Winter 2023 to Summer 2024
The exhibit honors the work of Kent Bonar, a scientific illustrator whose parents and grandparents instilled in him a deep love for the natural world. His dedication to learning and nature drove him to seek greater knowledge and understanding of Arkansas's flora and fauna.
Kent Bonar carried an atlas of Arkansas's flora, compiled by Dr. Edwin Smith, with him on expeditions into the state's forests and wilderness areas, and when he found a lack of visual illustrations of the native plants, proceeded to create his own. These exquisitely detailed drawings are the result of his devotion to Arkansas's natural world, as well as his gift to all of us. The exhibit also features framed specimens of some of the plants that Bonar illustrated. The Old State House Museum partnered with Theo Witsell, chief of research for the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) and curator of the ANHC Herbarium, to frame the plant specimens. Witsell and Bonar worked together to select species that were either dependent, uncommon, rare or indicative of high-quality forested habitat.