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LITTLE ROCK— Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism, announced today that grants of up to $5,000 are available to help nonprofit organizations develop local events and projects that promote awareness and enjoyment of Arkansas heritage. The grants are designed to help foster awareness and enjoyment of Arkansas heritage and to assist in planning and implementing meaningful Arkansas projects such as exhibits, events or festivals and curriculum or teaching tools.

“For many years, the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH) conducted a Heritage Month grant program that sponsored events or programs that took place during the month of May only,” said Hurst. “Organizations often told us that they could use the funds for other programming throughout the year, so we listened, went to the Legislature for permission to expand the program and are happy to announce the first round of grants are now open for application.”

Grants guidelines and the application packet are available at here. For more information, contact the DAH Grant Coordinator, 1100 North Street, Little Rock, 72201; fax (501) 324-9150, or by e-mailing debra.fithen@arkansas.gov. Online applications must be completed and submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, September 13, 2019.

A workshop for prospective applicants will be held on Tuesday, July 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Department of Arkansas Heritage Diamond Room, 1100 North Street, Little Rock, AR 72201. Topics will include an overview of the guidelines and application process and online application assistance. Instructions for registering for the free workshop are found on the application page on the web site.

The Division of Arkansas Heritage is committed to the discovery, preservation and presentation of our state’s natural and cultural heritage. The division accomplishes its goals through the work of nine agencies: Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Capitol Zoning District Commission, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

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The Department of Arkansas Heritage is hosting an evening for teachers at the Old State House Museum on Thursday, July 25, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. that will feature a guest speaker, Patricia Ramsey, who will talk about National History Day and how to implement it in the teaching curriculum.

The talk will be followed by a reception of drinks and light hors d’oeuvres where teachers will be able to visit with education coordinators for each Department of Arkansas Heritage division: Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum. Guests can learn about school field trips, class room presentations and teaching materials offered by each museum and division.

The evening is free and teachers will earn 2.5 hours of professional development credit for attending. To register, go to https://www.escweb.net/ar_esc/catalog/session.aspx?session_id=387918.

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LITTLE ROCK (July 8, 2019) — Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Union Pacific Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz today announced a $300,000 grant, the lead gift in the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s capital campaign to renovate its 10-year-old exhibits, which will embrace inclusivity and widen its focus to reflect and share the complete story of black Arkansans from across the state.

This is the largest regional grant awarded in Arkansas through Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program, which is designed to provide significant impact in one of the company’s key areas of giving related to safety, workforce development and community spaces.

“Vibrant spaces that celebrate cultural diversity and social interaction enrich lives,” said Fritz. “At Union Pacific, we believe an inclusive culture is paramount to our success, and this exhibit is a perfect example of what communities can accomplish with that mindset.”

MTCC recognizes that history is not stagnant and has developed an interpretive plan that will allow it to remain a welcoming space to learn while engaging increasingly diverse and complex audiences. To implement this update, MTCC aims to raise $3 million for construction of the new space. Its capital campaign entitled “Innovate. Collaborate. Renovate.” focuses on the idea that the African American experience is woven into the fabric of past, present and future Arkansas.

Gov. Hutchinson also congratulated MTCC on receiving a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences for $248,000, which is the largest grant that the institute has awarded in Arkansas in more than 40 years. This grant will be matched dollar for dollar by a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. These funds put the museum at $796,000 towards its capital campaign goal.

“The grant award is a significant boost and will allow the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center to continue its important work of education, preserving history and cultural exchanges,” said Gov. Hutchinson.

At the event, Christina Shutt, director of MTCC, announced that Ronald Dedman, president of AT&T Arkansas, will chair the campaign.

“We’re so pleased that Ronnie has agreed to serve as chair,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism. “His leadership is much appreciated.”

“We appreciate the support the capital campaign has received so far from Union Pacific, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences and the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council,” Dedman said. “We hope that others will join us in our efforts to help MTCC reach more diverse and widespread audiences with its message about the African American experience in Arkansas.”

