Historic Arkansas Museum partners with UA Little Rock for new exhibit

Historic Arkansas Museum partners with UA Little Rock for new exhibit
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Historic Arkansas Museum
Thursday, February 03rd 2022
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From functional ladderback chairs to hand-carved headboards, 19th century Arkansans created wooden furniture to meet their needs and delight their senses. Over the past 200 years, skilled artisan trades like joinery and cabinetry have been in decline. Fortunately, many people still feel connected to wood as an artistic medium, and they aspire to build unique and durable objects.

To support these makers, the museum teamed up with UA Little Rock’s Applied Design program for a semester-long collaborative exhibit called “Dovetails/We Fit Together.” Professor Peter Scheidt’s beginning and advanced woodworking students toured Historic Arkansas Museum’s extensive collection to draw inspiration from historical objects such as a bootjack, a fancy chair, a corner cupboard and more.

“The partnership between Historic Arkansas Museum and UA Little Rock is a great way to connect today’s youth to lives of the past. The creativity and ingenuity of early Arkansans is something to be celebrated and preserved.” says Stacy Hurst, secretary of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

“Preserving Arkansas’s cultural history is part of the mission for the Division of Arkansas Heritage,” says Jimmy Bryant, director of the Division of Arkansas Heritage. “This collaboration helps inspire a new generation to explore the craftmanship of woodworking, which has been a part of Arkansas’s culture for over 200 years.”

Displayed at every stage from concept to completion, UA Little Rock woodworkers created pieces for this exhibit that include historical elements while reflecting their contemporary cultures, visions and skills.

“Historic Arkansas Museum is proud to show the works created by these talented students,” says Stephanie Haught Wade, executive director for Historic Arkansas Museum. “Encouraging students to find inspiration with historical objects ties the past and present together.”

Some students discovered the benefits of incorporating traditional joinery techniques to produce exceptionally strong and stable connections, while others amused themselves by examining items with unfamiliar forms and strange functions.

“Historic Arkansas Museum is delighted to have this special opportunity to collaborate with woodworking students in UA Little Rock's Applied Design program,” says Carey Voss, curator of exhibits for Historic Arkansas Museum. “By providing access to the museum’s collection, we’re able to bring Arkansas’s creative legacy full circle. Our curatorial staff is so impressed with the woodworking students and their unique interpretations of historical objects.”

The exhibit will be on display in the Trinity Gallery through May 22. For more information on this exhibit, visit www.historicarkansas.org.


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