WHEN THEY were published by the Historic Arkansas Museum in the early ’90s, the first two volumes of Arkansas Made were something to behold—unprecedented not only for their “survey of decorative, mechanical and fine arts,” but for the glimpse their pages offered of a shared past, the potential to realize a previously unmade connection. Nowadays, though a third volume is nearing publication, the modern era has opened other channels for a new generation to connect with its history—namely on the social media accounts of the Arkansas Made team. Although the format might look a little different, the tone more informal, the images clumps of pixels, the aim behind each post is the same as it’s always been: They all connect us to our shared history.


Courthouse & Ferry Landing

Hugo Arthur Preller, Oil on mussel shell, 1921

“To pass the long, dark evenings with our wee ones this winter, we’ve been painting the random ‘things’ we find on chilly neighborhood walks. They’re mostly frog-shaped rocks and sticks that could be swords. But it makes us think of the ever-resourceful Arkansas artist Hugo Arthur Preller, who painted unbelievably detailed Arkansas scenes onto mussel shells gleaned from the banks of the White River.”

Art Credit: Courtesy of Melanie Preller Alumbaugh

 


Averell Woodruff Reynolds (Tate) (1908-2003)

Photographer unknown, photographic print, ca. 1915

“This charming photograph depicts Averell Woodruff Reynolds, the great-granddaughter of William E. Woodruff, founder of the Arkansas Gazette. She appears as a fairy princess, with a ring of flowers in her hair, and a dress enhanced with shimmering stars and applied fairy wings at the back. She lived many years of her life in the Walters-Curran-Bell-House at 615 East Capitol Avenue, which is now Curran Hall, the Little Rock Visitors Center. Ms. Tate’s collection of artifacts and ephemera relating to her family’s rich history in Arkansas have been shown throughout the state, much of which resides in the collection of Historic Arkansas Museum. On the museum grounds you can now visit a faithful recreation of her great-grandfather’s print shop.”

Art Credit: Collection of Historic Arkansas Museum, (89.53.26)


U.S. Sen. Chester and Mary Ashley

Photographer Unknown, Photographic Print, April 29, 1848

“Only In Your State recently shared ‘the oldest photos ever in Arkansas.’ We see your photos and raise you one of THE oldest images taken in Arkansas, and it IS incredible: Chester and Mary Ashley! Taken prior to the U.S. senator’s death on April 29, 1848, by an unknown photographer. The first documented photographer active in Arkansas was C. P. Moore of Philadelphia, who introduced Arkansas to the art of photography in the spring of 1842.”

Art Credit: Collection of Historic Arkansas Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sterling Cockrill, (2014.28.1)

 


Tulip and Diamond

Mrs. John H. Crease, Pieced and appliqued quilt, 1850-1860

“Another bizarre Arkansas folkway—‘Shakin’ the Cat in the Quilt’: ‘Up in the Ouachitas Aunt Chat described another custom—one that is foundthroughout the Southern Mountains. When the new quilt was taken off the frame, ‘four of us would get ahold of the corners. And another one would have a cat. We’d begin to shake the quilt and they’d throw the cat in, and the one it run out by was gonna get to marry first.’ (From Nancy McDonough’s Garden Sass)”

Art Credit: Collection of the Historic Arkansas Museum, Gift of Mollie Walsh Estate, courtesy of Sue Walsh Campbell, (94.8.2)


 

Cabriole-Legged Table

Attributed to Francis Omer, Batesville, walnut and fruitwood, ca. 1860

“Francis Omer’s table resembles French influenced vernacular furniture of Creole Louisiana from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, perhaps a tie to Omer’s own upbringing in France and time spent in New Orleans before he moved to Arkansas.”

Art Credit: Collection of Historic Arkansas Museum, Gala Fund Purchase, (2012.65.3)

 


Parquetry Central Table

Inmates of Tucker Unit, walnut, pine, oak and ebony, 1925-1930

“This mosaic style, or parquetry table, was handmade in the Tucker Unit, a maximum-security prison and farm. The table was a gift to Tucker Unit Assistant Warden Mitchell in 1930 when he retired from the Arkansas penal system. In the 1930s, efforts to reform Federal prisons hinged upon having a system of inmate work programs. Inmate idleness was a concern for prison administrators. In order to keep inmates occupied, prison administrators would often create work assignments. Many inmates gained skills, such as wood-working, in such work programs.”

Art Credit: Collection of the Historic Arkansas Museum, Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council Grant Purchase, (2008.30)


 

Untitled, Seated Woman

Jenny Eakin Delony, oil on canvas, 1895-1903

“A true heroine in our world of Arkansas fine art, we praise Jenny [Eakin] Delony for her rise to national and international prominence as a painter, and for everything she did for the arts in our home state. We can only imagine the determination behind this woman born in Washington, Arkansas, who went on to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1896, the first year women were admitted for instruction. She returned to Arkansas to establish the first art degree program at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.”

Art Credit: Collection of Historic Arkansas Museum, Gift of Irene Morse, Diane Vibhakar, and Len Delony, (95.79.10)


Needlework Sampler

Nancy Graves (aka Ku-To-Yi), silk threads on linen cross-stitches, 1828

“This rare example of Arkansas Made needlework is the earliest documented Native American-made sampler known to existanywhere in the United States. Nancy Grave’s Cherokee name was Ku-To-Yi, and she was 11 years old when she made this sampler. She was one of dozens of young Cherokee girls who attended the Presbyterian school known as Dwight Mission, located on the banks of the Arkansas River near present-day Russellville. There they learned the three ‘R’s’ and the various aspects of domestic economy, which included needlework, and the making of samplers. Most samplers are constructed with three major components-the alphabet, numbers and verse. As a result, the student was taught to sew, spell, read and count.”

Collection of Historic Arkansas Museum, (2013.16.1)


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