Museum Receives Grant

Old Independence Regional Museum is please to be the recipient of a grant to support a new community outreach education program developed by the museum for the 2009-2010 school year.  This program has been created to encourage public schools to take advantage of the regional educational opportunities that the museum has to offer.  The grant is designed to fund a tour of the museum for 100 students from each of the 12 counties that the museum represents:  Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff.  The tour offered to these schools includes our standard tour:  Depression Era Back Porch, Shawnee Town, Region on the Move, and Living off the Land.

The Back Porch exhibit explores what life was like for people in our region during the Great Depression.  At this station we talk about “making do” and how families and communities worked together to survive. The child’s role during this time in history is emphasized. In the Shawnee Town exhibit we examine how the Shawnee farmed, trapped, and traded in what is current day Yellville.  There are several hands-on elements to this room, including animal pelts that students can feel and identify. Our 1940s Springfield Wagon is one of the main focuses of our Region on the Move tour.  Students always find it fascinating to calculate the amount of time their trip to the museum would have taken in the wagon versus their school bus.

Our newest exhibit is, “Living off the Land – Season by Season.”  Students get to see how people used the land to meet many of their needs.  In the spring portion of the exhibit, we discuss planting and students can try their hand at seed identification at our electronic seed board. By the fall of 2009 we will be ready to show students the harvesting of crops, and the winter segment will feature hunting and trapping.

The tour also includes our free, add-on program “19th Century Toys and Games” and a trip to the Gift Shop.

“This is a program that we have wanted to implement for over a year, and now a donor has granted us the funds to do it.  We are so excited to be able to offer this opportunity to our region’s schools, and hope that they will take advantage of the generous contribution of our funder,” stated Amanda Nikkel, Volunteer and Education Coordinator.

The grant fund will be administered by the museum and schools from the museum’s 12-county region are invited to apply for a portion of the grant funds.   Please contact Amanda Nikkel or April White at 793-2121 for more information about the program or to obtain and application form for your school.

“Our hope is that this program will be a huge success, and we will continue to offer and expand it from year to year,” said Nikkel.

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 located at 380 South 9th street, between Boswell and Vine Streets in Batesville.