Why You Should Visit the Adsmore Museum | Her Life in Ruins

Why You Should Visit the Adsmore Museum

I have always been a pretty major fan of historic homes and home tours (which you know if you’ve read my post on Savannah!). My love affair with historic homes began when I was pretty young and my grandmother would take me to the Adsmore Museum in Princeton, Kentucky, a short drive from my hometown. Recently, we returned to the Adsmore Museum for a tour, reigniting my love for the historic home. Read on to discover why you should visit the Adsmore Museum for a tour!

Background on the House

The Adsmore Museum, Princeton, Kentucky
View of the back of the Adsmore House through the garden.

The Adsmore House became a museum because of Katherine Garrett, the granddaughter of the original owners. When Katherine passed in 1984, she left the home, estate, and a large endowment to the George Coon Public Library and stipulated that it remain open to the public. The Adsmore Museum opened in 1896, giving tours that take visitors back into the past, pretending they’re in Katherine’s childhood in the early 1900s.

The Adsmore Museum, Princeton, Kentucky
Katherine’s mother’s room

The Adsmore House was built in 1857 by John Higgins. He fell into debt, the property was handed over to the bank, and was purchased by the Smith-Garrett family in 1900 at auction. The family immediately began expansions on the home and moved in. The home has two floors and an attic. The library, parlor room, Katherine’s grandparent’s room, formal dining room, breakfast nook, and kitchen are downstairs. Upstairs is the guest bedroom, Katherine’s father’s room, Katherine’s mother’s room, and the room Katherine shared with her Aunt. There is also a gorgeous garden and a carriage house on the estate that visitors are free to visit.

The Adsmore Museum, Princeton, KY
A sewing table and dress form owned by Katherine’s grandmother.

I’m sure you’re wondering why the house is called “Adsmore” when it was owned by the Smith-Garrett family. The story goes that one of the aunts of the family would come visit from Pennsylvania. When she would return from her visits, her friends would ask how the family was doing. The aunt would reply that the family was great, and that they would keep “addin’ some more and addin’ some more” to the home each time she would visit. The phrase caught on, with the home taking on the name of “Adsmore”.


The Adsmore Museum, Princeton, Kentucky
Vanity in Katherine’s room

Exhibits at the Adsmore Museum rotate often, so there’s always something new to see. There were 5 different exhibits this year. Next there, there are 7 exhibits lined up! The exhibits cover big events in the Smith-Garrett family’s life, including birthdays, engagements, weddings, family visits, wars, wakes, and holidays.

The Adsmore Museum, Princeton, Kentucky
The Formal Dining Room set to celebrate Aunt Kate’s wedding anniversary.

When my grandmother and I recently visited, the exhibit was centered on Katherine’s Aunt Kate visiting from St. Louis with her husband for their 10th wedding anniversary. The house was decked out to celebrate the guests and decor included many photos of Kate and her husband’s world travels. The tour also discussed many issues going on during the early 1900s, such as the prevalence of Tuberculosis.

Visit the Adsmore Museum

The Adsmore Museum, Princeton, Kentucky
Some of Katherine’s mother’s clothes.

The Adsmore Museum is located at 304 Jefferson Street in Princeton, KY. The Museum offers tours Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM until 4 PM. A guy named Andrew led our tour; he was full of knowledge about the home’s decor and the Smith-Garrett family. Tours occur as guests arrive and purchase tickets in the Carriage House on the property. Tours cost $7 for adults, with discounts for seniors and group tours. The Carriage House also functions as the Museum’s gift shop, featuring so many Victorian-Era inspired goodies, books by local writers, and “Adsmore” branded souvenirs.

The Adsmore Museum, Princeton, Kentucky
The Carriage House

Hopefully, this post has convinced you to check the Adsmore Museum out! If you’ve visited the Museum before, let me know which exhibit(s) you toured in the comments below!



The Adsmore Museum, Princeton, Kentucky
The Adsmore Museum, Princeton, Kentucky


  • Lori Gilbert

    July 2, 2020 at 8:10 am

    I have visited Adsmore several times. It’s so beautiful and interesting. I have become very curious as to why there’s no information on Katherine’s life. I often wonder did she travel as her Aunts did? Did she go to college? How did she live her life?

    1. herlifeinruins

      July 5, 2020 at 2:50 pm

      These are things I’m also curious to know! I’m hoping to go back to Adsmore once the pandemic ends and hope to ask these questions!

  • G. Reames

    December 15, 2022 at 10:52 pm

    My Mother and I have visited the Adsmore every time we visited my Great-Aunt Reba that lived in Princeton. We visited during the Christmas Season and the home was stunning! Another time when the home was draped in black for a funeral…. very gloomy feeling. My Great-Aunt passed several years ago as has my Mother. But would still love to visit again and again.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Prev Post Next Post