CONWAY — The Faulkner County Museum will host its 17th annual open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The public is invited, and there is no admission charge, although donations will be accepted.
Lynita Langley-Ware, museum director, said this year’s event will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Arkansas becoming a territory, which occurred on March 2, 1819, by an act of Congress. According to the website encyclopediaofarkansas.net,
Faulkner County was established in 1873, but early European explorers were in the area about 1772 as they traveled along the Arkansas River, and fur trader John McElmurry lived in the area around 1810 where Cadron Creek empties into the Arkansas River near today’s Cadron Settlement Park.
“The museum really doesn’t have much in the way of artifacts from 1819, but we do have the dogtrot log cabin itself, which dates to the 1850s,” Langley-Ware said. “We also have a bedspread woven in the 1840s and furniture from the 1870s.
“Many of our living-history skills that will be demonstrated on Saturday date or predate the territorial period. Those include rope-making, blacksmithing, quilting, hominy-making, open-fire cooking and hand sewing, as well as fur trapping and trading, and candle dripping.”
Langley-Ware said this year’s event will feature several new things:
• A public weaving project, which will be set up outside on the museum grounds for people to come by and weave a ribbon or strand of material into the “loom,” which is made of chicken wire.
“We may leave it outside for a time period or we may move it into the museum as an indoor project,” Langley-Ware said.
• A campsite set up by members of Boy Scout Pack 435 from Greenbrier.
• Information about a time capsule that was buried on the courthouse grounds in 1973, to be opened in 2073 to celebrate Faulkner County’s bicentennial anniversary.
• A life-size painting of a Butterfield Overland Mail Stage, which may be used as a backdrop for re-enactors to perform skits or for patrons to have their photographs taken.
“We’re also anticipating a Dutch-oven cook-off,” she said. “If that does not happen, we will at least have Dutch-oven demonstrations and tastings.”
Langley-Ware said University of Central Arkansas students in Kimberly Little’s 2302 history class, America in the Modern Era: U.S. History since 1877, have researched local families that farmed and settled in the area as part of the UCA History Service-Learning Project.
“They will present panels of information on some of these families,” Langley-Ware said. “UCA students will also demonstrate punched-tin art, corn-husk dolls, quilt blocks, handmade brooms, weaving, both yarn and paper, and handmade sheep toys.
“The toys are special. They are made from wool shorn from sheep at the Faulkner County Museum during the 2015 Sheep to Shawl event. The toys, one of a kind and limited in number, are each named for a person living in Faulkner County during the 1870s and are for sale at $5 each.”
Other demonstrations at the open house will include making hand-made quilt pieces, by Sophia Ware of Greenbrier; making rag dolls, by Faith Palmer and Chloe Farrell; and making quilts by hand, by Barbara Schenk of Greenbrier; needlework and fine embroidery by Christine Hays of Conway; and bread making by Monte and Karen Munyan of Conway.
Langley-Ware said the open house will be the last opportunity for patrons to get their choice of a Toad Suck Daze penny from the Penny Press machine.
“The folks at Toad Suck Daze donated the machine to us this year, but we are retiring three of the four Toad Suck Daze designs that are impressed on the coin,” she said. “We are keeping one Toad Suck Daze design but have ordered three new designs — the Springfield-Des Arc Bridge, the Faulkner County Museum Key and a Missouri-Pacific steam engine. Those designs should be available soon.”
Langley-Ware said the dogtrot log cabin “will be decorated in early-Arkansas style.”
“Members of the Conway Garden Club and the Town and Country Garden Club decorate the cabin each year,” she said.
There will also be a craft and bake sale at the dogtrot cabin, with proceeds benefiting a scholarship fund sponsored by the Town and Country Garden Club.
Other organizations participating at Saturday’s event include the Faulkner County Master Gardeners, the Faulkner County Historical Society, the Conway League of Artists and the Pine Street Museum.
“We will offer our almost-famous hot apple cider, gingersnaps and coffee … all free of charge,” Langley-Ware said.
“We will have live music by Tim Trawick, who has been known to play his fiddle all day long,” she said. “And the trains will be running, as usual, on the second floor of the museum.”
The Faulkner County Museum is at 801 Locust St. on the Courthouse Square in Conway. For more information, call (501) 329-5918. More information is also available on the Museum’s Facebook page.