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OSHM Oct. Blog: First Family/National Story Day

Old State House Museum - Thursday, October 26, 2017

Arkansans are known for storytelling — tall-tales, sentimental reminiscences and funny family stories. Whether you’re a native Arkansan or a new resident of The Natural State, chances are your family shares stories around the dinner table all the time. Delight your friends and family at your next gathering with new material. Friday, October 27, is National Story Day, and the Old State House Museum (OSHM) is the best place to learn new, interesting tales.

Sharing the stories of Arkansas’s First Families, the OSHM’s permanent exhibit, First Families: Mingling of Politics and Culture, highlights fascinating artifacts once belonging to the state’s governors, wives and families. Every object tells a story, whether it’s a dreamy wedding dress, a favorite teacup, a sewing machine or pair of shoes.

Ten Second Tales: The First Families of Arkansas were as varied in their background and experiences as most Arkansans. Here’s a sampling:

  • The state’s first territorial governor, James Miller, didn’t spend much time in Arkansas and his wife never came for a visit. He was appointed in March of 1819 and resigned in December of 1824. All in all, Gov. Miller spent less than half his time as governor actually in Arkansas.
  • Active suffragette, Anna Roark Brough (the last name rhymes with the word rough), was the wife and campaign manager of Arkansas’s 25th governor, Charles Hillman Brough, who served from 1917 to 1921. Gov. Brough was a strong advocate of women’s rights, calling a special session in 1919 to ratify the 19th Amendment, making Arkansas the 12th state to allow women to vote.
  • Betty Bumpers, wife of Dale Bumpers, the 38th governor of Arkansas, gained international recognition as the founder of Peace Links Worldwide, an organization dedicated to developing peaceful alternatives to nuclear war. A few chapters in the U.S. are still active and support other international peace and justice organizations. Betty currently lives in Little Rock and serves on the advisory board of the Arkansas chapter of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND).
  • Ginger Beebe, wife of 45th Arkansas Governor, Mike Beebe, broke her foot following the election. She had already chosen a gown with matching shoes, with hopes she would be healed in time for the inauguration ball. Unfortunately, when the time came she was not able to wear the heels and settled for a more comfortable pair of tennis shoes. When deciding what items for the exhibit, she wanted to stay true to reality and gave the actual tennis shoes for display.

Don’t miss your chance to hear the stories of Arkansas’s First Families at the Old State House Museum!