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2014 State Capitol Exhibits 

Christmas Exhibit:  Living Colors

Retired teacher Mrs. Mary E. Swift's rare and extensive doll collection was on display at the Capitol through the end of December.

Mrs. Swift’s well-loved and cared for collection includes hundreds of black dolls from antique to modern, American-made and foreign, representing African Americans plus the black populations of Europe, the Americas and Africa itself. There are many rare and renowned dolls in this collection.

"I started this collection because I wanted little black girls to feel good about themselves, to know that people around the world appreciate them and their culture," said Mary Swift.

Highlights of the display include a selection of vintage jointed composition dolls, a papier-mâché –headed doll dating to the mid-19th century, a selection of Byron Lars-designed collectable Barbies and a family of doll house-scaled figures made in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). One display case is given over to black Kewpies; their creator, Rose O’Neill, created black versions of the Kewpies before 1920, including them and sympathetic portrayals of black children in her ladies’ magazine pages.

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 inwhich no Fair was held, the Arkansas Livestock Show Association, led by El Dorado oilman T.H. Barton, revived the event to encourage Arkansasfarmers to diversify with livestock, rather than continue to over- relyon 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!

Made Here:  From Arkansas, for the World

The State Capitol's Spring 2014 exhibit examined productsmanufactured in Arkansas with a look beyond theagriculture, 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 localgovernments began to actively court manufacturers, touting Arkansas’swork force, a favorable tax and financial climate and a location withgood access to both materials and markets. The Arkansas IndustrialDevelopment Commission, created in 1955, helped “sell” Arkansas toproducers.  Over time, many factories and assembly shops have closed,but others continue to open. Currently about 163,000 Arkansans work inmanufacturing, and in 2012, their output was valued at nearly $16billion.

Made Here profiledthe histories of six of Arkansas’s major manufacturers, including DaisyOutdoor Products, Baldor Electric, Remington Arms, American RailcarIndustries, Ranger Boats and Alliance Rubber. Images and items suppliedby these companies helped tell their stories and illustrated the output oftheir Arkansas operations.

These include small arms ammunition and components from Remington and the prototype for Daisy’s 2015 Red Ryder 75thanniversary commemorative edition airgun.  Alliance Rubber of HotSprings supplied what may be the exhibit’s most eye-catching singleitem: a dress adorned with literally thousands of varicolored rubberbands.  A pair of long-bill scissors commemoratedone of Twentieth-century Arkansas’s pioneering manufacturers, SolidSteel Scissors of Fort Smith. 

Touring Exhibit:  Arkansas's Champion Trees

Selected works from Arkansas Champion Trees: An Artist’s Journeywere on display in the Lower-Level Gallery of the Arkansas StateCapitol in February 2014.  The statewide touring exhibit features the drawings anddocumentation of selected Arkansas champion trees by Hot Springs artistLinda Williams Palmer.

The exhibit explores Arkansas’s natural and artistic heritage andinspires viewers to celebrate the beauty that can be found in their ownbackyards.  The complete exhibit consists of 18 large colored pencildrawings, detail drawings, and photo-documentation of depicted trees;due to space constraints, the Capitol installation includes nine ofPalmer’s striking drawings. The artwork is accompanied by shortanecdotes and stories to encourage multi-generational conversations, andinformative text panels and a full-color brochure designed to inspirevisitors 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

Arkansas Champion Trees: An Artist’s Journey was made possiblethrough contributions by Champion Sponsors Plum Creek Timber Company,Domtar, and the Williams-Palmer Family; Medalist Sponsors Robyn and JohnHorn; and individual. This program is supported in part by the ArkansasArts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and bythe National Endowment for the Arts.

The artist’s research and artwork are highlighted in a documentaryproduced by the Arkansas Educational Television Network. The programwill premiere on February 20; Capitol visitors can view a previewversion in the Capitol’s first-floor audiovisual area during theexhibit's run. An educator’s guide and additional teacher resources areavailable 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 theArts is an advocacy organization for Arkansas women artists on thenational level by organizing representation in the museum in Washington,D.C.  In the state, the Committee advocates for Arkansas women artistson the state level by sponsoring juried exhibits, awarding scholarshipsand paid internships to artists and students, and providing aninformative web site with an artists’ registry.  Since 1991, theArkansas Committee has exhibited the work of over 500 Arkansas womenartists in Washington, D.C., Germany, and throughout the state. For moreinformation about the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum ofWomen in the Arts, visit

  • Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoids), Co-champion, Crawford County, Van Buren
  • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Arkansas County, White River Refuge, Ethel
  • American Holly (Ilex opaca), White County, Rosebud
  • Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Miller County, Texarkana
  • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), “Guardian of the Fallen” (Confederate Cemetery), Washington County, Fayetteville
  • Cherrybark Oak (Quercus pagoda), Phillips County, Lexa
  • Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), Independence County, Batesville
  • White Oak (Quercus alba) “Council Oak”, Yell County, Dardanelle
  • 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 theArkansas State Capitol throughout February 2014.

The exhibit highlighted the85 African-Americans who served in the Arkansas General Assembly duringthe last half of the nineteenth century. In 1868, Arkansas adopted a newconstitution; its provisions included the right to vote and hold publicoffice for black males. African American lawyers, merchants, ministers,educators, farmers, and other professionals served in the ArkansasGeneral Assembly.

Including photographs of46 of the 85 legislators, the exhibit also included a complete listing of thelegislators and a short history of post-Civil War and election law“reforms” that effectively ended African Americans’ election tolegislative positions until the 1970s.

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