood is a trained historian who earned a Master of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University. He also holds undergraduate degrees in history and political science. Many recognize him from his time as Shelbyville’s Historic District Coordinator.

He has worked as an archivist and records manager for the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives. While there he was the West Kentucky Regional administer for the Local Records Program. He also worked as a research historian for a consulting firm in Lexington. He is currently employed by HF Group in the Government Records Preservation Division as a Document Restoration Specialist. Through his various professional positions, Trace has stepped inside every courthouse in all 120 counties in Kentucky.

In the early years of his career, Trace was the assistant curator of Special Collections at the Filson Historical Society where he cataloged several of their great collections. In that role he was able to handle the papers of Don Carlos Buell, Henry Watterson, Barry Bingham Sr., and early settlers of the Louisville area such as the Beall family.

KY History Award 2018

Shelby County Historical Society ​Winners of the 2018 KY Historical Society Publications Award Salute to the Past-Award Winner! 

Congratulations to the Shelby County Historical Society. The historical society was awarded a Kentucky Historical Society publications award. The award was presented Friday, Nov. 9th at the Kentucky History Awards program, The Salute to the Past was recognized for it’s use of how the editor’s chose to leave space on each page for readers to make notes, as well as the use of local writers, and articles about less known Shelby County history. Thanks to Editor’s Sherry Jelsma, Jack Brammer, and Designer James Mulcahy for their hardwork in publishing an award winning magazin.

The Shelby County Historical Society is a member of:

AASLH (American Association of State and Local History)
Shelby County Chamber of Commerce
Kentucky Historical Society
Participant in Leadership Shelby 2018
Partners with VFW Post 1179

KY Historical Society Magazine Award-(2018) Salute to the Past
KY History and Trust Fund Grant- (2017)
KY History Award - (2015)

Shelby County Historical Society - Strategic Plan!

Over the past few months the Board of Directors and many from our membership have provided input and ideas to create a 3-5 year strategic plan for the Shelby County Historical Society. The desired outcome of this effort was to provide our organization with goals and strategies to better accomplish our mission and improve our footprint in the community.  

Strategic Plan


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627 Main Street
Shelbyville, KY 40065

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 444
Shelbyville, KY 40066 

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