Capitol Summer Exhibit Unveiled: “Tales From the Vault”


Celebrating 110 Years of the Arkansas History Commission

LITTLE ROCK, Ark – June 17, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — This year, the Arkansas History Commission marks 110 years of collecting and preserving the source materials of the history of Arkansas with an online exhibit, “Tales From the Vault,” showcasing these state treasures.  The Capitol’s summer exhibit, of the same name, brings visitors face to face with some of these documentary gems, chosen by the Commission archivists themselves.

In 1905, the Arkansas History Commission was created by the General Assembly to be the official archives of the state, responsible for collecting, preserving and publishing historic records and other materials central to understanding the state’s history.  The brainchild of University of Arkansas history professor John Hugh Reynolds, the Commission had no physical seat until 1911, when Governor George W. Donaghey offered the Commission space in the new, as-yet uncompleted Capitol.  The Capitol would be the Commission’s home for the next four decades. During those years, under the direction of Dallas T. Herndon, the Commission would amass the core of its unequaled collection of Arkansiana.

“Tales From the Vault,” the Commission’s online offering, consists of 110 favorite items chosen by staff members, one for each year of the Commission’s service.  The Capitol installation features a wide sample of these staff choices, including minutes of the first meeting of the Arkansas History Commission, a headscarf worn by an Arkansas WOW (Woman Ordinance Worker) in a World War II-era defense plant, a rolling pin used in the household of early Arkansas missionary Cephas Washburn and a light-hearted letter penned by Washburn’s son, artist Edmond Payson Washbourne, while in camp during the Mexican- American War.  Two selections recall the Commission’s long history with the State Capitol: a souvenir of the Capitol’s November 1900 cornerstone laying, and the 1903 contract between the Capitol Commissioners and contractors Caldwell & Drake, for completion of the building by December 23, 1905.  Each item’s label offers detailed descriptions and information including archivists’ statements on why they chose each particular item for inclusion.

“Tales From the Vault,” the Capitol’s summer exhibit, is currently on view in the Capitol’s first-floor galleries, through Labor Day.

A video overview of the exhibit, produced by the Secretary of State’s Office can be viewed on YouTube:

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More Information:Click here for a photo gallery of the exhibit

Contact: Chris Powell | chris.powell (at) sos.arkansas (dot) gov | (501) 529-5441


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