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Capitol Exhibits  

A taste of our history is represented in the fascinating quarterly exhibits at the Capitol. From seeing the actual medical instruments used in surgery in rural Arkansas to instruments used in making Ozark folk music, there's always an interesting bit of Arkansas history to see. Our quarterly exhibits are presented in four enclosed galleries on the Capitol's first floor. Permanent exhibits are located on the third and fourth floors. Be sure to stop by as a bonus to your Capitol tour!

Quarterly exhibits

Now Showing:
See You at the Fair — 75 Years of the Arkansas Livestock Show

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 weekends.

Past revolving exhibits:

Permanent Exhibits

     A Capitol in Progress 

      This exhibit, located in the Lower Level 
      elevator lobby, features rare
      photographs taken at a crucial time in
      the construction of the Arkansas State
      Capitol. The work of Little Rock
      photographer Thomas B. Rayburn, the
      image document the condition of the
      structure in 1910 as a new governor
      and a new architect took charge of the
      struggling project to guide it to
      completion.

Building Forever: The Construction Story of the Arkansas State Capitol

Featuring historical photographs, blueprints, cartoons and newspaper articles, this exhibit chronicles the construction history of the Capitol, along with a look at 20th century governors and their impact on state and national events. The exhibit is located in the northwest hallway of the third floor.

Call of Duty: Arkansas at War

Explore Arkansas’s role in Major U.S. Conflicts and discover stories about our state’s heroes. View memorials to Desert Storm and Pearl Harbor veterans. The exhibit and memorials are in the fourth floor east corridor.

Legislative Photo Composites

Looking for a relative who served in the Arkansas legislature? Composite photographs of each legislative session since 1911 are located on the third and fourth floor hallways. House of Representative composite photographs are on the north ends of the third and fourth floors; Senate photos are on the south ends of both upper floors. Photos are in chronological order with the newer photos located on the third floor and the older photographs on the fourth floor.

Mentors & Models
This exhibit highlights the lives of social justice and civil rights advocates Daisy and L.C. Bates, and the making of Testament, a monument on the Capitol grounds honoring the Little Rock Nine. It is located in the north foyer on the first floor of the State Capitol, overlooking the monument.

Standing for Arkansas

Learn the history behind the official symbols of Arkansas. Located in the west corridor of the fourth floor, this exhibit is fun for all ages.

Through the Years By the Numbers

See how the state's people and industries have changed from territorial days to today. A timeline of major events in Arkansas history is coupled with population s changes since the 1820s. The timeline and narrative depict landmark events since Europeans first explored the region in the 1500s, how Native American cultures shifted and the progression of agriculture and industry through today. Located in the southeast corner of the Capitol’s fourth floor.


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