“Kentucky Rivalries” opens at Frazier History Museum in Louisville, KY

The more than 100 artifacts represent some of the most iconic conflicts of the commonwealth.

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Vintage mascot suits help tell the stories of some of the fiercest sports rivalries.

Photo by LOUtoday

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The Frazier History Museum’s latest exhibit takes on a more competitive approach to Kentucky history — rivalries.

The recently opened “Kentucky Rivalries” showcase, located on the second floor of the museum, will run through September 2023 and is made up of six spirited sections chronicling the most iconic conflicts across the commonwealth.

Here’s what kind of feuds you’ll explore:

  • Historic faceoffs — think: the Hatfield and McCoys + the 19th century Kentucky Cave Wars
  • 23 Kentucky high school rivalriesnine of which are in Louisville
  • Fierce cultural moments like Flatt & Scruggs’ 1948 departure from Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys
  • 5 college archrival sports teams

Each area includes original objects spanning from the 19th century to the present day. Notable artifacts include vintage mascot suits (like Male High School’s bulldog), a 1950s romper-style girl’s basketball uniform from Presentation Academy, and historic pamphlets advertising the “Cave Wars.” In total, there are 179 artifacts throughout the exhibit.

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A replica basketball court pits the iconic Cats and Carts against one another once again.

Photo by LOUtoday

Here is our quick guide to “Kentucky Rivalries”:

Don’t miss

It’s easy to get lost in the deeply-rooted history of Kentucky sports, but one drool-worthy duel that caught our eye was the foodie rivalry between three BBQ joints in Owensboro, KY.


There are several ways to experience the exhibit hands-on, or should we say foot-on — as our favorite was the replica locker room where you can sit on a bench and compare your shoe size to that of a basketball player.

Full court press

In the middle of the exhibition is a 50-ft replica basketball court. One side is dedicated to the Louisville Cardinals and the other to the Kentucky Wildcats + two display mannequins don each team’s uniform at the midcourt line.


The annual Dirt Bowl basketball tournament in Shawnee Park, which has been a community event for 46+ years, is also featured.

Bonus: We noticed on our way out of the museum a rivalry not part of the feuding exhibit — the red and blue penguins representing respectively Louisville’s 21c Hotel + Lexington’s 21c Hotel near the “Cool Kentucky” area.

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