The Arkansas State Archives, along with archives across the U.S., will celebrate the work of archives and archivists during Archives Month this October.
“The Arkansas State Archives is instrumental to preserving Arkansas’s heritage, cultural identity and history,” said Julienne Crawford, interim director. “The month of October traditionally has been set aside as a way to raise awareness about the importance of archival collections and the work our staff do. In honor of Archives Month, the Arkansas State Archives will host several events, including a symposium celebrating the bicentennial of Arkansas becoming a territory.”
The Arkansas State Archives’ duties include preserving historical documents, artifacts and materials, providing research resources and equipment, creating educational programs and material for teachers, digitizing records and holding workshops and lectures. Archives Month is meant to recognize and raise the public’s awareness about the Arkansas State Archives and the importance of historic documents and records, Crawford said. The Arkansas State Archives has celebrated Arkansas Archives Month, as part of the national event, since its creation in 2006.
As part of Arkansas Archives Month, the State Archives will present “1819-1836: A History of Territorial Arkansas” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History in Little Rock. Special speakers at the symposium include: Theo Witsell, chief of research and inventory of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, who will discuss the Thomas Nuttall exploration of Arkansas; Dr. Charles Bolton, history professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, who will present “Federal Aid and the Infrastructure of Arkansas Territory;” Callie Williams, education outreach coordinator with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, who will talk about Territorial era buildings; and local author and historian Gary Pinkerton, who will talk about Trammel’s Trace.
The Arkansas State Archives’ traveling exhibit, “Territorial Arkansas: The Wild Western Frontier,” will be on display at the event. Teachers can earn up to four professional development hours by attending. The event is free and lunch is provided, but reservations are required by Oct. 20. To make reservations, visit archives.arkansas.gov or call 501-682-6900.
Also as part of Archives Month, Melissa Nesbitt, archival manager of the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives, will present a free genealogy workshop from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at Queen Wilhelmina State Park. This workshop is a great opportunity to learn the basics of researching family history. Reserve a ticket before Oct. 3 at www.facebook.com/events/671170546626934/.
The Arkansas State Archives will participate in national “Ask An Archivist Day” for the general public via Twitter on Wednesday, Oct. 2, and Electronic Records Day on Thursday, Oct. 10. The National Archives also will host a virtual Genealogy Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
“We encourage Arkansans statewide to investigate their Arkansas roots and family stories and to discover the trove of historical artifacts, material and records our Arkansas State Archives holds,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism and state historic preservation officer. “Join us in celebrating your Arkansas State Archives.”