Irvinton House Museum

Mission StatementAmerican Alliance of Museums Members

The mission of the Irvinton House Museum is to create a welcoming, fun, and educational environment by highlighting the history of the City of Richmond, Madison County, and the region of Appalachia. The museum achieves this through exhibits, events, activities, and outreach programs focused around how the Irvinton House and its former residents connected to the community.

Irvinton is open daily from 9 AM to 3 PM.  Please call to schedule a guided tour.


About the Museum

The historic Irvinton House Museum is Richmond’s only local museum.  Exhibits include items from the Irvine family, the community, and Eastern Kentucky University’s J.T. Dorris Collection that illustrate the vibrant history of Richmond, Kentucky.  The museum features many unique and interesting items, including one of very few remaining Revolutionary War uniforms.

Irvinton was built in 1820 by Dr. Anthony Waine Rollins. The federal-style home was sold to David Irvine in 1829 and later gifted to his daughter, Elizabeth, in 1849. Elizabeth Irvine married her first cousin, William Irvine, and they had 5 children: Susan, Addie, Kate, Willie, and Bessie. Unfortunately, none of the children lived into adulthood, and Mr. and Mrs. Irvine were left with no heirs to leave their fortune. Mrs. Irvine lived at Irvinton for nearly 90 years until her passing in 1920. As stated in her will, Irvinton was left to the Kentucky Medical Society and opened its doors to receive the first patient on October 20th, 1926. It remained a hospital for almost 25 years until it was closed in 1950. After the hospital shut down, the Irvinton grounds became Richmond’s very first park. Today it remains the Irvine-McDowell Park and the Irvinton House serves as office space for the Richmond Parks and Recreation department.

The Irvinton House Museum is open Monday-Friday from 8 am until 4:00 pm. Please call 859-623-8753 to schedule a guided tour.

Irvinton House Historical Research Help

The Irvinton House Museum is currently conducting research related to the end of the Trachoma Hospital. If anyone has any information related to Dr. Robert Sory, the chief physician for the hospital, or any of his surviving relatives we would love for you to bring this to us. We are also looking for any still surviving patients from the last few years of the hospital’s existence in the last 1940s if anyone has any information related to this. If you have anything regarding the house’s time as a trachoma hospital we encourage to contact us at the information below.

Upcoming Exhibits

We will be hosting the “Women Working For Change” exhibit on loan from the Kentucky Historical Society late this summer. Please check back later for more information hours.

Also please be on the lookout for updates about another exciting exhibit we will be having in September and October that focuses on the special history the Mill industry has played in Richmond’s past.

Historical Documents for Personal Use

All documents posted here are for personal use. They may not be copied or redistributed without express written consent from the Richmond Parks and Recreation department or the Irvinton House Museum. If you have any questions regarding the documents here please email or call at 859-623-8753.

Mrs. Elizabeth Irvine’s Cookbook

You will find here a cookbook full of recipes from Mrs. Irvine herself. This cookbook dates back to 1869 when Elizabeth first began recording the recipes. During this time period in her life, Elizabeth had given birth to her last child a few years prior and was entering into the middle-age hood. She would maintain this cookbook for roughly a decade. This book also contained medical remedies and treatments, mainly for the treatment of Bessie Irvine who was Elizabeth’s youngest and only surviving child. We have, at this time, omitted the medical remedies, instead choosing to focus on the food recipes.

In this document, you will a variety of recipes for different baked goods, alcohols, savory dishes, and items that are totally foreign to our modern palettes. We have done our best to leave the recipes intact and written the way Elizabeth described them. Some things have been altered for clarity and grammar to make it easier for the modern reader. There are also terms, instructions, and measurements that are not still in popular use in modern cooking, or that have been lost to time and cannot be translated to current cooking instructions. If you would like to make any of the dishes described here please be sure to make adjustments where necessary to ensure proper food safety.

Please find her cookbook here and enjoy: Mrs. Irvine’s Cookbook and Home Remedies

More Information

View information about reserving space at the museum.

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