LR Women Making History – Peg Newton Smith

While the Culture Vulture remains a huge fan of Peg Newton Smith, it is better for this entry to be taken from a tribute written by her longtime friend Bill Worthen.

Peg Newton Smith was a pioneer in the field of history and historic preservation.  A founder of both the Arkansas Museums Association and the Quapaw Quarter Association, Little Rock’s historic preservation organization, she served as a significant resource for many local history researchers and historians.

Born February 10, 1915, Peg Smith came from a family deeply engaged in Arkansas history. Two Arkansas counties – Newton and Hempstead – are named after ancestors.  She married George Rose Smith, himself from a prominent Arkansas family, in 1938. Peg Smith became his most vigorous supporter as George Rose Smith was elected and  reelected to the State Supreme Court, ultimately offering 38 years of service as Associate Justice.

She  enjoyed a sixty-two year career as a volunteer at the Historic Arkansas Museum, where she served as Commission Chair from 1978 to 1983. On the museum’s first day, she was dressed in period garb as a volunteer.  She was named Chair Emerita of the Commission in 2002. Her commitment to history has also included decades of service on the Mount Holly Cemetery Association Board of Directors, where she was famous with Mary Worthen for tours of the cemetery, often hot items at charity auctions.

Because of her instrumental work for the Arkansas Museums Association and the Quapaw Quarter Association, both organizations named significant annual awards after her. She was appointed to the inaugural Review Committee of the State Historic Preservation Program and with architect Edwin Cromwell was the first Arkansan named to the Board of Advisors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She was appointed to the Arkansas Bicentennial Commission, was elected president of the Junior League of Little Rock, was a founding member of the Board of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas, and was active in the Pulaski County Historical Society.  She also was an early supporter of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.

She was honored by many groups, being named 1967 Greater Little Rock Woman of the Year by the Arkansas Democrat, Shield of the Trojan Award winner from the UALR Alumni Association in 1979, Fellow of the Museum of Science and History in 1981, and Candlelight Gala Honoree of the Historic Arkansas Museum in 1994. She became the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas Museums Association in 2003.

Peg Newton Smith died on July 20, 2003.

Because of her love of Arkansas history and Arkansas art, the Historic Arkansas Museum commissioned the pARTy for Peg sculpture which dances near the north entrance to the museum.  pARTy for Peg is not a portrait of our dear friend—it is a sculpture inspired by her spirit. It had been her brainchild for the museum to have a separate gallery devoted to contemporary Arkansas artists. She also founded the Museum Store, filled with Arkansas crafts.

New HAM exhibit looks at 75 Years of the museum

75thbannerHistoric Arkansas Museum, a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, will host a free opening reception for the museum’s 75th anniversary exhibit A Diamond in the Rough: 75 Years of Historic Arkansas Museum during 2nd Friday Art Night from 5 to 8 pm. The reception will feature a vintage cocktail from 1941, the year the museum was founded, live music by the Delta Brass Combo and a unique 75th anniversary Living History performance featuring portrayals of museum founder Louise Loughborough, as she campaigns the historic structures that are now preserved on the museum grounds, as well as Senator Ed Dillon and Governor Bailey. Refreshments will be available, including the vintage cocktail Millionaire No. 1 which was popular in 1941 – the year Historic Arkansas Museum was founded.

A Diamond in the Rough: 75 Years of Historic Arkansas Museum

Experience 75 years of Historic Arkansas Museum, beginning with the ambitious Louise Watkins Loughborough whose one-woman campaign succeeded in the founding of the museum in 1941. The museum, now a gem of Arkansas history and culture, began as a diamond in the rough; a half-block of dilapidated historic homes—the last remnant of Little Rock’s oldest neighborhood. Loughborough’s passion and vision saved these historic structures and the subsequent contributions of architects and preservationists such as Max Mayer, Ed Cromwell, Parker Westbrook and others succeeded in making Historic Arkansas Museum the historic landmark and vibrant cultural institution it is today.

The anniversary exhibit is a celebration of the museum’s commitment to preserving and exhibiting objects and artworks that illuminate Arkansas’s rich and varied cultural heritage. Learn more about the contributions of pioneering community leaders, reflect on milestones in the museum’s development over 75 years and see many of the most important pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. This exhibit continues in the Horace C. Cabe Gallery through February 2017.

Currently on exhibit:

Historic Arkansas Museum is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the galleries and parking are free; admission to the historic grounds is $2.50 for adults, $1 for children under 18, $1.50 for senior citizens. The Historic Arkansas Museum Store is open 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Historic Arkansas Museum is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, which was created in 1975 to preserve and enhance the heritage of the state of Arkansas. Other agencies of the department are Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

Free field trip programs to Historic Arkansas Museum for any Arkansas school in 2016, funded by Bill Worthen Future of History Fund

Historic Arkansas Museum is celebrating its 75th diamond anniversary by offering free educational field trip programs to any school in Arkansas that comes to the museum in 2016. This project will be funded by the Bill Worthen Future of History Fund which is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of Arkansas history lovers.

