The rural community of Creelsboro, located on the north bank of the Cumberland River in Russell County, Kentucky, was established in the early 1800s. For over a century, it was the center of community life for people living in the nearby Cumberland River bottoms. With the advent of the steamboat, the community thrived and was a bustling town.

This documentary project features four integrated components: “Creelsboro and the Cumberland: A Living History,” a one-hour public television documentary distributed by Kentucky Educational Television (KET) that can be viewed here; a companion website with information, images, and short videos about the original paintings and music composed for the documentary; educational materials linked to the documentary and the paintings; and a Digital Media Archive that preserves all of the archival materials used in the project.

“Creelsboro and the Cumberland: A Living History,” presents the history and culture of the farming community of Creelsboro. Interviews with scholars and residents bring the valley’s rich cultural heritage to life, from the first American Indians to occupy the area, through early settlement by Euro-American pioneers to the golden age of steamboats and changes from the construction of Wolf Creek Dam. The documentary also presents beautiful aerial video, rare archival photographs, original artworks, and an original soundtrack for compelling look at the valley’s history, and the community’s intimate connection to the Cumberland River.

The documentary is the seventh episode in The Kentucky Archaeology & Heritage Series, which is produced by Voyageur Media Group for the Kentucky Archaeological Survey (KAS), a program within the Folk Studies and Anthropology Department at Western Kentucky University.

The production team has posted a host of educational materials on this website designed for viewers, teachers and students. The materials are provided for non-commercial research and educational purposes. Please contact the Kentucky Archaeological Survey for any additional uses of materials from the Creelsboro Documentary Project.

Coming soon: Teaching Through Documentary Art interactive lessons

We are currently developing interactive lessons (incorporating the paintings below) for this project. The finalized lessons will be added here when they are completed.


This public education project is made possible with support from The Federal Highway Administration, The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, and Voyageur Media Group, Inc.