In 1996, the Kentucky Hemp Museum launched the Mobile Hemp Museum & Library Exhibit to spread educational information about industrial hemp to the public at community events and gatherings. The Mobile Exhibit started with a van, three multimedia exhibit modules, product samples and informational handouts. Since the beginning, the Mobile Exhibit has grown to include a full hemp interior for the van, information boards and handouts covering all of the latest hemp information and technology, as well as video capability. The Mobile Hemp Exhibit is well known across Kentucky, and has also made numerous presentations across the United States in Nevada, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Mexico, Washington D.C., and Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, as well as representing the North American Industrial Hemp Council at the Vancouver Hemp Symposium.
In 1997, along with continuing the Mobile Exhibit, the Museum & Library purchased a self-rake reaper believed to be one of only three still intact in the United States.
With the help of the Deni Montana Foundation, the Museum & Library sponsored an Economic Impact Study of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky in 1998. The study was conducted by the University of Kentuckys Gatton College of Business and Economics. The purpose of the study was to analyze the potential economic impact of industrial hemp in Kentucky by examining both the current markets for hemp as well as possible new markets. The outcome of the study was quite positive, concluding that there are currently several niche markets for hemp in the US including horse bedding, seed oils, and specialty papers. Newer markets for hemp in the US include automobile parts such as upholstery, fiber composites and carpeting. Hemp may also reduce the farmers need for herbicides. Studies have shown that industrial hemp as a rotation crop reduces weeds and increases future crop yields. The economic impact of hemp could mean hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars for Kentuckys economy by building only one processing facility, one hemp paper-pulp plant and producing certified seed. These estimates are conservative because they are based only on specialty markets already working in Europe. With continuing development of technology and increasing uses for hemp, the possibilities for economic benefit could be much greater.
For the past three years, the Museum & Library has also printed and distributed a historic hemp calendar. The calendar includes photographs taken around central Kentucky in the 1930s and 1940s, recent industrial hemp farming photographs, and important hempen dates. The Museum & Library will be producing a set of historic postcards for 2000 instead of a calendar, to save on paper costs and to reach more people.
In order to further its educational impact, the Kentucky Hemp Museum has opened a small permanent location in Versailles, Kentucky. This location places the Museum in a central, historically important area of Woodford county, which was once the leading hemp seed producing area in the United States.
Currently, the Kentucky Hemp Museum occupies a small space of about 1000 square feet in the first floor if a building well over 100 years old. Tours are self-guided, or guided by the director or another board member if the visitor so desires. Admission is free. Some larger pieces of historic agricultural equipment, including the self-rake reaper and a field decorticator, are on display in nearby Lexington, Kentucky at Club Hemp. Some artefacts are kept in storage due to lack of space and they are represented by photographs in the permanent museum exhibit. The current historic displays focus on Kentucky and the US, while exhibits on the resurgent hemp industry focus on Europe and Canada. We also maintain a library collection of many historic documents from Kentucky’s hemp industry as well as many new publications from around the world on the potential uses and benefits of hemp for sustainable agriculture and eco-friendly products.
(related; Woody Harrelson, Ted Turn, Cannabis)