Bog Shoes, Duck Calls and Creepy Dolls – “Good Roots: November 2021”
When a local hears “Stuttgart,” there’s a good chance they immediately think of one of two things: duck hunting or rice.
This month, the “Good Roots” crew took a field trip to the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie to hear more about the history of the tiny grain that is a huge part of the Natural State. Arkansas is a global leader of rice production, exporting 9 billion pounds per year to more than 25 countries!
We met Kelly Robbins, executive director of Arkansas Rice, who enlightened us on the current affairs of this top commodity. Did you know there is an estimated 510 MILLION TONS of rice consumed around the world each year?! Read that again. And our great state is the top producer in the USA.
Why the museum visit? Well, our rice story had to start somewhere … and I needed to find out more about the early days. We were greeted by the director of the museum whose love, interest, and sharp knowledge of every item in the museum was quite impressive.
Between our interviews, I moseyed through the museum to admire and inquire about a few things that caught my eye.
I saw bog shoes horses wore so they wouldn’t sink down in the muddy fields. I marveled at the large collection of vintage, prized and one-of-a-kind duck calls that are encased in the Waterfowl Hall of Fame located at the museum.
I "oooohed and ahhhed" at a ladies jacket adorned with beautiful mallard feathers, and my eyes fixed on an antique camera that was unlike any I’d ever seen.
The museum is large and showcases a lot of history, collections and various topics. Several displays had a few dolls that, ahem, I would have been fine without seeing. Especially since our visit was around Halloween. But, hey, they’re part of the museum and history, and they didn’t ask for my help or my opinion on the displays.
From hand-chiseled decoys to vintage tractors and combines, I enjoyed taking in much of this collection which sheds light on a vast array of Arkansas yesteryear. Rice has a long, deep history and an undoubtedly prosperous future to expect. If you’re not already in the know of the tiny grain that could, may I suggest a trip to Stuttgart? Go for the duck hunting, stay for the museum. And, in the words of Kelly Robbins, you are sure to “ … have a rice day!”
About the author: “Good Roots” segment host Lauren McCullough – who grew up on the family farm in Nashville, Arkansas, showing registered Brangus cattle and raising chickens – is a creative entrepreneur, dividing her time as a photographer, videographer and on-camera talent. Now a resident of The Natural State’s capital city, Lauren’s passion lies in capturing and sharing the special moments that make up the "everyday" as she meets fellow Arkansans and shares their unique stories with the world.