- 1988 Mayor Gerry Montgomery, at the urging of Mr. W.W. Dyer, initiated an ad hoc committee to pursue the prospects for developing a museum complex to showcase the Four Rivers Region maritime heritage.
- 1992 The River Heritage Center (RHC) as it was originally named, formally a board of directors. The board's first task was to hire Verner Johnson & Associates, Inc. and W.R. Coles & Associates to conduct the TVA-sponsored study. During the study more than 250 of the region's citizens were interviewed for input regarding the museum.
- 1996 Renovation work underway by Seamen's Church Institute of New York provides impetus for RHC to consider using part of Petter complex to house a river museum.
- 2000-2001 Renamed the River Heritage Museum; Restoration of Historic Facade; the 2nd floor restoration is completed and named after Paul Walker, founder of Walker Boat Yard. Julie Harris hired as Executive Director.
- 2003 Grand Opening of Phase I Exhibit Gallery, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell is featured speaker.
- 2005 Completion of Master Plan and Economic Feasibility Study for Expansion
- 2008 Opened new river industry-focused exhibits, including state-of-the-art boat Simulator, a new classroom and new office space. Museum is renamed River Discovery Center.
- 2012 First year of new fundraiser, Paducah Dragon Boat Festival
- 2009-present Expansion of Educational Programming to include the Skipper Program, the Animal Encounter program and Mound Builder program