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Segment Producers: Joy Flynn, Marsha Hellard, Cheryl Beckley, Dave Shuffett
Exploring Northern Kentucky
From historic neighborhoods to shark tunnels and from riverboats to urban art, host Dave Shuffett samples some of the many treasures of Northern Kentucky in this special edition.
He starts at the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington’s Devou Park, the only museum dedicated to Northern Kentucky history (and prehistory). Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties form a peninsula at the top of Kentucky, tucked into a bend in the Ohio River and facing Cincinnati across the water, and the river has always been the region’s lifeblood. So it’s only logical that one of the main focuses of the museum is life on the river. But in addition to items related to steamboats and tugs, its eclectic collection spans more than 450 million years of local natural history. The emphasis on fossils and animal life reflects the interests of the museum’s original benefactor, William Behringer, a local resident who left his personal collection of natural history specimens to the city of Covington when he died in 1948. The museum opened two years later as the William Behringer Memorial Museum, under the curatorial eye of Ellis Crawford. An archaeologist, Crawford greatly expanded the holdings, even adding some of his own findings from his work at nearby Big Bone Lick State Park. The museum was renamed to honor his decades of service in 1972.
Today, visitors will find exhibits on everything from Native American cultures of the region to Underground Railroad history, as well as displays of Kenton Hills porcelain; Wadsworth watches; and paintings by farmer, writer, and artist Harlan Hubbard (who was featured in Kentucky Life Program 814). Museum Director Laurie Risch and Education Director Bethany Berlejung show us around in this visit.
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Next, Dave goes looking for history on the streets as he explores some of Northern Kentucky’s historic neighborhoods. The itinerary includes Covington’s Historic MainStrasse Village, where the area’s German heritage is much in evidence; Kenton County’s Riverside Drive Historic District; and Newport’s East Row Historic District.
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Having toured by land, Dave tries seeing the sights from the water next as he hops aboard one of the Queen City Riverboats. At the helm, Captain Jim Craven keeps things on course while talking about the transformation of Northern Kentucky’s waterfront over the last few decades.
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The next stop is one of those modern additions to the riverfront: the Newport Aquarium, opened in May 1999. A popular tourist attraction where visitors can see more than 50,000 aquatic animals up close—including a wide variety of sharks—the aquarium is also involved in environmental education and conservation efforts. This visit is from Kentucky Life Program 705.
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Finally, we visit the Covington Community Center (since renamed the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington) for a look at its arts outreach programs. If the vitality of a community can be measured by the strength of its arts programs, then Covington is in good hands. The center was a 2001 recipient of a Governor’s Award in the Arts for its community projects, which get people of all ages involved in the process of making art. Some of the products can be seen around town in the form of unusual mosaics and murals.
A United Way agency, the center also has been involved in numerous partnerships designed to celebrate the area’s diverse cultural and historical heritage and build a sense of community. They range from sports and recreation programs for young people to discussion forums to a project honoring Frank Duveneck, a leading American Realist painter of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who was a native of Covington.
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SEASON 8 PROGRAMS: 801 • 802 • 803 • 804 • 805 • 806 • 807 • 808
809: Simple Pleasures and Hidden Treasures • 810 • 811 • 812 • 813
814 • 815 • 816 • 817 • 818 • 819 • 820 • 821 • 822 • 823 • 824
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