Kent Whitworth Introduces ExploreKYHistory App

by Pat Moynahan on July 12, 2016

Kent Whitworth, executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society.

Kent Whitworth, executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society.

FLORENCE – Kent Whitworth calls it “history on a stick.”

Technology geeks call it a specialized software program for a mobile device.

Common folks may call it a history book, a summary of historical markers or a customized tour guide with map.

It is ExploreKYHistory, a smartphone app Whitworth introduced to Florence Rotarians at a luncheon on Monday, June 27. Whitworth, the executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society, is traveling around the state in an effort to drum up interest in Kentucky’s 225th anniversary in 2017 and stir up passion for local history.

“History provides us with a very personal sense of identity,” Whitworth said. “This area is very much influenced by its direct link to Daniel Boone.”

That sense of identity is nowhere more evident than in Boone Kentucky, according to Whitworth. The Boone County web site has “made history integral to the local culture,” he said. The Boone County Public Library won the 2015 Thomas D. Clark Award of Excellence.

In addition, the Regional History Day at Northern Kentucky University, sponsored by the Department of History and Geography and 13 area historical societies and heritage groups, has grown into one of the most popular events in the region over the past 23 years, Whitworth noted.

“The sponsors do a fabulous job of working together and challenging each other,” he said. “I wish other regions of Kentucky would follow their example.”

Whitworth spends a lot of his time working with educators and students. More than 3,500 students participated in National History Day this year and two Kentucky students won top awards.

“What we love about it is young people are finding a passion for the past,” Whitworth said.

He is hoping others find a passion for the past through ExploreKYHistory. The mobile app makes it possible to explore history without reading a book, visiting a library or attending an event.

Hey, you don’t even have to get out of your car. Drive by a historical marker and call up ExploreKYHistory. The app will tell you what’s on the marker, give you additional information on the story behind the marker, and combine it with an online historical tour.

History saved and preserved is the foundation for future generations, Whitworth observed.

“If we study our historical past, we might find solutions to current problems,” he added.