16 most important holdings of the Historic Arkansas Museum 

BLISSVILLE: A.R. Waud's sketch of freedmen's village in Little Rock, 1866.

BLISSVILLE: A.R. Waud's sketch of freedmen's village in Little Rock, 1866.

The Historic Arkansas Museum of territorial-era houses and attendant galleries (featuring both contemporary and historic artifacts) collects objects made in or important to Arkansas. Swannee Bennett, deputy director and chief curator for the museum, provided the following list, and, like his cohorts at the Arkansas Arts Center, just had to offer more rather than the 15 requested. Bennett added, "Gosh, this ain't fair. There are many, many more wonderful and unique pieces that we might cameo." (Bennett doesn't actually use "ain't" in speech, but it should be pointed out that it was perfectly acceptable English in the 19th century, which is the century Bennett inhabits, if not literally, then curatorially.)

In his words, the 16 most precious objects at HAM:

Any of the historic houses, of course.

Presentation flintlock rifle given to Arkansas's first state governor, James Conway, in 1836.

Coin silver spoons made in Little Rock by early silversmith Silas Toncray.

Portrait of Arkansas Post commandant [1787-1790] Bernard Joseph de Valliere de Hauterive, painted by famed New Orleans artist Jose De Salazar.

Portrait of John Drennen, founder of Van Buren and principal agent for Indian removal, painted by George Catlin in 1834-35 while in Van Buren.

Percussion rifle made by J.R. Robertson in Pulaski County in 1870.

One of the first "Bowie" knives, made by the original fabricator of the knives, James Black, in Washington (Hempstead County) before 1836.

Secession quilt made by Mrs. Green McPhearson of West Point (small town just east of Searcy) in 1861 as a patriotic gesture in support of Arkansas's secession from the Union.

Daguerreotype of Mr. and Mrs. Chester Ashley, probably Little Rock, photographer unknown, 1841-1842. Very rare.

Original handwritten deed to William Woodruff's first Arkansas Gazette print shop at Arkansas Post, 1819. 

Piece of chewing tobacco "stolen" from President Andrew Jackson by someone on Arkansas U.S. Sen. William Savin Fulton's staff, a fun item in the collection.

Original pencil sketch of "Blissville," the ex-slave or freedmen's village in Little Rock in 1866, by famed Civil War artist A.R. Waud.

Landscape painting of Little Rock riverfront looking across at Big Rock, 1919, by renowned American landscape painter Nicholas R. Brewer (father of Arkansas artist Adrian Brewer, grandfather of Arkansas artist Edwin Brewer, great-grandfather of Arkansas-born illustrator Audrey Wood).

Handmade silver and fused glass/ceramic "Elsa" necklace by Arkansas artist Elsie Freund, circa 1955. One of the many pieces of Elsie Freund's work we have in the collection.

Genre painting "The Chess Game" by Arkansas Traveler painter Edward Payson Washbourne, painted before 1860. Depicts Washbourne and his brothers, Josiah Woodward and Henry E. A., sitting around a table playing chess in their parents' home near Dardanelle.

Large NILOAK earthenware vase, swirl pattern, earliest known dated piece of this well-known pottery, incised "C.D.Hyten 3/23/[19]23." Hyten owned NILOAK pottery and was the creator of the swirl pattern.


From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Swannee Bennett


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • The ballad of Fred and Yoko

    How one of the world's foremost Beatles collectors died homeless on the streets of Little Rock.
    • Mar 31, 2016
  • 2016 Best of Arkansas editors' picks

    A few of our favorite things.
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • Visionary Arkansans 2016

    They make an impact.
    • Sep 15, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Latest in Cover Stories

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments


© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation