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Come learn about Marion County, from the history of this incredible region to the people who helped shape it. Featuring a brand new Turtleman exhibit, with set and cut-out for photo ops!

For 20 years, a group of citizens in Marion County, KY had a vision. This vision entailed creating a museum to tell this area’s amazing history, much of it cloaked in secrecy, legend and lore.

After years of collecting artifacts and storing them around town, the Marion County Historical Society found a home at the Historic Courthouse located on Main Street in the heart of Lebanon. The new Heritage Center opened in late 2012, just in time for the award-winning Marion County Ham Days Festival, and continues to evolve daily.

The Center houses memorabilia, artifacts, books and manuscripts depicting Marion County history, as well as a genealogy room with information about many local families.  In addition, special exhibits throughout the year bring something new for the returning visitor.

In addition, the center houses the collection of Don Johnson, one of the world’s top trumpet players. His collection of J.W. Pepper instruments rivals that of the company itself, and many of those instruments as well as his collection of Civil War reproduction uniforms are on display. The uniforms were used in the 2012 movie Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg.

2014 Exhibit Schedule:

March 1: Turtleman Trek 5K & Public Appearance Turtleman Ernie Brown Jr.  & Banjoman Neal James

April – June: Quilts of Marion County Exhibit

April 6: Grand Opening Don Johnson’s Expanded Exhibit

August: Heyday of Marion County Rock Era

September 27-28: Ham Days Art Show & Sale

October: Manufacturing in Marion County


The Turtleman Exhibit:

The man is a legend. He dives into turtle-infested ponds; chases raccoons from barns; and captures agile critters in a single flash of the mighty Thunder.

Ernie Brown, Jr., a.k.a. The Turtleman, was made famous by his role on Animal Planet’s Call of the Wildman. His fame has landed him on such shows as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Fox News, and The Today Show.

Since the age of seven, Brown has been helping neighbors, farmers, and friends rid their ponds of turtles that pose a threat to livestock or produce. He learned the trade from his father and uncle, and he’s been drawing a crowd ever since.

The Turtleman Exhibit features items from Brown’s childhood, his first turtle shows, a mock-up of the TV set, and a life-size stand-up perfect for a photo op.


Admission: Free. Donations welcomed.


Monday – Wednesday 10 am – 2 pm, Thursday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm.  Extended hours available on holiday weekends and during special events. Call for more information.

Group tours are available upon reservation.

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