1996 | Kentucky Hemp Museum & Library launches mobile exhibit

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

Craig Lee and the Kentucky Hemp Museum mobile exhibit "the hemp van" at Slim Buttes on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1999.

Woody Harrelsons's visit to Kentucky kick-started a nation-wide educational initiative by the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association (KHGCA). With his help, the Kentucky Hemp Museum and Library hit the road, launching the mobile museum exhibit. His relationship with the Turner Foundation had scored the museum an annual grant of $25,000.

Both Harrelson and Cockrel hailed the organization and its efforts, "What a great way to end a school year to have none other than the Hollywood actor himself speaking to a group of fifth-grade students in my classroom. The Ted Turner Foundation supports preservation of the environment, natural resources, and wildlife, and works on population issues in the United States and abroad. Harrelson, the environmental steward, supports the same ideas," said Donna.

The mobile exhibit started with a van, three multimedia exhibit modules, product samples and handouts. Eventually it would hemp interior and video capability. Kentucky hemp activist and museum director, Craig Lee, became known for his travels across the country promoting the Kentucky hemp industry. He was often joined by Woody, along with other celebrity activists and humanitarians like Wille Nelson and Merle Haggard. From 1996 - 1997, the van traveled to Nevada, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Mexico, Washington D.C., and Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and the North American Industrial Hemp Council at the Vancouver Hemp Symposium.

Kentucky Hempsters co-founders Alyssa Erickson and Kirstin Bohnert with the Kentucky Hemp Museum Van in January 2015.

Click the links below to learn more about the Harrelson and Cockrel trials:

1996 | Woody Harrelson speaks at Simpsonville Elementary

1996 | Woody Harrelson arrested for planting hemp in Kentucky

1996 | Donna Cockrel investigated after Woody Harrelson hemp presentation

1996 | Kentucky Hemp Museum & Library launches mobile exhibit

1996 | Woody Harrelson launches hemp essay contest

1996 | School trys to revoke Donna Cockrel's teaching certificate

1996 | Woody Harrelson defends Donna Cockrel

1996 | Woody Harrelson announces hemp essay winners

1996 | Charges dismissed against Woody Harrelson for Kentucky hemp planting

1997 | Kentucky Hemp Museum takes Harrelson, Cockrel and essay winner to movie premiere

1997 | Parents protest against Woody Harrelson's scheduled second visit

1997 | Court finds statute "overbroad" after Harrelson charges are dismissed

1997 | Woody Harrelson makes second visit to Simpsonville Elementary

1997 | Parents want Donna Cockrel fired after second Woody Harrelson hemp presentation

1997 | School Evaluation Claims Donna Cockrel Fails to Meet Performance Requirements

1997 | Kentucky General Assembly Hears Testimony On Hemp

1997 | Donna Cockrel is fired from Simpsonville Elementary

1997 | Woody Harrelson issues statement regarding Donna Cockrel's termination

1998 | Cockrel files suit against Shelby County schools

1998 | Farmers sue to overturn ban on hemp

2000 | Kentucky Supreme Court rules no distinction between hemp and marijuana

2000 | Woody Harrelson acquitted of hemp charges

2001 | Court reverses decision in Donna Cockrel vs. Shelby County schools

2003 | Donna Cockrel receives $70,000 settlement



Gifford, H. (n.d.). Kentucky Hemp Museum Celebrates Crop’s Past. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from http://www.internationalhempassociation.org/jiha/jiha6218.html

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