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Historic Arkansas Museum

The Historic Arkansas Museum is a historic site museum of Arkansas's frontier days. Five pre-Civil War houses, on their original block, are restored to antebellum appearances. The museum features an outstanding collection of Arkansas-made decorative, mechanical, and fine arts objects in six galleries. Louise Loughborough recognized in 1939, the historical significance of four shabby structures in a rundown area of Arkansas's capital city. On what was originally Block 32 of the city of Little Rock, some of the state's oldest buildings still stood. The Hinderliter Grog Shop was not only the oldest building in Little Rock, but it was also possibly the meeting place of the last Territorial Legislature. At another site on the block, the founder of the Arkansas Gazette (the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi) had lived and printed the paper during the 1820s and 30s. The stonemason who built Arkansas' first state house also built one of the homes on the block, and a fourth house was associated with the fifth territorial governor. After lobbying the Arkansas Legislature for funding to restore the buildings and have them preserved as the Arkansas Territorial Restoration. The museum formally opened in July 1941. For over 30 years it attracted a broad audience and was regarded as the primary interpreter of frontier history in central Arkansas. As one of the state's first restoration projects, the houses served as regional models for historic preservation. It became clear in the 1970s that the Restoration was evolving from a simple historic preservation project into a full-scale museum. In 1973, the Arkansas Territorial Restoration Foundation was created to oversee the Arkansas crafts store and to support the projects and programs of the museum. Historic Arkansas Museum houses the premier collection of paintings, furniture, silver, pottery, textiles and firearms made by Arkansas artists and artisans over the past two hundred years. Arkansas's largest history museum, Historic Arkansas has been researching, collecting, documenting, and preserving the best of Arkansas's decorative, mechanical, and fine art for more than two decades.