Faulkner County Museum to host open house Saturday

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Published October 26, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Eilish Palmer

Two Civil War markers will be dedicated during Saturday’s Holiday Open House at the Faulkner County Museum in Conway. One marker will be placed at the Cadron Settlement Park, and the other at the Oak Grove Cemetery. Showing the markers are, from left, Carol Powers, president of the Oak Grove Cemetery Board of Directors; Lynita Langley-Ware, director of the Faulkner County Museum; and Rebekah Bilderback, president of the Faulkner County Historical Society.

CONWAY — History will come to life Saturday during the Faulkner County Museum’s Holiday Open House.

There is no admission charge for the event, which will start at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m., but donations will be accepted.

Both the museum and the dogtrot cabin adjacent to the museum will be decorated for the season in a harvest theme.

“This is our 12th annual open house, and it just gets better and better,” said Lynita Langley-Ware, museum director. “We are so lucky to have a great group of volunteers who work to make the event a success.

“Traditional-skills demonstrations will include woodworking, needle arts, corn-husk-doll making, rope making, Dutch-oven cooking, blacksmithing, spinning and weaving,” Langley-Ware said. “We will also have someone demonstrating calligraphy.”

Students from the University of Central Arkansas’ STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Residential College will demonstrate some of those skills. Langley-Ware said the students have adopted the museum as a “community partner” and are doing a service-learning project.

Working with Kim Little, director of public history internships at UCA, and Faith Yarberry, resident master for the STEM Residential College, a group of about 20 freshmen will work in teams as they demonstrate some of the pioneer skills.

Courtney Stithem, a senior history major at UCA, will assist in all activities.

“They have prepared a menu for Dutch-oven cooking,” Little said. “They will make apple cobbler and chicken pie.

“They will also be demonstrating a number of crafts. We have a stitchery group that will show how to make a snowy owl or a cardinal using historical stitchery techniques. For the wee ones, we will use cardboard shapes with holes punched in them.

“The students will also show basket weaving and corn-husk-doll making. They will even have a small rope machine to show how to make ropes.”

Little said the students would have “make and take” activities for all ages. She said the students have made about 30 kits per project.

“We were able to get funding for this project through UCA’s EDGE (Educating for Diversity and Global Engagement) program,” Little said. “This grant paid for the supplies and food for our demonstrations.”

In addition to these activities, Langley-Ware said, there will be a special event this year.

“The Faulkner County Museum and the Faulkner County Historical Society will unveil and dedicate two markers — one to be placed at Cadron Settlement Park and the other at the Oak Grove Cemetery,” Langley-Ware said. “These markers will recognize events that took place in Faulkner County during and after the Civil War. This is in cooperation with the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission as the state commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War.”

A dedication ceremony for these markers will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Civil War Ensemble of the Conway Women’s Chorus will provide music.

“I am excited about the markers,” said Rebekah Bilderback, president of the Faulkner County Historical Society. “The society owns the blockhouse — not the land — and it is fitting that one of the markers be placed there.”

Carol Powers, president of the Oak Grove Cemetery Board of Directors, also talked about the marker’s location.

“I think this marker will enhance the image of the cemetery as a historical landmark and a travel destination for the city of Conway, Faulkner County and the state of Arkansas,” Powers said.

Langley-Ware said three garden clubs will decorate the dogtrot cabin for the season — the Town and Country Garden Club, the Conway Garden Club and the Conway Evening Garden Club.

“We are very excited to have the addition of the Conway Evening Garden Club to our project,” Langley-Ware said. “These clubs are very talented with decorating and arranging, using fresh and dried flowers and plants. Every year, I am amazed at their creativity.

“They will also be showcasing their crafts and cooking expertise with items for sale on the dogtrot porch.”

The traditional treats of hot apple cider, coffee and gingersnaps will be served on the dogtrot-cabin porch. The museum main building and the railroad-layout exhibit will also be open for touring.

The Faulkner County Museum is on the Courthouse Square at 801 Locust St. in Conway.

For more information, call the museum (501) 329-5918 or email fcm@conwaycorp.net.

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