Although it isn’t quite business-as-usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still ways you and your family can enjoy visiting Division of Arkansas Heritage sites across the state. Enhanced security procedures onsite and digital offerings are allowing visitors to easily explore at the level they feel most comfortable. From culture and history to roots tourism, learn more about what activities are available to you and your family both virtually and in person.
Historic Arkansas Museum
If you’re planning to visit Historic Arkansas Museum (HAM), be sure to check out their protocols and procedures before heading out. HAM is open to the public; however, they are not able to provide tours or host school groups. Instead, the museum has made the move to digital by offering several activities and demonstrations through worksheets and videos that can be accessed through the museum’s social media pages and website.
The museum has also shifted the way it hosts events. 2nd Friday Art, a popular monthly downtown Little Rock art walk, has been moved from in-person to online. Patrons can participate virtually in gallery walks, craft and cooking demonstrations, and live music. HAM was also able to conduct their first History is Served dinner of 2020 socially distanced and digital by preparing curbside meals and utilizing the video-conferencing service Zoom to host talks by Delta food experts and event organizers.
For more information about HAM, please visit their website at www.historicarkansas.org.
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) is also currently open to the public. MTCC is working hard to keep visitors safe – in order to help prevent the spread of the virus, MTCC has implemented temperature checks and space markers to make sure patrons can maintain safe distance. MTCC also implemented cleaning procedures and limited both staff and open hours to minimize risk. Group tours are currently suspended to help reduce the number of patrons, and kiosks have been turned off to limit surfaces that patrons could touch.
MTCC is also providing virtual experiences as an alternative to visiting the museum in person. This year, MTCC’s popular Juneteenth celebration was held entirely online and garnered around 20,000 attendees. As a part of their efforts to continue the collection and preservation of African American history, MTCC has created an online survey that allows Black Arkansans to participate in “Covid in Black: the African American Experience” remotely. More virtual experiences are in the works, including an opening reception for a new art exhibition in September.
Learn more and plan your trip by visiting their website.
Old State House Museum
The Old State House Museum (OSHM) is open to visitors and operating on limited hours, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 P.M. to 5 P.M. on Sundays. Learn more about planning your trip here.
For those looking for a virtual experience, OSHM connects with its patrons online through a weekly video series on Facebook called Conversation in the Gallery. Each week, two staff members chat about Arkansas history related to the museum’s artifacts and exhibits.
The museum has also created a virtual tour, giving patrons 360-degree views of the museum and its exhibits from the comfort of their own home. Staff also share weekly videos with fun programming for toddlers through the Virtual Little Beginnings Pre-K Program.
Arkansas State Archives
The Arkansas State Archives (ASA) highlights different treasures from its collections on social media with its weekly Visiting the Arkansas State Archives video series on Facebook. These guided virtual visits of the archives highlight the people and objects, like World War I-era rifles to a 19th-century herbarium, that give patrons a better understanding of Arkansas history.
For those looking to dive into their roots, the ASA is currently requiring appointments to access their research rooms. Call 501-682-6900 for reservations or for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, contact 870-878-6521. For the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives, contact 870-983-2633.
Delta Cultural Center
The Delta Cultural Center (DCC) located in Helena is currently open to visitors with limited hours. While most of the in-person activities have been canceled, the DCC has shifted many of its face-to-face offerings to digital events. This includes events such as the monthly Do It Yourself workshops offered by the center that are now live-streamed as a segment called “Crafts with Richard.” The DCC also made their Civil War artillery demonstration and reenactment available online to their Facebook audience.
The Peabody Award-winning King Biscuit Time Blues Radio Show has also found an online audience. Broadcast five days each week from the DCC’s Delta Sounds Studio and Gallery, the thirty-minute show is also broadcast daily as a Facebook live video, drawings listeners from as far away as Canada, England, and the Netherlands.
Up-to-date information on virtual and in-person events can be found on their Facebook page.
About Arkansas Tourism
Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, strives to expand the economic impact of travel and tourism in the state and enhance the quality of life for all Arkansans. The division manages 14 Arkansas Welcome Centers and employs more than 60 staff members across The Natural State. For more information, visit www.arkansas.com.