MTCC is located at 501 W. Ninth St., Little Rock, AR 72201. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please contact Jaimie Wright, director of development, at (501) 683-3620 or email jaimie.wright@arkansas.gov.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism, is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and celebrating African American history and culture in Arkansas. Other museums and programs of the Division of Arkansas Heritage include Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum and Old State House Museum.

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An event at the State Capitol on March 1 kicked off the state’s observance of the centennial of Arkansas becoming a U.S. Territory on March 2, 1819. Gov. Asa Hutchinson; Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage; and Wendy Richter, director of the Arkansas State Archives; and Swannee Bennett, director of Historic Arkansas Museum, spoke during the event.

Dr. Richter introduced a new traveling exhibit, “Territorial Arkansas: the Wild West Frontier,” researched by Archives staff, tells the story of the Arkansas Territory, when Arkansas was considered the wild west of the United States. The exhibit is available to museums, libraries, archives, universities, schools, historical societies and other educational or cultural institutions around the state at no cost. To make arrangements for borrowing the exhibit, contact the Arkansas State Archives at (501) 682-6900.

Historic Arkansas Museum also announced an exhibit in its galleries that uses artifacts and maps to tell the story of the Arkansas Territory. Titled “Life in the Western Country: Arkansaw Territory from 1819-1836,” the exhibit celebrates the 200thanniversary of the creation of the territory with items such as the deed to the first newspaper print shop west of the Mississippi and tableware similar to what would have been used at Jesse Hinderliter’s tavern, which still stands on the museum’s grounds. Historic Arkansas Museum is located at 200 East Third Street in Little Rock. The exhibit will be on display through April 5, 2020.

A poster commemorating the bicentennial of the territory was unveiled at the event. It features an 1820s map of the territory, which then included most of what is today Oklahoma. Free copies of the map may be ordered online or by calling (501) 324-9150.

Since 1982, DAH has provided Arkansans upon request a free, collectible Arkansas Heritage poster. Posters from recent years may still be available in limited quantities. If interested, please call our office at 501-324-9150 for details. To view a gallery of past Heritage posters, click here.

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Winners have been announced for the 2019 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, including food-themed events, restaurants, and proprietors from across the state.

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame was launched by the Department of Arkansas Heritage in 2016 to recognize Arkansas’s iconic restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events. Nominations were accepted from the public in five categories: Food Hall of Fame, Proprietor of the Year, Food-Themed Event, Gone But Not Forgotten and People’s Choice.

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee chose the finalists in each category and the winners were announced at a reception and induction ceremony at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock on February 25.

Winners are as follows:

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

The Craig Brothers Cafe of DeValls Bluff (Prairie County)

Burge’s Hickory Smoked Turkeys and Hams of Little Rock and Lewisville (Pulaski County and Lafayette County)

Keeney’s Food Market of Malvern (Hot Spring County)

Proprietor of the Year

Loretta Tacker of Marion (Crittenden County)

Food-Themed Events

Hope Watermelon Festival (Hempstead County)

Gone But Not Forgotten

Klappenbach Bakery of Fordyce (Dallas County)

People’s Choice

Honey Pies Gourmet Bakery and Cafe of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Nearly 650 nominations were received for the third class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

“People are passionate about their food! We are so pleased to see the increasing response from the public in this conversation on Arkansas food and food culture,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “From classics to new flavors, Arkansas’s food landscape continues to develop and we are pleased to be telling that story.”

The 13-member selection committee includes Paul S. Austin, Swannee Bennett, Evette Brady, C.C. (Chip) Culpepper, Cindy Grisham, Stacy Hurst, Montine McNulty, Tim Morton, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Dr. Wendy Richter, Kat Robinson and Christina Shutt.

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With the recent release of the film by the same name, there’s been increased interest in what exactly the “Green Book” was and what sort of presence Arkansas businesses had in the guide.

The Green Book was first introduced in 1936 to provide African American travelers with information on businesses that would serve them. From the introduction to the 1949 edition of the book: “With the introduction of this travel guide in 1936, it has been our idea to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trips more enjoyable.”

The introduction concludes thus: “There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go to wherever we please, and without embarrassment. But until that time comes we shall continue to publish this information for your convenience each year.”

The guide was published until 1965, although publication was temporarily halted during World War II.

