Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Arkansas Heritage

To celebrate the Fourth of July, I visited the Historic Arkansas Museum (Territorial Restoration) and the Old Statehouse (the oldest standing capitol buidling west of the mighty Mississippi, so there). Every year, the museum has a special program called Frontier Fourth and something again at Christmas-time...actors dressed in the period, story tellers, drama, fun and Since I really enjoy Arkansas history (my favorite class in college, required me to write a diary of moving my family from Charleston, S.C. to Little Rock in the 1800's...I loved, loved, loved it!), I always enjoy visiting.

1. Galleries of the Historic Arkansas Museum. There are 7 galleries with changing exhibits. Right now they include knives, quilts, Audubon animal prints, portrait paintings, photography. The picture above shows one of the galleries with the Audubon animal prints-very interesting illustrations.

2. Finally, some quilts! So by now, you're wondering whether I even know what a quilt is because they don't show up in my blog as much as they should, but there are some great examples of quilts in the museum. The one in the photo was made in the mid-1800's by the wife of a Confederate officer.

3. Old State House museum. I'm not sure how long it's been since I visited last, but at the Old State House, some things may stay the same, but many things have changed. The outside is all "History", but inside they've gone a little high-tech, with touch screen. I especially enjoyed the one about early frontier politics, where if you didn't like the results, you shot your opponent. The "Dome of Silence" over the monitor was amusing, too.

4. Sam Dellinger and Raiders of the Lost Arkansas. This is one of the exhibits at the Old Statehouse featuring the collection of archaeological finds from Arkansas, mainly Native American pottery. Dellinger was a professor at the University of Arkansas who built one of the "finest collections of prehistoric Native American artifacts in the United States." He directed excavations all over the state and made purchases and worked hard to keep Arkansas artifacts from leaving the state to enhance other museum collections. Very interesting piece of Arkansas history.

5. Her-story. At both the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Old Statehouse, the contribution of women to the development of Arkansas is honored. Through quilt displays, living history, the gowns of Arkansas' first ladies, and a new exhibit at the Old Statehouse called "As Long As Life Shall Last: The Legacy of Arkansas Women." This exhibit is a collection of letters, diaries, and other artifacts showing women's history in the state.

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