Historic Arkansas Museum provides a variety of engaging and interactive field trip programs throughout the year in addition to popular annual programs such as the Spring and Fall School Fairs and the Before Freedom program in February during Black History Month.

Educators can begin the reservation process by submitting a field trip request form.  To learn more about participating in this program, educators are invited to contact the museum’s director of education, Joleen Linson or call 501-324-9351.

Each year schoolchildren from around the state come to the museum and experience history first hand. Some churn butter—with amazement, as they learn that butter doesn’t come from the grocery store. Others imagine themselves as early Arkansans, travelling west and deciding what to bring with them, in our Packing to Go program. Students leave knowing more about their own history and they leave inspired.

Museum History

What is now a showcase for Arkansas’s history, art and heritage began as a diamond in the rough—a half-block of dilapidated historic structures. Thanks to the efforts of pioneering preservationist Louise Loughborough the museum opened on July 19, 1941, as the Arkansas Territorial Capitol Restoration. Click here to watch the museum’s 75th Anniversary film produced by Cranford Co.

Following Loughborough’s foundational leadership, prominent architect Ed Cromwell led the museum through an era of growth that made the museum an anchor of a once declining downtown Little Rock. In 1972, the museum hired its first professional staff and Bill Worthen was hired as the first executive director, a title he has held for more than 40 years. Worthen made his first goal gaining museum accreditation— a complicated and rigorous process that he and museum staff pursued for nine years, achieving accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 1981 making the museum the first accredited history museum in Arkansas.

Worthen also developed and expanded the log house farmstead on museum grounds that has been central to education programs and he led the museum through its most profound expansion which culminated in the 2001 opening of the Museum Center, a project which doubled the size of the previous visitor reception space with 10,000 square feet of exhibits, a theater, a hands-on history classroom, an entrance atrium with views of the historic grounds and other amenities. Other developments under Worthen’s leadership include but are not limited to: development of the ongoing #ArkansasMade research project, the museum’s popular Living History Program, Giving Voice dedicated to those enslaved on what is now museum property, the growth of popular events such as the Christmas Frolic, Territorial Fair, Frontier Fourth of July and 2nd Friday Art Night exhibit openings, and the museum’s achievement of Smithsonian Affiliate status which made possible the opening of the Smithsonian partnership exhibit, “We Walk in Two Worlds: The Caddo, Osage and Quapaw in Arkansas.”

Countless visitors have witnessed Bill Worthen’s passion for Arkansas history and even more across the world have been impacted by his scholarly research and publications, often in partnership with deputy director and chief curator Swannee Bennett, on the subjects of Arkansas-made material culture, the Arkansas Traveler, the Bowie knife and more. As Worthen plans his retirement for the end of 2016, the Bill Worthen Future of History Fund seeks to pass on his passion for Arkansas history to future generations for decades to come.

Memory Share

The museum is seeking stories and memories from visitors as a part of the 75th anniversary celebration. Everyone is invited to share their memories and stories of their experiences at the museum by emailing Chris Hancock, tagging Historic Arkansas Museum on Facebook, or tagging @HistoricArk on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #HAM75.

Currently on exhibit:

Historic Arkansas Museum is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the galleries and parking are free; admission to the historic grounds is $2.50 for adults, $1 for children under 18, $1.50 for senior citizens. The Historic Arkansas Museum Store is open 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Historic Arkansas Museum is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, which was created in 1975 to preserve and enhance the heritage of the state of Arkansas. Other agencies of the department are Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

 

130 years of Cromwell Firm focus of Old State House Museum Brown Bag lecture today

OSH Brown BagJoin the Old State House Museum at noon on Thursday, December 3, for a Brown Bag Lunch Lecture led by Dan Fowler, Chief Operating Officer at Cromwell Architects Engineers, as he speaks about the influence and history of 130 years of Cromwell.
The talk is in support of the current temporary exhibit at the Old State House Museum, “Lost + Found.”
“Lost + Found” highlights eight different projects completed or renovated by Cromwell during its 130 year history. These include projects in Little Rock (Little Rock City Hall, the Federal Reserve Bank Building and 615 Main Street), North Little Rock (St Joseph’s Home for Children), Pine Bluff (the Temple Building and the Pines Hotel) and Hot Springs (the de Soto and Majestic Hotels). Many of these structures were designed by Charles L. Thompson, one of the founders of Cromwell and one of the most-known and prolific architects in Arkansas in the 20th century. “Lost + Found” ends December 11.
The talk is free and participants are encouraged to bring a lunch. Soft drinks and water are provided.

 

Today at noon – Bill Worthen discusses Historic Arkansas Museum for Butler Center Legacies & Lunch

Bill-Worthen_K0A4687-webAt Legacies & Lunch, Bill Worthen, director of the Historic Arkansas Museum, will discuss the museum’s history, placing emphasis on Louise Loughborough, founder of the museum, and Ed Cromwell, who led the museum after Loughborough’s death.

