January 3, 1936 – groundbreaking for Museum of Fine Arts

On January 3, 1936, the ground was broken for the Museum of Fine Arts building in City Park.  The facility would face Ninth Street and be to the west of the Arsenal Tower Building.   That building was the one remaining structure of more than 30 which had populated the grounds when it was a federal military establishment.

Excavation for the building uncovered the foundation for another structure.  New footings for the Museum would be poured into the old footings.

The cornerstone would be laid in October 1936, and the building would open in October 1937.  The building would serve as the museum’s home until the new construction for the new Arkansas Arts Center began in 1961. That construction would enclose the original Museum of Fine Arts.  By that time, the City had long renamed the park in honor of General Douglas MacArthur, who was born there when it had been a military installation.

Subsequent additions to the Arkansas Arts Center over the decades have further expanded the museum’s footprint.  After the 2000 expansion, the original 1937 facade was featured prominently in a gallery, giving it more visibility than since 1963. With the Arkansas Arts Center undergoing a reimagining, the original 1937 facade will be maintained and re-exposed as an entrance to the building.

But it all began on January 3, 1936.

Sandwich in History at the Arsenal Tower Building in MacArthur Park today

Image may contain: sky, cloud, house and outdoorYou are invited to join the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s next “Sandwiching in History” tour, which will visit one of Little Rock’s oldest standing structures, the Arsenal Tower Building, now home to the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History on 9th Street in MacArthur Park in Little Rock beginning at noon on Friday, December 6, 2019.

This structure was built as part of a federal military installation. The U.S. Arsenal is the only building that remains of the more than 30 that made up the original installation. After 1892, the arsenal grounds became City Park and later MacArthur Park in 1942.

The two-story brick building displays a slight Gothic influence in a centered octagonal entry tower. Symmetrical east and west wings display two-story full porches. For several decades, the building was endangered, but the City of Little Rock undertook a renovation project in the 1930s. The U.S. Arsenal currently houses the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.

Sandwiching in History tours are worth one hour of AIA continuing education credit. If you would like to receive email notifications of upcoming tours instead of postcards or need additional information, please contact Callie Williams, Education and Outreach Coordinator for AHPP, at 501-324-9880 or Callie.Williams@arkansas.gov.

Author Hampton Sides discusses new book ON DESPERATE GROUND today

Image result for hampton sides on desperate ground"Join the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department as they welcome acclaimed journalist Hampton Sides at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.

Sides is best-known for his gripping non-fiction adventure stories set in war or depicting epic expeditions of discovery and exploration including the bestselling histories Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, Hellhound On His Trail, In the Kingdom of Ice, and, most recently, On Desperate Ground about the greatest battle of the Korean War.

He’ll be speaking about On Desperate Ground, which features Little Rock’s John Yancey, whose family shared his notes and letters with the author. Hampton will also be signing books.

The program begins at 12 noon.

It started with seven – a decade of the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden

The original seven sculptures. Clockwise from top left: Conversation with Myself; Straight and Narrow; Bateleur Eagle; First Glance; Sizzling Sisters; Cascade; and Full of Himself

After nearly a week of rain, the skies dried up and on Friday, October 16, 2009, the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden was dedicated.

Designed and created by the staff of the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department, the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden started with seven sculptures. These were purchased at the 2007 and 2008 Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sales.

The original seven were: Full of Himself by Jan Woods, Cascade by Chapel, Bateleur Eagle by Pete Zaluzec, Sizzling Sister by Wayne Salge, Conversation With Myself by Lorri Acott, First Glance by Denny Haskew, and Straight and Narrow by Lisa Gordon.

The sculpture garden was named after the Vogel Schwartz Foundation in recognition of its contributions to the project. The garden was dedicated on the afternoon of the preview party for the 2009 Show and Sale.

The Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden did not have seven sculptures for long. New pieces have been added every few months since then.  In 2017, an expansion was dedicated which doubled the size and allowed for larger pieces to be installed.  Today there are over eighty sculptures in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden and more than twenty elsewhere in Riverfront Park.

The 2020 Sculpture at the River Market “A Night in the Garden” party will take place on Friday, April 17, 2020, in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden.

BLACK HAWK DOWN: THE UNTOLD STORY is October’s Movies at MacArthur

Image result for black hawk down untold story

Black Hawk Down: The Untold Story presents the heroic efforts of soldiers from the 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division.  The movie will be shown tonight (October 15) at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.

These men demonstrated extraordinary courage, skill, and discipline as they fought their way into a “baited ambush” to rescue special operations forces pinned down at the crash site of Super Six-One while also attempting a rescue a the crash site of Super Six-Four. Two soldiers were killed and eighteen wounded in what many have described as the most ferocious urban combat since the Battle for Hue during the Tet Offensive in 1968.

The movie is this month’s Movies at MacArthur at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.  It starts at 6:30 pm.  The film series is presented in partnership with AETN, the Bruce Family Endowment, Stone’s Throw, and the City of Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department.

Special guest at the screening will be, Colonel Randall Larsen, USAF (Ret) who is the documentary’s Executive Producer/Director. He served in both the Army and Air Force for a combined total of 32 years of active duty military service and as military attaché at the US Embassy in Bangkok, the chief of legislative liaison at the US Transportation Command, and the commander of America’s fleet of VIP aircraft at Andrews AFB MD. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and 17 awards of the Air Medal (3 with “V” Device for Valor).

Admission is free. Popcorn and Beverages will be provided.