1897 UFO Sightings in Arkansas topic of Old State House Brown Bag Lecture today at noon

On Thursday, October 15, at noon, at the Old State House Museum, Brian Irby of the Arkansas History Commission will tell the story of one of the first waves of UFO hysteria that swept through the nation for a Brown Bag Lunch Lecture.

Between 1896 and 1897, the country was in the grips of what was one of the first major panics created by sightings of strange objects in the sky. Less than a decade before the Wright Brothers would fly the first powered flight, newspapers around the country began reporting on sightings of an airship, spotted in the wild.

In April of that year, the unidentified flying object stories came to Arkansas. In April, railroad conductor Jim Hooton told the Arkansas Gazette that he had seen the airship while hunting and provided a sketch to the paper. Just a few weeks later, mounted deputies near Hot Springs said they “noticed a brilliant light high in the heavens,” and drew their Winchesters on a man they said was traveling in an airship.

Brian Irby has a BA and MA from the University of Central Arkansas. He has been on staff at the Arkansas History Commission since 2008 as an archival assistant where he works on educational programs.

Admission is free, and attendees are welcome to bring a sack lunch. Soft drinks and water are provided.

The Old State House Museum is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Learn about some historic late night killings in the safety of daylight at Old State House

OSH logoAs part of the ongoing Brown Bag Lectures, today the Old State House Museum features “On the Hunt For the Texarkana Moonlight Phantom”

In 1946 a number of murders and assaults were committed late at night in and around Texarkana. The unknown killer was nicknamed by the press the “Moonlight Phantom.” Thirty years later, Arkansas filmmaker Charles B. Pierce loosely based his film The Town That Dreaded Sundown on these incidents. For a special Halloween edition of Brown Bag Lunch Lectures, Brian Irby of the Arkansas History Commission will talk about this spooky, unsettling case that has remained unsolved for almost 70 years.

It will take place starting at noon today at the Old State House Museum.


Vintage Military Vehicles on display by MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

vintagevehicleThe MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is hosting its 2nd annual vintage military vehicle show on the museum’s front lawn in MacArthur Park.

The event will feature Jeeps and other vehicles from members of the Arkansas Military Vehicle Preservation Association.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, Brian Irby, Archival Assistant at the Arkansas History Commission, will present a program on Camp Pike at 1:00 p.m. inside the museum.

The vehicles will be on display from 9am to 3pm.