In the early 1980s the Tourism Committee of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce decided the city needed a museum to represent the local history of Ashland and its surrounding area. The Kentucky Highlands Museum Society, Inc. was incorporated in the early 1980s and found its first location in the landmark Mayo Manor, a house in Ashland’s historic residential district. A team of volunteers assembled the first exhibits, which included Native American artifacts, aviation history, the 1937 flood, and local industry. The Kentucky Highlands Museum officially opened its doors on September 16, 1984.
The museum moved to its current home in the former Parsons Department Store building, opening on September 19, 1992. It broadened the scope of its original mission and focus on historical exhibits to also include interactive educational activities for children. In 1999, the museum formally adopted its current name, “Highlands Museum & Discovery Center, Inc.,” to reflect this expanded vision. The addition of the Discovery Center and inclusion of educational activities attracts school groups from throughout the tri-state region of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia.comments