The 1949 issue of the Green Book contained dozens of listings in Arkansas, including properties in Arkadelphia, Brinkley, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hope, Hot Springs, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Camden, South Camden, Pine Bluff, Fordyse (sic), Helena, Russellville and Texarkana. The types of businesses included in the guide included restaurants, hotels, tourist homes, service stations, beauty parlors and beauty schools, barbers, night clubs, service stations, garages, sanitariums and more.

For example, Velvatex College of Beauty Culture was listed in the guide as early as 1947. Velvatex was established in Little Rock in 1929 by Mrs. M. E. Patterson. The business has a 90-year history of female African American entrepreneurship. In 2018, Velvatex collaborated with Mosaic Templars Cultural Center to create an exhibit celebrating the history and culture of black hair. Following the exhibit, Velvatex donated numerous artifacts from its collections to the the museum. 


A number of businesses in the West Ninth Street black business district, near where Mosaic Templars Cultural Center sits today, are also included in the guide. The building, which housed the Farun Restaurant (listed in the guide from 1949-1953), is one of the few West Ninth Street buildings of that era still standing today.


Although most of the businesses listed in the Green Book are no longer in operation, and many of the buildings are gone, a few still remain. One such place is the Latimore Tourist Home in Russellville. The Latimore is notable as it was the only accommodation listed in the book between Little Rock and Fort Smith. Today, the home still stands but has become derelict and condemned. Preserve Arkansas included the Latimore Tourist Home on its 2018 list of Most Endangered Places.

Below are photos of the pages containing the Arkansas entries in the 1949 edition of the Green Book. 


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Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, today named Bill Holimon as director of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC). Holimon had been serving as interim director since November, after former director Darrell Bowman left to take a position with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Holimon has worked for 18 years at ANHC, first as grants coordinator and later as chief of research. He is an ornithologist with 25 years of experience in science and conservation.

Holimon received a B.S. in biology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and an M.S. in biology from New Mexico State University. He previously worked for The Nature Conservancy in Texas on conservation of two federally listed endangered bird species. He has conducted extensive research in pine-spruce habitats throughout the Rocky Mountains, Alaska and other regions of North America. He currently is heading a project reestablishing a population of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Dryobates borealis) at Warren Prairie Natural Area in southern Arkansas. Prior to becoming a biologist, Bill received a B.S. in accounting and worked in that field for seven years.

“I am very pleased that Bill is officially stepping up to lead ANHC as director,” said Hurst. “His vast professional experience and his passion for the preservation of Arkansas’s very important natural heritage are great assets to our state’s conservation efforts.” ANHC manages an extensive database on biodiversity in Arkansas as well as 73 natural areas throughout the state.

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by Arkansas Tourism

Visitors can literally walk in the footsteps of civil rights history thanks to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which marked its one-year anniversary on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 21, 2019.

Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock is one of the “Top Ten” sites on the trail, which links the country’s most important civil rights sites: more than 100 landmarks, including museums, churches, courthouses and memorials that were pivotal to the advancement of social equality during the volatile 1950s and 1960s.

Other Arkansas sites on the trail are:

Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail
The trail marks sites in Little Rock that were significant to the Civil Rights Movement. It starts at the Old State House and will eventually end at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.

Clinton Presidential Center
The Presidential Library of Bill Clinton resides within the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. The library chronicles Bill Clinton’s presidency and includes replicas of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. On its grounds you can also find the Anne Frank Tree Exhibit that conveys the complex history of human rights in Arkansas.

Daisy Bates House
The home of Daisy Bates, who was president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP and liaison for the Little Rock Nine, was vandalized and bombed by those against integration. Her prominence as one of the few female civil rights leaders of the period was recognized by her selection as the only female to speak at the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. The home is also a National Historic Landmark.

Little Rock Nine Memorial
A trip to the Arkansas State Capitol is not complete without a stop at the Little Rock Nine Memorial, a testament to the nine African-American students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School.

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
The museum features exhibits on African-American entrepreneurs, innovators, fraternal organizations and racial integration. It also offers a variety of educational resources.

