Donald W. Reynolds Library to host Territorial Arkansas exhibit

Another traveling exhibit is coming to the Donald W. Reynolds Library. “Territorial Arkansas: The Wild Western Frontier” will be on display beginning Friday and continuing through Nov. 4.

The exhibit tells the story of the Arkansas Territory and consists of 15 panels exploring its history through the collections of the Arkansas State Archives, the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives in Powhatan and the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives in Washington.

Arkansas State Archives Director Dr. David Ware will present a live lecture via Zoom in conjuncture with the exhibit. The lecture is open and available to the public, and participants can join by using the Zoom link on the calendar at baxlib.org.

On March 2, 1819, President James Monroe signed a congressional act establishing the Arkansas Territory from the southern portion of the Missouri Territory. It was a wild frontier of the western edge of the United States, where politicians settled debates by deadly duels. Formerly a colony of France and Spain, the land became part of the United States in 1803 as a portion of the Louisiana Purchase.

After its creation, the Arkansas Territory had an influx of settlers establishing small communities and isolated homesteads. Territorial and county governments were set up, businesses were opened, and workers of different trades moved to the territory.

The Arkansas Territory initially included current-day Oklahoma, but the land was reduced to its current size in 1828 through changes in boundary lines and the relocation of Native Americans further west. Arkansas was admitted to the Union as its 25th state on June 15, 1836.

“Territorial Arkansas: The Wild Western Frontier” was produced in part by a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, funded by the Arkansas Real Estate Transfer Tax. To learn more about the Arkansas State Archives and its collections, go online to archives.arkansas.gov.

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