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Heritage Month encourages all Arkansans to remember ‘Conflict and Consequence’ of Civil War

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  • Heide Harrell
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Arkansas’s participation in the Civil War will be commemorated during this year’s Arkansas Heritage Month. The outbreak of the Civil War led to a divide within Arkansas as Ozark farmers initially preferred allegiance to the Union, while Delta planters favored secession. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict that divided our nation.

The Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH) promotes the Arkansas Heritage Month observance each May. Heritage Month celebrates the state’s history and culture by highlighting a specific aspect of Arkansas heritage. This year’s Heritage Month theme, Conflict and Consequence: Commemorating the Civil War, recognizes Arkansas’s role in the war and explores the lessons learned.

DAH Director Cathie Matthews will officially usher in Arkansas Heritage Month by unveiling this year’s commemorative poster at an event at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, at the Old State House Museum. The collectible 2011 Heritage Month poster will be available for free at the event, at or by calling 501-324-9150.

In addition to the Heritage Month kickoff, the first of the Old State House Museum’s five Civil War exhibits, An Enduring Union, also opens to the public that day. This exhibit addresses why Arkansas commemorates the Civil War and features artifacts documenting postwar Confederate and Union veteran reunions in the state. Artifacts include reunion-related photographs, medals, memorabilia and uniforms. The all-day event kicks off the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s five-year initiative.

“The impact of the Civil War in Arkansas has shaped the people we are today,” Matthews said. “By exploring the relevance of the events of 1861 to 1865, Arkansans can understand our heritage and the effects of the conflict on our own cities and towns.”

Throughout May, Arkansans are encouraged to discover the state’s Civil War heritage by enjoying the many activities, festival and events in their local communities and around the state. Numerous communities have scheduled Heritage Month events; to find an event in your area, visit

Arkansans can also watch as KATV Channel 7’s Ned Perme explores historic Civil War locations around Arkansas during May and June. He will visit six communities in eight weeks, beginning May 5 at Historic Arkansas Museum and concluding at the Minnesota Monument at Little Rock Cemetery on June 23. All regions of the state will be highlighted. Keep up with Ned by watching each Thursday at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. or by visiting

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Arkansas, the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) has produced an original, one-hour program that will reflect on the conflict and its impact on the state a century and a half later. “CW150: Remembering the Civil War in Arkansas” will air on AETN Saturday, April 30, at 4 p.m.

For more information about Arkansas Heritage Month, visit or To learn more about the impact of the Civil War in Arkansas, visit or connect on Facebook.

The Department of Arkansas Heritage and its seven agencies seek to recognize the state’s heritage and to enhance Arkansas’s quality of life through the discovery, preservation and presentation of the state’s cultural, natural and historic resources. The agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

Heide Harrell is the Public Relations Account Executive with the Department of Arkansas Heritage