A Circus Hitched to a Tornado

A Circus Hitched to a Tornado: Arkansas Politics in the 20th Century showcases many items from the Old State House Museum’s extensive collection of Arkansas political memorabilia including vintage campaign buttons and signage, photographs, clothing, and the personal effects of many of the state’s most notable politicians. The exhibit divides the state’s political history into several distinct eras, and examines 20th century Arkansas politics by focusing on the state’s most important politicians and the elections that cemented their place in history.Over the years, Arkansas elections have been full of drama, excitement and even scandal. And while campaigns more often revolved around personalities than policies, the choices that voters made over the years profoundly shaped our history and public persona. Our state’s political legacy is powerfully demonstrated in the Old State House Museum’s exhibit, A Circus Hitched to a Tornado: Arkansas Politics in the 20th Century, at the Old State House Museum through October 25, 2009. The title is taken from a Saturday Evening Post reporter’s description of Hattie Caraway’s whirlwind canvass of the state with powerful Louisiana politician Huey Long for her U.S. Senate campaign in 1932.

Exhibit Curators

Noted Arkansas political scholar Jay Barth and respected journalist Ernest Dumas serve as co-curators for A Circus Hitched to a Tornado: Arkansas Politics in the 20th Century. Barth is a professor of politics at Hendrix College and the co-author, with the late Diane Blair, of Arkansas Politics and Government: Do the People Rule? Dumas has written about Arkansas politics for over forty years, first as a reporter and opinion columnist for the Arkansas Gazette, and currently with the Arkansas Times.