In addition to the Arkansas locations, the trail’s famous sites include the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., the Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth’s, where sit-ins began, the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., and King’s birthplace in Atlanta, Ga.

The website civilrightstrail.com profiles these landmarks and offers an interactive map, interviews with foot soldiers, past and present photographs and 360-degree video. Featured on the site is Little Rock resident Sybil Jordan Hampton, along with Katherine Sawyer of Topeka and Dorothy Lockett Holcomb of Farmville, who discuss their experiences during school integration after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education court decision.

The 12 state tourism agencies known collectively as TravelSouth USA, including Arkansas Tourism, created the trail list.

The U.S. Civil Rights Trail has been featured in The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph in London.

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Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH), announced today that site improvement projects at the Jacob Wolf House Historic Site in Norfork are scheduled to begin on Jan. 7. The Wolf House is the oldest public structure in Arkansas. It first served Izard County as a territorial courthouse from 1829-1835, then later served as the Wolf family home from 1835-1863. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Specific projects will include new restoration work to the territorial courthouse and John Wolf cabin, renovation to an older support facility to be used as a temporary visitor center, new parking lot overlays, a new ADA compliant walkway, new split-rail fencing bordering the property, renovation to the on-site boardwalk overlooking the White River valley, new lighting and security systems and new signage. Projects are scheduled to be complete in the spring. Work will be funded with a $292,500 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC), which funds projects for the acquisition, management and stewardship of state-owned properties.

“This work will make the site even more enjoyable for our visitors,” said Hurst. “We will be able to present weekly programs, tours and demonstrations of frontier life-ways, as well as conduct living history programs. Visitors can experience what life was like in early Arkansas.”

Site design work is under the direction of Jameson Architects, and the contractor for the site work will be Jones Consulting, Inc.

The Jacob Wolf House Historic Site was acquired from the Baxter County Quorum Court in March 2017. The property is owned by DAH and managed within the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) – a division of DAH.

The site is managed by Marlon Mowdy, (870) 499-0556, marlon.mowdy@arkansas.gov, who is on site Monday through Friday. The site will remain open, but visitors need to use caution while visiting the site during construction.

For more information, visit www.jacobwolfhouse.com or on Facebook at jacobwolfhouse.

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The Department of Arkansas Heritage will host a Holiday Open House at its three Little Rock museums on Dec. 2.

Each museum will be open to the public and offer an array of food, music, crafts and other entertainment. Admission is free, and a trolley will be available to take patrons between museums, as well as the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, at no charge.

Historic Arkansas Museum, 1-4 p.m.200 E. Third St., http://www.historicarkansas.org/events/2018-12-02-51st-annual-christmas-frolic

Enjoy hot cider and ginger cake and celebrate the holidays as it was done in the 1800s during Historic Arkansas Museum’s 51st annual Christmas Frolic. Living history characters will be on the grounds, and holiday shopping of Arkansas Made items will be available in the gift shop. Visitors can also enjoy blacksmith demonstrations, pioneer games and dancing.

Old State House Museum, 1-5 p.m.300 W. Markham St., http://www.oldstatehouse.com/events/holiday-open-house-2018

Visitors will find the Old State House colorfully decorated for the season, and local music groups will perform delightful carols. Fun, hands-on activities will be available to children; they can create unique holiday cards and more.

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, 2-5 p.m.501 W. Ninth St., http://www.mosaictemplarscenter.com/events/12-02-2018-holiday-open-house

The seventh annual “Say It Ain’t Say’s” Sweet Potato Pie Baking Contest will choose the best pies by both professional and amateur cooks. Listen to performances by local musical and dance groups while you sample each contestant’s pie.

Governor’s Mansion, 1-4 p.m.1800 Center St.,http://www.friendsofthemansion.org/upcoming-events

Gov. and Mrs. Asa Hutchinson will be present to greet visitors, who will be invited to tour the mansion’s elegantly decorated public rooms, which will be decorated in the theme of “An Arkansas Natural Christmas.” Refreshments will be served.

Since 1975, the Department of Arkansas Heritage has been committed to the discovery, preservation and presentation of our state’s natural and cultural heritage. The department accomplishes its goals through the work of eight agencies: Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

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