Worthen, a Little Rock native, is a graduate of Hall High School and Washington University, St. Louis. After teaching high school in Pine Bluff for three years, Worthen became director of what was then known as the Arkansas Territorial Restoration in 1972. In 1981, the organization became the first history museum in Arkansas to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. The museum was renamed the Historic Arkansas Museum in 2001 to reflect its expanded facility and mission. Worthen’s current research interests are the bowie knife, sometimes called the Arkansas toothpick, and the Arkansas Traveler, in its many forms.

Legacies & Lunch is free, open to the public, and supported in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. Programs are held from noon-1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. For more information, contact 918-3033.

“Lost + Found: Saving Downtowns in Arkansas” exhibit by Old State House Museum and Cromwell firm runs through December 11

The Old State House Museum and Cromwell Architects Engineers present a new exhibit: “Lost + Found: Saving Downtowns in Arkansas.” The exhibit will highlight eight different structures in Arkansas and raise awareness of the need for the preservation of Arkansas’s architectural heritage, and will be on exhibit for four weeks from November 13, 2015, until December 11, 2015.

“This exhibit takes a close look at eight pieces of Arkansas’s architectural heritage; some of those are in dire need of preservation, and others are outstanding examples of restoration and creative reuse,” said Bill Gatewood, Old State House Museum director. “The Old State House Museum is a natural venue for this exhibit, as the repository of the drawings of Charles L. Thompson and as one of the state’s earliest historic preservation success stories.”

“Lost + Found” highlights eight different projects completed or renovated by Cromwell during its 130 year history. These include projects in Little Rock (Little Rock City Hall, the Federal Reserve Bank Building and 615 Main Street), North Little Rock, (St Joseph’s Home for Children) Pine Bluff (the Temple Building and the Pines Hotel) and Hot Springs (the de Soto and Majestic Hotels). Many of these structures were designed by Charles L. Thompson, one of the founders of Cromwell and one of the most-known and prolific architects in Arkansas in the 20th century.

The Old State House Museum will also host several programs to showcase the exhibit. “Lost + Found” will take center stage on Second Friday Art Night at the Museum on Friday, November 13. The Museum will be open until 8 p.m. for the opening of the exhibit. On Thursday, December 3, at noon, Dan Fowler of Cromwell will present a Brown Bag Lunch Lecture chronicling his firm’s 130 year history. The Museum will also release articles weekly on its blog which will enhance the information provided in the exhibit. Admission is free to the Museum and all events.

About the Old State House Museum The Old State House Museum is a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and shares the goal of all seven Department of Arkansas Heritage agencies, that of preserving and enhancing the heritage of the state of Arkansas. The agencies are Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and the Old State House Museum.

About Cromwell Architects Engineers

Cromwell Architects Engineers is an international client-focused, integrated building services firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Celebrating its 130th anniversary in 2015, Cromwell is committed to the state of Arkansas and its people, who have been the foundation for its success. For more information, visit online at cromwell.com.

About Abandoned Arkansas

Abandoned Arkansas is dedicated to preserving Arkansas’ most precious history that may be on the verge of being lost forever. Through photography, video, articles and an active social media presence, Abandoned Arkansas documents the stories that go along with each structure. Online at abandonedar.com.

Legacy of LR architect Ed Cromwell to be discussed tonight

CromwellTonight the Architecture and Design Network will host a panel discussion on the legacy of longtime Little Rock architect Ed Cromwell.
The panelists are:
  • Charles Penix, Chief Operating Officer, Cromwell Architects and Engineers
  • Bill Worthen, Director, Historic Arkansas Museum
  • Don Evans, architect and associate of the late Ed Cromwell

Chris East is the program’s moderator.  It will take place at 6pm at the Arkansas Arts Center, following a reception at 5:30pm.

After working at various jobs during the early years of the Depression, Ed Cromwell, who graduated from Princeton in 1931 with a degree in architecture, moved to Little Rock in 1935 to take a position with the  Resettlement Administration. After a year with the agency, he left to devote full time to the practice of architecture, a career which spanned forty-eight years, from 1936 to1984. Cromwell, who remained active in the community after his retirement, died in 2001, leaving a legacy that continues to impact people’s lives.

There would be no Maumelle if it hadn’t been for Cromwell’s vision of a planned community on the 5,000 acres of land owned by Jess P. Odum, an Arkansas businessman and insurance executive. The Capital Hotel might have been taken out by the wrecker’s ball if it hadn’t been for his determination to save the historic structure. An advocate for the city’s riverfront development, he understood its importance long before others did. He championed historic preservation and  chaired the commission of the Arkansas Territorial  Restoration (now the Historic Arkansas Museum). Cromwell Architects and Engineers, the firm he founded, has to its credit the design of many public buildings and facilities throughout the state and beyond.

The three panelists will explore Cromwell’s legacy as a creative architect, a visionary planner and a champion of  historic  preservation. Architecture and Design Network (ADN) lectures are free and open to the public. For additional information, contact ardenetwork@me.com.

ADN’s supporters include the Arkansas Arts Center, the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture, the Central Section of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and friends in the community.