FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 19, 2012) — A segment of the popular PBS History Detectives television series filmed on the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) history campus will air Tuesday, July 24, at 9 p.m. EST (8 p.m. CST), on Kentucky Educational Television (KET). The episode features a pair of Civil War-era Deringer pistols traced to Kentucky.
“History Detectives” explores the nation’s past by uncovering the history behind personal items that have puzzled their owners for years. The hosts are appraisers, historians and researchers who consult with experts and eyewitnesses and use the latest forensic technology to reveal the connection between the artifact and key events in America’s past.
A recent appraisal on “Antiques Roadshow” priced a matching pair of Civil War-era Deringer pistols at $30,000, or possibly more if the holder can trace the history of the items and the original owner. The current owner had two clues: “John P. Thompson, Owensboro, KY” engraved onto the gun, and paperwork suggesting that a Jack P. Thompson had been released from prison.
“History Detectives” host Wes Cowan visited the KHS collections and spoke to Tony Curtis, KHS research associate for the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.
“Participating in the research, development and filming of a segment of PBS’s “History Detectives” was exciting to experience on a personal and professional level,” Curtis said. “It was definitely a peek into a whole new world! I was glad to provide the historical context and what I learned about this particular Kentuckian featured in the segment of ‘History Detectives.’”
One of four hosts on “History Detectives,” Cowan is a Louisville native and is president and principal auctioneer of Cowan’s Auctions Inc., of Cincinnati. He is an internationally recognized expert in historic Americana.
Following its PBS broadcast on July 24, the episode will also be online beginning July 25, at www.pbs.org/video. For more about KHS, its activities and programs, visit www.history.ky.gov.