Hello! I'm Stephanie Class and I was born and raised in Ft. Thomas. After spending time working as a writer and filmmaker in Chicago and New York City, I am now back in town (sorry, but you couldn't get rid of me that easily). I often read Fort Thomas Matters when I was living in New York, and appreciated feeling connected to my hometown from miles away. I'm excited to be writing again and look forward to being part of the Fort Thomas Matters team.
Are you looking for a cultural and historical experience but don’t want to leave the comfort of your hometown to find it? Well, no need to worry; Journey Stories has taken over the Mess Hall through January 21st.
Journey Stories is part of the Smithsonian Institutions Traveling Exhibition Service and “shows how our evolving mobility changed a young nation and how transportation made us grow.” The exhibit is made up of seven different stations, which each depict a specific era in American history.
You start your trek through Journey Stories by catching up with the country’s first settlers and travel all the way through to modern day travel. Along the way you will encounter the Underground Railroad, Oregon Trail, World War II era trains, the Civil Rights Movement, and the beginnings of airplane travel (did you know the first stewardesses were all also trained nurses?). Each station contains interactive elements, photographs and artifacts. Some also feature oral histories that allow you to listen to personal stories while browsing around the station.
Journey Stories also boasts a large display of quilts and other various textiles, which wraps around the perimeter of the Mess Hall. Each item is accompanied by a description that contains historical background information and the identity of each quilt’s owner. Many of the items found in this display are on loan from Ft. Thomas families. You can find everything from handmade quilts to blankets made out of old t-shirts. One of my favorites was a white throw blanket made out of strings collected from trips to a local butcher (before supermarkets, butchers would tie their meat in strings for customers to transport home).
Journey Stories is open everyday from 12:00pm - 4:00pm until January 21st, so make sure you check it out before it closes its doors to the public. There are signs throughout Tower Park for Journey Stories leading you to the Mess Hall, and make sure to use the main entrance of the Mess Hall to access the exhibit (the doors facing the Amphitheater since the side door near the parking lot will be locked).