Bardstown museum loses founder

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This will be the first year that the Bardstown Civil War Museum and its corresponding venues will be operating without the help of Rita Herrmann.

Herrmann, the long-time curator and co-founder of the museum, passed away last year at the age of 86.

“Rita was a character,” said current manager Kenny Johnson. “She ran this place seven days a week, and she was in her 80s.”

Johnson said Herrmann had seen the museum come to life years ago, piece-by-piece.

“(She) and her husband moved here when one of the factories opened up,” Johnson said. “They, along with Dr. (Henry) Spalding and several others kind of started to form this thing.”

Johnson said the village started first and the Civil War Museum was actually constructed from an old icehouse that had been refurbished.

“It took probably two or three years to get this building habitable again,” Johnson said.

The museum was established in 1996 and the other venues followed suite to create what is now known as “Museum Row.”

Herrmann passed away at Norton Suburban Hospital in Louisville on Nov 17, 2013, after battling health problems. Johnson said she will be missed.