Preserve Arkansas, Historic Arkansas Museum Present Behind the Big House

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Friday, February 02, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, ARK.—Preserve Arkansas, in partnership with the Arkansas Humanities Council, Black History Commission of Arkansas, and Historic Arkansas Museum, a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, is proud to present “Behind the Big House” on March 23, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and March 24, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Historic Arkansas Museum, 200 E. Third Street, Little Rock. The Behind the Big House program moves beyond the “Big Houses,” or stately historic homes, to explore extant slave dwellings and interpret the experiences of the enslaved people who inhabited them. This workshop will include live historical interpretations and lectures to highlight the important contributions African Americans made to Arkansas’s history and provide a broad understanding of the importance of slave dwellings and their role in heritage tourism.

This year’s program will focus on the differences between slavery in rural and urban areas, foodways, and objects made by enslaved Arkansans. On Friday, March 23, Jerome Bias of Stagville State Historic Site in North Carolina will prepare a sampling of foods based on enslaved diets in Historic Arkansas Museum’s Brownlee Kitchen; the Museum’s living history staff will portray enslaved people who once lived and worked on or near the Museum property; and Joseph McGill, founder of the South Carolina-based Slave Dwelling Project, will prepare to sleep in the Brownlee Kitchen and Slave Quarters. A full day of programming will take place on Saturday, March 24 inside the Museum’s Ottenheimer Theater with additional presentations by Bias and McGill, along with Dr. Jodi Skipper of the University of Mississippi, Dr. Jodi Barnes of the University of Arkansas at Monticello, and Hattie Felton, Victoria Garrett, Caroline Millar, and Felicia Richardson of Historic Arkansas Museum.

This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so you must register at by March 9. Registration does not include lunch. An optional boxed lunch may be pre-ordered for $15. Educators may receive professional development credit hours for participating in this event. For more information and the full schedule, call 501-372-4757 or visit

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Preserve Arkansas works to build stronger communities by reconnecting Arkansans to our heritage and empowering people to save and rehabilitate historic places. For more information about Preserve Arkansas, contact Rachel at 501-372-4757, [email protected], or visit

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