Little Rock came late to the preservation game, but the Historic Arkansas Museum, nee the Arkansas Territorial Restoration, works heroically to arouse pride in the state's history. A territorial-era tavern, houses and reconstructed kitchen and 1823 print shop will make history-loving hearts beat faster. The state's first newspaper, the Arkansas Gazette, was once cranked out on this block. None of this would exist without a couple of women who knew the men would let it go to ruin if not prodded. There's more to the HAM than hoop-rolling and stilt walking and dancing to "Picking Up PawPaws" (though there's plenty of that, too): The accompanying modern building holds several galleries, and if knives are your thing — they're Museum Director Bill Worthen's for sure — you'll like the gallery devoted to the Arkansas Toothpick, aka the Bowie Knife. The HAM has ardently collected Arkansas-made furniture, art, textiles and other artifacts and holds changing exhibits based on its collection and compatible objects that shine the light on a past that even our history teachers weren't sure was worth noting until recently. It gives a nod to the state's Indian past as well with its permanent exhibit "We Walk in Two Worlds," about the Caddo, Quapaw and Osage tribes from prehistory to today. Some of the things you'll see in the galleries: Camark pottery, Louis Freund oils, Josephine Graham folk art paintings, contemporary work, Disfarmer photographs, hunting horns, crazy quilts, the knife called the "Arkansas Toothpick," and more.
Frontier Arkansas history museum featuring exhibits of art and artifacts from territorial times to present and renovated and reconstructed 19th-century structures, including a tavern, kitchen, print shop and homes.