Isaac Hayes is topic of Old State House Museum Brown Bag lecture today

Some people would remember Isaac Hayes Jr. as a songwriter. He won an Academy Award for the musical score for “Shaft, and “Soul Man” (written with partner David Porter) was one of the most influential songs of the 20th century.

Some people would remember Hayes as a soul singer. His solo albums “Hot Buttered Soul” and “Black Moses” topped the R&B Charts.

Some would remember Hayes as an actor from his roles in “Truck Turner,” “Escape from New York,” “It Could Happen to You,” “Rockford Files” and others. He also voiced the part of Chef in “South Park.”

Arkansan Chris Cockrell, who worked as Hayes’ producer and road manager in the 1990s and early 2000s, remembers Hayes as a grandfatherly figure. “I really admired the man. [Hayes had] integrity and honesty in a business where that isn’t the norm.”

Cockrell is going to share some of his favorite stories about the versatile entertainer during a special Brown Bag Lunch Lecture at 12 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14.

Admission is free. Guests are welcome to bring their lunch, and the Old State House Museum provides drinks.

Tonight for 2nd Friday Art Night, the Old State House Museum shows MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS

Image result for meet me in st louis"Meet them at the Old State House Museum during #2ndFridayLR on Friday, Nov. 8., for a free showing of “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

This Judy Garland classic tells about the heartbreaks and triumphs of the Smith family in St. Louis as they eagerly prepare for the 1904 World’s Fair.

During the #2ndFridayLR event is a great chance to explore the new fair-themed exhibit, “80 Blue Ribbon Years: Cotton to Cattle” and their returning exhibit, “Our Fair Ladies.”

Free Admission! Snacks and alcoholic beverages are also free.

Big Boo!-seum Bash tonight

Sponsored by the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB), Big Boo!-seum Bash will take place Thursday, October 24, 2019, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM. Hosted by the Greater Little Rock Museums and Attractions Consortium, the event will feature 14 partners at nine downtown attractions.

Big Boo!-seum Bash is a free, family-friendly event that provides people the opportunity to visit many of Little Rock’s museums and cultural attractions for a night of safe trick-or-treating and family fun and games. Visitors are encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes.

“The Big Boo!-seum Bash was created to provide the public free access to our great local museums and cultural attractions. It’s a great family-oriented event in secure locations that people of all ages enjoy,” said Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO Gretchen Hall. “It’s a perfect time to visit an attraction possibly for the first time, or re-visit one that you haven’t been to in a while,” she added.

Prize Information:

Printed by Target Printing & Office Centre, game cards will be provided at each participating Boo!-seum location. Get your card stamped at each participating location to be eligible for prize drawings. Entry instructions are printed on the game cards. Prize entrants must be 18 years of age or younger. Prizes include:

  • Grand Prize – Electronic Tablet. Visitors must visit all nine locations to be eligible.
  • Second Prize – $100 gift card. Visitors must visit seven or more locations to be eligible.
  • Third Prize – Goody basket with items donated by LRCVB, NLRCVB and Boo!-seum Bash participants.
  • Social Media Prize – Special Boo!seum Goody basket. Entrants must tag #LRBooseum on Facebook and/or Instagram for drawing eligibility.

2019 Big Boo!-seum Participants Include:

  • Arkansas Arts CenterNEW location: Terry House Mansion, 411 E 7th St
    • Central Arkansas Library System will participate on-site
    • Central Arkansas Water will participate on-site
  • Heifer International – 1 World Ave
  • Historic Arkansas Museum – 200 E 3rd St
  • Little Rock Visitor Center at Historic Curran Hall – 615 E Capitol Ave
  • MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History – 503 E 9th St
    • Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum will participate on-site
  • Mosaic Templars Cultural Center – 9th St and Broadway
    • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site will participate on-site
  • Museum of Discovery – 500 President Clinton Ave
    • Central Arkansas Library System will participate on-site
  • Old State House Museum – 300 W Markham St
    • Arkansas Secretary of State will participate on site
  • Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center – 602 President Clinton Ave

October 2FAN at Old State House Museum – Runaway Planet

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This month’s musical guest for 2nd Friday Art Night at the Old State House Museum will be Runaway Planet, the 2019 Bluegrass Artist of the Year winner at the Arkansas Country Music Awards!

You’ll love the sound of the band’s unique “mix of hard-driving bluegrass, three-part harmonies, complex arrangements and original songs.”

Free Admission!

State Fair Preview is theme of October’s Old State House Night at the Museum!

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Come get a taste of the Arkansas State Fair at Nights at the Museum on Thursday, Oct. 3!

