Kentucky Rivalries exhibit opens at Frazier History Museum


Jayden Stroud

This display includes memorabilia from past Male/Manual games. Photo by Jayden Stroud.

Isabella Edghill

The Frazier History Museum had a private opening of their newest exhibit Kentucky Rivalries on Wednesday night. The President and CEO of the museum Andy Treinen described the exhibit as the most interactive and collaborative project the museum has ever done. He also outlined Frazier’s mission as trying to “mean more to more people everyday,” and their newest exhibit does just that. 

The exhibit highlights many different rivalries. From historical feuds such as the Douglass vs. Lincoln debate, to rivalries such as Ballard/Eastern, Sacred Heart/Assumption, St. X/Trinity, and of course Male/Manual there is a plethora of information to explore. There are also entire rooms dedicated to the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky,, and it would not be an exhibit about Kentucky without Kentucky’s two most famous attractions, the Kentucky Derby and bourbon. 

Ethan Skolnick (11, HSU) is an intern with the research department at the Frazier, and helped to research information about some of the rivalries featured in the exhibit. He even helped to write some of the panels of the exhibit informing guests about the rivalries.

One of the most interesting things Skolnick learned during his research was just how violent some of these historic rivalries could get. 

“There were a number of Eastern Kentucky basketball rivalries in the 40s. There were a number of threats actually, quite violent made against coaches,” Skolnick said.

The interactive portion of the exhibit includes activities such as designing your own sports play, a basketball competition game and even a miniature football field.

There are over 185 artifacts total in the exhibit including trophies, mascots and sports uniforms from all manner of teams. Some artifacts date back as far as the 1800’s.

The Male/Manual section of the exhibit includes information about the history of the rivalry, as well as student perspectives such as Skolnick’s. This includes facts such as that the Male/Manual game is one of the oldest football rivalries in the United States, and the oldest football rivalry in the entire state. Known as the “Old Rivalry”, it dates back to Nov. 18, 1893,when the first outing was played. Only 500 people attended, and Male beat Manual 14-12. The largest crowd to be recorded for the game is 16,000 fans at Manual Stadium, and there have been a total of 139 meetings in football between the two schools.

Another part of the Male/Manual tradition that the museum recognized was “The Barrel”, the trophy for the victor. The museum has a replica of it on display, as the actual Barrel is at Male, the current champion. One side is painted with a purple “H” and the other one has a crimson “M”, signifying the colors of the two historic schools. The museum also has the original cheer uniforms from the 1950s, letterman sweatshirts from the 1930s and football helmets from the 1920s.

 The exhibit has something for all sports fans, history lovers and competitive people alike. 

“Overall it’s been excellent. It’s been really rewarding. I’m someone who’s really interested in history and I’ve greatly enjoyed the opportunity to educate the public about it,” Skolnick said. 

The Kentucky Rivalries exhibit opened to the public on Saturday Nov. 5 at the Frazier History Museum.