Celebrate the fall season with Old Independence Regional Museum at the 7th annual Fall Family Day, on Saturday, October 19th from 10am to 2pm. The event is free and open to the public. This year’s program features “Arkansas’ Wild Past” with special programming from Rodney Paul of Raptor Rehab of Central Arkansas, who will be bringing owls, hawks and a falcon, James Gage and his wolves, and the Arkansas Game and Fish mobile aquarium. Other programming will include Powhattan State Park interpreter, Mary Buchman who will demonstrate Dutch Oven Cooking and Lake Charles State Park interpreter Krystal Watson who will talk about the fur trade and keel boats on the White River.
“Arkansas’ Wild Past was our most popular program of 2012, and we are excited to bring back many of the presenters from last year and once again shine the spotlight on Arkansas’ natural history,” states Amanda Nikkel, humanities educator. New to the program this year is the Arkansas Game and Fish mobile aquarium. The aquarium will be parked in front of the museum, with an educator present to talk about native species to our rivers.
Rodney Paul of Raptor Rehab and his “raptor ambassadors” will be attending the event and speak to the public about raptors and their importance to our ecology. Raptor Rehab of Central Arkansas was established in 2004 and to date has successfully released over 600 raptors back into their natural habitat. They are one of only three facilities in the state that can legally handle eagles. Paul states, “We specialize in the pre and post medical care, rehabilitation and eventual release of our native birds of prey consisting of hawks, owls, falcons and vultures back into the wild.”
In addition, Museum visitors will have a chance to meet James Gage and his “ambassador” wolf Shadow. Gage states, “For some reason, wolves have been scaring people for centuries.” He goes on to say that folklore and depicts wolves as animals to be scared of and notes that early settlers often felt threatened by wolves and tried to kill them off as they developed land. “Indians had a very spiritual connection with their surroundings, and viewed wolves as their brothers,” according to Gage who feels that the world is a better place with wolves, who help keep the ecosystem in check. Gage will be accompanied by Shadow, a full blooded wolf and Bailey a female hybrid.
Mary Buchman, an interpreter from Powhatan State Park, will be onsite with her Dutch oven demonstrating its use. She will be making one of the most common breads in a settlers’ diet – biscuits. Learn about the technique to cooking with a Dutch oven and sample some of her delicious biscuits with homemade butter.
Keelboats were long, narrow boats with a keel, which provided stability, and were used by fur traders to transport goods up and down local rivers. Unlike flatbottom boats, keelboats could make the trip back up the river. Krystal Watson, an interpreter from Lake Charles State Park, will talk about the keelboat’s use during the heyday of the fur trade in our region, when Arkansas was still a territory.
This humanities program is made possible by local support from Independence County and the City of Batesville, as well as by Challenge Grant Endowment funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Old Independence serves a 12-county area: Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff. Parts of these present-day counties comprised the original Independence County in 1820s Arkansas territory.
The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for seniors and $1.00 for children. The museum is located at 380 South 9th street, between Boswell and Vine Streets in Batesville. During your visit, stop by our gift shop. We stock many items from local artists, authors, and crafters, as well as historical toys and games.