A new exhibit five years in the making is set to be unveiled at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock during a grand reopening celebration weekend starting Dec. 1.
“This update to the museum’s permanent gallery represents a new chapter in the story of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and its mission to preserve and protect Black history in Arkansas,” said Quantia “Key” Fletcher, director of Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. “Visitors will be presented with an enriching experience that details Arkansas’ African American history, which is immersive and interactive. At the exihibit, visitors will have the sense that they too are part of that history and will be encouraged to share their thoughts on how we can work together to build a better future for everyone.”
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is located at the corner of Ninth and Broadway, in the middle of what was once a flourishing African American business district in the city. The center honors Arkansas’ African American history, including the story of the Mosaic Templars of America, which was founded in Little Rock in 1883.
The unveiling of the new exhibit takes place in a milestone year for the center. This year marks a 15 year anniversary for the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and 140 years for the Mosaic Templars of America.
“It is incredible to think that two formerly enslaved people, John Bush and Chester Keats, began the Mosaic Templars of America, and that over 150 years later we are still thriving,” said Fletcher. “The Mosaic Templars of America grew to be one of the largest Black-owned businesses in the world, and even though the original mission has changed, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is still working as an agency of protection and preservation for Black history and culture.”
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is the first publicly funded museum of African American history and culture in Arkansas and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The center is a recreation of the original Mosaic Templars of America headquarters that was built here in 1913.
The center’s new exhibit will be unveiled during the 140/15 Grand Reopening Celebration Weekend. The weekend starts with a Trailblazers Luncheon on Friday, Dec. 1, at 11 a.m., followed by a Trailblazer’s Day Party from 2-6 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 2, a Harlem Nights on 9th Gala takes place from 7-10 p.m. and includes a preview of the new exhibit as well as cocktails, a casino night, music, food and more. Sunday, Dec. 3 marks the center’s official grand reopening celebration in conjunction with their annual Holiday Open House. This takes place from 1-5 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For more details on these events visit arkansasheritage.com/mosaic-templars-cultural-center.
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is located at 501 W. Ninth Street and is free and open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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.
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum of Arkansas Heritage, is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and celebrating African American history and culture in Arkansas. Arkansas Heritage is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. You can reach the museum at 501-683-3593. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is located at 501 W. Ninth St., Little Rock.
Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism
The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism protects and promotes our state’s natural, cultural and historic assets, contributing to a thriving economy and high quality of life. It is made up of three divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism.