General Information about the Museum
The area that comprises Georgetown and all of Scott County was primarily Indian hunting grounds prior to settlement. This was changed by the French and Indian war of 1754 -1763, and the defeat of Pontiac’s uprising in 1763-1764. These events led to a treaty in 1768 that gave England extensive rights to lands in the west. A short time later in 1774 John Floyd traveled down the Ohio river as a deputy surveyor of Colonel William Preston. Because of the 1768 treaty and the events that lead to the treaty, present day Kentucky was then a portion Fincastle County, Virginia and was to be surveyed by order of the King. It was on this surveying expedition that Floyd discovered the Big spring or Royal Spring. Floyd surveyed a thousand acres about the spring, and left soon after. Following several attempts to settle the land and many ownership changes, part of the area surveyed by Floyd was eventually settled by a group of Baptists preachers led by Elijah Craig. Craig with his entrepreneurial spirit dabbled in many enterprises including paper and whiskey making. The ever flowing and productive spring played a part in both of these ventures. The Georgetown & Scott County Museum has a permanent exhibit relating to Elijah Craig and his influence on the settlement of the area, foundation of Georgetown, and development and growth of the area.
Another family that settled the area also became very prominent and had a great effect on local, state, and national history. Robert Johnson bought a tract of land in 1779 from Patrick Henry. This land would soon be settled and Johnson would continue to build his family and influence. He and his wife Jemima had eleven children. The eldest son, James, born in 1774, became a wealthy entrepreneur of shipping and stagecoach lines. The third son, Richard M. Johnson, born at Beargrass in 1780, became famous because of his service during the War of 1812 and went on to become the most prominent political figure in Scott County history. Another son, John T. Johnson, became a prominent minister of the Christian Churches. The Georgetown and Scott County Museum also has a permanent display of Richard Johnson that opened March 2005. This display contains information on Richard Johnson, his family, and his influences. A lifelike figure and accompanying sound system adds to the effectiveness of the communication of information.
Several other prominent displays throughout the museum continue to present the history of Georgetown and Scott County. They include prominent and influential individuals such as William Goebel, and Hugo Hassloch. Also representing the history of the area is a mechanical talking crow, representing Pete the Crow. There is a model T Red Fire Truck, a 1/10th scale model of the DeWitt Clinton, and an impressive Civil War Display. Throughout the Museum there are many artifacts that outline the time line from the Indian era to present. Displays include arrow heads, rail roads, wars, schools, industries, and musical instruments to name a few.
With the Toyota manufacturing Co. located in Georgetown and the presence of many Japanese nationals who live, work, and attend school in the city, the Georgetown and Scott County Museum has had all of its primary museum labels translated into Japanese. The museum has also translated this material to Spanish and will soon be implementing a third language into the display captions and information.
The museum’s mission is to provide exhibits and programs that celebrate community history and tell the stories of the citizens of Georgetown and Scott County—how they have influenced and been influenced by the region, state, and nation in which they lived. The museum provides programs for adults, students, and families that encourage them to actively participate in learning about the history of the community. Through the museum’s annual program schedule, community members can tour historic areas of the community, listen to local authors and historians discuss local history, and participate in activities that promote an appreciation for the community’s heritage.