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Museum coming to Harlan

A new attraction is on the way for the city of Harlan with a museum dedicated to the history and culture of Harlan County slated to open in 2019.

According to a press release, the museum will celebrate the culture, history and people of Harlan County. The venture is the result of a collaboration between the Cawood & Frances Ledford Estate, City of Harlan Tourism and the Harlan Public Library.

Cawood Ledford is best remembered for his role in sports broadcasting. His storied career garnered many awards, accolades and honors.

“After Mrs. Ledford’s passing, we were asked to create an exhibit that would honor Cawood Ledford’s memory,” said Harlan Tourism Executive Director Brandon Pennington.

Harlan City Tourism has teamed up with the Harlan Public Library for the project.

“We approached the library about assistance in cataloging, collecting and storing the Ledford collection,” Pennington said. “Not only did they provide help in those areas, but they also offered us a space to house the museum.”

At their August board meeting, the Harlan County Library Board approved a five-year lease on the property.

Harlan Tourism Downtown Development & Event Coordinator Laura Adkisson shed some light on some of the details of the project.

“Once established, the museum will house a permanent Cawood Ledford collection, a permanent U.S.S. Harlan County exhibit, and rotating exhibits highlighting unique attributes of Harlan County,” Adkisson said. “The museum will be tasked with preserving our culture, promoting the area and providing educational programs.”

Harlan Public Library Executive Director Richard Haynes also expressed his thoughts on the project.

“On behalf of the library, we are happy to enter a partnership that preserves and promotes the history of Harlan County,” Haynes said.

The projected opening in 2019 is ambitious, but organizers say Harlan County’s bicentennial is the ideal time to unveil the new attraction.

“We’re grateful for the community support we’ve had on this project,” Adkisson said. “This is the first of many exciting things coming to downtown Harlan.”