Explore Arkansas Rocks

Old Independence Regional Museum will host a program titled “Arkansas Rocks!” on Sunday, October 27 at 2 p.m.  Sandra Chandler, the featured speaker on the program, is the Educational Outreach Geologist for the Arkansas Geological Survey.

Chandler described what her program contains, “It will include looking at the minerals and rocks which are of economic value in our state. We will take a close look at minerals that are the building blocks for rocks – all rocks are composed of minerals. We will learn some names and uses for minerals that we use everyday and even eat! We’ll see, touch and taste unique rocks in our state, and discuss how we use them. You will be amazed by some of their uses, their beauty, their shapes and colors.”

A few 2-rock and 12-rock packets will be given away by Chandler, who received her Bachelor of Science in geology from Arkansas Tech University and her Master of Science in geology from the U of A in Fayetteville.

Officially, Bauxite is the Arkansas state rock, and quartz is our state mineral, while the diamond is Arkansas’ state gem.  Other rocks or minerals number in the hundreds, including novaculite, gypsum, galena, limestone, and the list goes on.

Twyla Gill Wright, museum exhibit curator, invites whole families to come to this “hands on” program. “All my life I have loved cracking open rocks to find what surprises may be inside,” said Wright. “I guess that is why I minored in geology during college days. I have found that most children have a natural interest in rocks, and some of us adults never lost our childhood fascination of them. If you have a rock or fossil you would like identified, bring it to the program!”

The program will be free and open to the public. Normal museum hours are: 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.

Old Independence is a regional museum serving 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 1820’s Arkansas territory.