2014 State Capitol Exhibits
See You at the Fair: 75 Years of the Arkansas State Fair
Seventy-five years ago, a group of forward-looking Arkansans revitalized
the dying, inactive Arkansas State Fair. The Arkansas Livestock Show
Association aimed to use the Fair to help Arkansans rethink farming, as
well as to create an occasion of “city and country” coming together and
passing a good time. Today’s Arkansas State Fair features the
time-honored mix of livestock, crafts, food, noise, music and fun.
The State Capitol salutes the Livestock Show Association’s 75-year tenure with its summer exhibit, See You at the Fair.
Created in collaboration with the ALSA and drawing on the collections
of the State Fair Museum, See You at the Fair tells the story of the
present-day fair and its predecessors, events held in Hot Springs,
Jonesboro and Little Rock’s Fair Park.
In 1938, after several years in
which no Fair was held, the Arkansas Livestock Show Association, led by
El Dorado oilman T.H. Barton, revived the event to encourage Arkansas
farmers to diversify with livestock, rather than continue to over- rely
on staple crops. The intent was serious, but the fair would be fun as
well: rodeos, competitions, amusements, “fair food” and celebrity
appearances were featured.
See You at the Fair artifacts include:
- Rare photographs
- Fair ribbons,
instruments autographed by stars who have appeared at the Fairgrounds’
famed Barton Coliseum venue
- The saddle presented to the Fair’s Rodeo
Queen of 1966
- A muslin “horse blanket” used to publicize the first
fair held in Hot Springs in 1906
- and much more!
The exhibit is on display in the
Capitol’s first-floor galleries now through Labor Day; building hours
are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on
Made Here: From Arkansas, for the World
The State Capitol's Spring 2014 exhibit examined products
manufactured in Arkansas with a look beyond the
agriculture, commodities and natural resources that are familiar to most Arkansans.
Made Here: From Arkansas, for the World highlighted a handful of roughly 3,000 Arkansas manufacturers whose products are made in Arkansas, destined for national and even global markets.
During the 1950s, state and local
governments began to actively court manufacturers, touting Arkansas’s
work force, a favorable tax and financial climate and a location with
good access to both materials and markets. The Arkansas Industrial
Development Commission, created in 1955, helped “sell” Arkansas to
producers. Over time, many factories and assembly shops have closed,
but others continue to open. Currently about 163,000 Arkansans work in
manufacturing, and in 2012, their output was valued at nearly $16
Made Here profiled
the histories of six of Arkansas’s major manufacturers, including Daisy
Outdoor Products, Baldor Electric, Remington Arms, American Railcar
Industries, Ranger Boats and Alliance Rubber. Images and items supplied
by these companies helped tell their stories and illustrated the output of
their Arkansas operations.
These include small arms ammunition and components from Remington and the prototype for Daisy’s 2015 Red Ryder 75th
anniversary commemorative edition airgun. Alliance Rubber of Hot
Springs supplied what may be the exhibit’s most eye-catching single
item: a dress adorned with literally thousands of varicolored rubber
bands. A pair of long-bill scissors commemorated
one of Twentieth-century Arkansas’s pioneering manufacturers, Solid
Steel Scissors of Fort Smith.
Touring Exhibit— Arkansas's Champion Trees
Selected works from Arkansas Champion Trees: An Artist’s Journey
were on display in the Lower-Level Gallery of the Arkansas State
Capitol in February 2014. The statewide touring exhibit features the drawings and
documentation of selected Arkansas champion trees by Hot Springs artist
Linda Williams Palmer.
The exhibit explores Arkansas’s natural and artistic heritage and
inspires viewers to celebrate the beauty that can be found in their own
backyards. The complete exhibit consists of 18 large colored pencil
drawings, detail drawings, and photo-documentation of depicted trees;
due to space constraints, the Capitol installation includes nine of
Palmer’s striking drawings. The artwork is accompanied by short
anecdotes and stories to encourage multi-generational conversations, and
informative text panels and a full-color brochure designed to inspire
visitors to learn more about Arkansas forests, history, art and science.
The public can find exhibit information, educational materials and related links to forestry and natural resource programs at www.ChampionTreesExhibit.com.
Arkansas Champion Trees: An Artist’s Journey was made possible
through contributions by Champion Sponsors Plum Creek Timber Company,
Domtar, and the Williams-Palmer Family; Medalist Sponsors Robyn and John
Horn; and individual. This program is supported in part by the Arkansas
Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and by
the National Endowment for the Arts.
The artist’s research and artwork are highlighted in a documentary
produced by the Arkansas Educational Television Network. The program
will premiere on February 20; Capitol visitors can view a preview
version in the Capitol’s first-floor audiovisual area during the
exhibit's run. An educator’s guide and additional teacher resources are
available to enrich the exhibit’s educational emphasis.
Arkansas Champion Trees: An Artist’s Journey is organized for travel by the Arkansas State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
The Arkansas State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the
Arts is an advocacy organization for Arkansas women artists on the
national level by organizing representation in the museum in Washington,
D.C. In the state, the Committee advocates for Arkansas women artists
on the state level by sponsoring juried exhibits, awarding scholarships
and paid internships to artists and students, and providing an
informative web site with an artists’ registry. Since 1991, the
Arkansas Committee has exhibited the work of over 500 Arkansas women
artists in Washington, D.C., Germany, and throughout the state. For more
information about the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of
Women in the Arts, visit acnmwa.org.
SELECTED CHAMPION TREES IN EXHIBIT
1. Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoids), Co-champion, Crawford County, Van Buren
2. Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Arkansas County, White River Refuge, Ethel
3. American Holly (Ilex opaca), White County, Rosebud
4. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Miller County, Texarkana
5. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), “Guardian of the Fallen” (Confederate Cemetery), Washington County, Fayetteville
6. Cherrybark Oak (Quercus pagoda), Phillips County, Lexa
7. Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), Independence County, Batesville
8. White Oak (Quercus alba) “Council Oak”, Yell County, Dardanelle
9. Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata), Ashley County, Hamburg
Special Exhibit — Arkansas African American Legislators 1868-1893
Arkansas African American Legislators, 1868-1893,
is a traveling exhibit produced by the Arkansas History Commission and
Black History Commission of Arkansas. It was displayed at the
Arkansas State Capitol throughout February 2014.
The exhibit highlighted the
85 African-Americans who served in the Arkansas General Assembly during
the last half of the nineteenth century. In 1868, Arkansas adopted a new
constitution; its provisions included the right to vote and hold public
office for black males. African American lawyers, merchants, ministers,
educators, farmers, and other professionals served in the Arkansas
Including photographs of
46 of the 85 legislators, the exhibit also included a complete listing of the
legislators and a short history of post-Civil War and election law
“reforms” that effectively ended African Americans’ election to
legislative positions until the 1970s.