Food trucks will be at the Old State House Museum selling your fair favorites, like corn dogs and funnel cakes. You can also play carnival games for FREE and win prizes! Nights at the Museum is for adults 21 and older, so you get the fun of the fair … without having to keep track of the kids.  As always, adult beverages will be available to purchase.

Nights at the Museum takes place on the museum’s iconic front lawn on the first Thursday of each month seasonally, March-October. (In case of inclement weather, the event will be indoors at the museum.)

Arkansas State House Society – Friends of the Old State House Museum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting OSHM and its programs, hosts the Nights at the Museum. The society invites young professionals to come early for a networking opportunity from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

General admission starts at 6 p.m. and costs $5; food and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets may be purchased in advance at or at the gate.

The museum can validate parking at the DoubleTree hotel; metered parking near the hotel is free after 6 p.m.

Bill Clinton announces for Presidency on October 3, 1991

The Clintons following his remarks.

On October 3, 1991, Governor Bill Clinton strode out the front doors of the Old State House Museum and announced his intentions to seek the 1992 Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States.

(While Clinton was a major fan of JFK, it is doubtful he realized that his announcement took place on the 28th anniversary of JFK speaking in Little Rock.)

Clinton was the fifth major Democrat to announce for the office. That there were that many by early October was somewhat surprising considering that the first half of 1991 saw many national Democrats announce they were NOT seeking the office.

Jerry Brown, Bob Kerrey, Paul Tsongas, and Tom Harkin were also in the race.  Clinton was seen as a centrist, along with Senator Kerrey while the others were viewed as being from the far-left wing of the Democratic Party.

In its coverage of the announcement, The New York Times noted the significance of Gov. Clinton’s remarks on race.  In the speech he referenced his desire to strengthen relations and remove barriers between the races.  As the Times pointed out, it was at the Old State House that Arkansas held two conventions on the issue of secession prior to the state’s entry into the Civil War.

At the time of the announcement, Gov. Clinton was far from a front-runner. His national profile was probably the lowest of any of the announced candidates. Most of the knowledge of him outside of Little Rock came from his lengthy speech about Michael Dukakis at the 1988 Democratic Convention and the subsequent appearance on “The Tonight Show” where both he and Johnny Carson poked fun as his loquaciousness.

Regardless of their views on his chances, the Governor’s family, friends, and fans packed the front lawn of the Old State House to cheer him.  The national media treated him as a serious, albeit largely unknown, candidate.  After having had Wilbur Mills, Dale Bumpers and others flirt with running and then backing out, the local media were probably thrilled to finally have someone from Arkansas actually running for the presidency.

One local media outlet would not see much of the campaign. Just fifteen days later, the Arkansas Gazette would close. As a paper which had covered nearly two decades of his career, the Gazette was often Clinton’s champion, though the paper was not afraid to point out times the two differed.  However, there would be no Gazette headline about Clinton in New Hampshire, at the Democratic Convention, or a general election victory.

On Election Day in 1992 and again in 1996, Bill Clinton would repeat the stride out the front doors of the Old State House accompanied by his wife and daughter.  Those two times the crowds would spill down the streets in all directions. Instead of a handful of media outlets there would be scores of them.

But it all started on a sunny autumn day in Little Rock in early October 1991.

Sept. 25, 1839 – Roswell Beebe receives title to all land in Little Rock

Map showing boundaries of original City of Little Rock

On September 25, 1839, businessman (and future mayor) Roswell Beebe received title to all of the land in Little Rock.

Starting in the 1810s, there had been much dissension as to who had title to land in what would become Little Rock.  As the settlement developed into a town and city, these disagreements became greater. Often land speculators would sell land to settlers without having the right to do so.

Coming to Little Rock in 1835, Beebe was a witness to the continued uncertainty over land ownership.  In early 1839, he acquired 240 acres which had the only incontestable title in town. This acreage comprised most of Little Rock. He went to Washington DC in 1839 and, on September 25, received the original patent for the town of Little Rock, signed by President Martin Van Buren. It is recorded in the Pulaski County recorder’s office Book L, page 312.

Upon his return, Beebe gave all the people who had bought lots from a certain real estate developer, whom he considered to be fair and honest, title to their land for a dollar. In December 1839, he drew up a plan for Little Rock, laying off blocks and streets. He deeded the streets and alleys to the city for a dollar.

He gave the state the title for the land on Markham Street, where the new capitol building (now the Old State House Museum) was located.  He also donated part of the land for Mount Holly Cemetery, the other portion came from his brother-in-law Chester Ashley.