Which Little Rock?
We read there was a real “little rock” here, so we went to find it.
Might it be this one?
Or this one?
Who knows? Well, the two policemen in the Capitol building weren’t too sure but they loved our accents anyway
We began the day at the Presidential Library.
You know which one!
We love to come to these places and learn a little more about the people we’ve read so much about over the years. Vanessa greeted us at the door and she, too, loved our accents and thought I sounded just like…hmmm….just like….Camilla!!
(I told her how much I loved her accent too, btw)
Though we began with a guided tour, we found it difficult to hear amongst the general hubbub and so equipped ourselves with audio tours instead and had the man himself tell us about his life and work. The photo above is the Cabinet Office table – do you notice how the President’s chair is 2” higher than the others? I used to use the same trick as a young teacher when I had to meet parents!
The archives are stored in the blue folders in each pillar (and in the library next door as well).
Though we couldn’t look in these, we could access the daily programmes for the whole time of his two terms. I picked one out – March 1997 – and found a few redacted appointments which picqued my curiosity! I wonder what proportion remains secret?
The displays were great, genuinely interesting and pretty candid when it came to things like the Whitewater scandal and the impeachment stuff, though of course, the accounts were hardly impartial. Still, the man comes over as incredibly passionate about his work and the video of his story was inspiring and rather moving.
The mock up of the Oval Office looked just like it did on the West Wing and House of Cards, too.
You might have thought that we’d have been politicked out by now, but you’d have been wrong. Next stop, the Capitol. Very impressive from the outside and build to a similar design as other Capitol buildings we’ve visited, the Arkansas Capitol was very quiet this Monday morning.
It’s rather plain inside and there was hardly anyone to be seen. I posted a card home from the small post office here – someone else loved my accent – and we chatted to the policemen, but they were the only ones around it seemed.
There was a rather different, plainer and simpler cupola to photograph: Shame I didn’t get it dead centre but never mind.
There was also a portrait of the youngest Governor in the USA (and the youngest Governor to be defeated, therefore the youngest ex-Governor too). How young he looks!
There were the usual two chambers – the Senate and the House of Representatives but little in the way of art or adornment beyond thumbnails of the sitting members.
So, though we are glad we’ve been, we’d not chalk the Arkansas Capitol as a must see, unless like us, you’re a bit of a Capitol geek
After a picnic lunch by the river, we went on over to the History Museum, where Nancy Graves (known as Ku-To-Yi to her Cherokee family) had stitched this beautiful sampler when she was 11 in 1828. It’s said to be the oldest sampler stitched by a Native American in the whole country and it’s remarkably well preserved.
There followed a room with half a dozen paintings by Josephine Graham which I found quite amusing.
She has a distinctive style of painting “suggins”; a “playful term she used to describe people living along the White River”.
Her style of painting facial expressions was particularly fun, I thought.
From here, we continued on through the museum where they were staging the next exhibition of “Arkansas Made”, a show which would have been so very much up my street, being the best of craftsmanship in the region. They were staging handmade chairs, knives, quilts and wooden boxes as we wandered through and I’d have loved to have had a closer look. But we couldn’t, so there.
Instead, there was the permanent exhibition upstairs, aptly titled “We walk in two worlds”. It told the story of Arkansas’s first people: the Caddo, Osage and Quapaw Indian tribes and was beautifully designed (if not very well lit – those spotlights don’t do so well on shiny surfaces!)
As usual, it was the shoes which caught my attention – there is something particularly compelling about someone’s shoes and I often wonder, where have they been worn and what stories they could tell.
And that left just one more place on our Little Rock list.
Mary had told us of the events at the Central High School, seen through the eyes of a friend of hers who was there at the time and like her, we were curious to learn more.
I won’t attempt to retell the story here but will suggest you read here about the events of 1957 for yourself. It was a thought provoking way to end the afternoon and hard to imagine it happened (just!) within my lifetime.