Arkansas’ frontier history is on display at Historic Arkansas Museum in downtown Little Rock. A museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, Historic Arkansas Museum (or HAM as it affectionately known) works as both a history and a historic site musem to preserve and interpret the early history of Arkansas. Bill Worthen, whose roots in Arkansas go back to the 18th century, serves as Executive Director of HAM.
A centerpiece for HAM is the tours of four restored early 19th century structures. Guided tours are offered daily on the hour, except noon. The structures are the Hinderliter Grog Shop, the Brownlee House, the Woodruff Print Shop and the McVicar House. Across the street from the original block, there are also the Plum Bayou Farm House and the 1850s Farmstead. The newest structure is the Blacksmith Forge.
While perhaps best known for its historic houses, HAM is home to a variety of galleries with exhibits. Among its galleries are exhibits of Arkansas Art (in the Trinity Gallery for Arkansas Artists), the Sturgis Children’s Gallery, the Knife Gallery and the Horace C. Cabe Gallery. Currently the Cabe Gallery is host to Reel to Real: Gone with the Wind & The Civil War in Arkansas which examines not only artifacts from the Academy Award winning film, but juxtaposes them with artifacts from Arkansas life during the Civil War. The exhibit We Walk in Two Worlds tells the story of the first Native Arkansans, the Caddo, Osage and Quapaw Indian tribes from early times to today.
On Saturdays in October, HAM is playing host to “Step Back Saturdays: At the Forge.” The Step Back Saturdays program takes place each Saturday from March through October. This month’s theme is “At the Forge.” Programs are at 10:45, 11:45, 1:45, 2:45 and 3:45.
On Sunday, October 23, HAM will offer its members a Pie Party from 2pm to 3:30pm. For more information on becoming a member and supporting all of HAM’s endeavors, call 501-324-9351.
Historic Arkansas Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. There is no cost to tour the galleries, but tours of the historic structures range from $1 to $2.50.