Besides being home to Kentucky's Governor, the Mansion also plays host to a variety of events and functions from concerts to ballet performances, plays and skits, lectures and speeches. It is not completely uncommon to hear the sounds of instruments being tuned, then played in the Mansion's Ballroom or the Governor's Reception Room when it is transformed into a small musical parlor.
Some of Kentucky's most well known and celebrated names in the arts and entertainment have performed in or visited the Mansion as well. For several years the very popular, In Performance at the Governor's Mansion was recorded for public television in the Mansion's Ballroom, showcasing the talents of artists such as Rosemary Clooney, Jean Ritchie, Lionel Hampton and the Governor's School for the Arts among others. The Mansion was also featured on A&E Television's America's Castles series.
Several of Kentucky's most notable annual events including the Governor's Derby celebration and the state employee's holiday open house are held at the Mansion each year as well.
Because the city of Frankfort has always welcomed each first family with open arms, it is the pleasure of the Governor and First Lady to welcome its citizens to the Mansion for several community events such as the newly established annual Easter Egg Roll, trick-or-treat night on Halloween, a variety of Christmas and holiday celebrations and other special events. The Mansion sometimes serves as the backdrop for press conferences and other media events that include the Governor and First Lady. Of course, the Mansion is open for public tours every Tuesday and Thursday year round.
The Mansion’s Residents
Twenty-six Governor's have lived in the "new" Governor's Mansion. Each one of them has left their own mark or piece of history within the Bowling Green Limestone walls. Some have appreciated the opportunity to live in the house while others found it a burden as they've served their respective terms and left their own legacies.
It is usually assumed that the Governor's spouse will serve as the "official" hostess of events at the Governor's Mansion. Some spouses took the "job" and its obligations as their mandated task. Others simply tried to make the stately and very public house a private home for their families.
Governor McCreary's wife had died before he could move into Kentucky's new home for its Governors. So his granddaughter served as the Mansion's first official hostess. Governor Collins was Kentucky's first female Governor. So she served not only as the state's Chief Executive, but also as the hostess of the state's house. Her husband, Dr. Bill Collins, continued to work as a dentist.
To view portraits of the Kentucky Governors, visit the Hall of Governors at the Kentucky History Center.