Old Independence Celebrates 15 years


The museum will celebrate its 15th birthday at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 22 with a special program and refreshments. It will also include a few minutes for its annual meeting. Board members and staff invite all to come enjoy the museum’s celebration.


“We are grateful for all those who have supported the museum with their membership donations and their artifacts through these past years,” stated board president Mary Ann Marshall.


“Fifteen years ago the museum held its grand opening with a crowd of 300 watching while Lt. Governor Win Rockefeller cut the ribbon with a bowie knife,” said Twyla Gill Wright, president of the founding board. “Five years before that opening our strong board planned the museum, raised the money to renovate the former National Guard Armory building to become our museum home, and created its first exhibits. We finished the second half of the building after its opening, and our exhibits have kept changing,” she added.


The museum reports some milestones achieved in just 2012: 12,416 visitors; 6,154 hours donated by volunteers; 1,390 students from 8 counties toured the Museum, including 355 home-schooled children; 190 new collections were processed in the Museum’s computer management system; 2 new exhibits were created; 8 free public programs were produced; 550 people attended 3 Family Day Events.


“Down in the Holler” is the humorous program to be given by guest speaker Susan Young to celebrate the museum’s anniversary. She will take a look at Ozark folk speech and discuss words that trace back to the British Isles, along with common and colorful words and phrases.


Young said, “Some travel writers and folklorists once claimed that if you dropped William Shakespeare in a remote Ozark holler, he and the oldtimers he met there would be able to converse and understand each other perfectly.”


The audience will be encouraged to share some Ozark words from the past. Young will talk about the meanings of “larrupin” “airish” “chimley” “camrey” “passel” and others.


Young makes a distinction between the Arkansas dialects of the South Midland and the Southern. Geographically they would cut the state diagonally into two triangular regions. In the South Midland the R is pronounced hard, such as “butter.” In the Southern the R is pronounced with a soft “buttah.”


Susan Young is the outreach coordinator at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, a position she has held since 1994. Young is a lifelong resident of Fayetteville, and a fifth-generation Ozarker. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas, and is the author of So Big, This Little Place: The Founding of Tontitown, Arkansas, 1898-1917. Her Ozark history interests include traditional folkways, religion, and cemeteries.


The program will be free and open to the public. Normal museum hours are: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for seniors and $1.00 for children. The museum is located at 380 South 9th street, between Boswell and Vine Streets in Batesville.


Old Independence is a regional museum serving a 12-county area: Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff. Parts of these present-day counties comprised the original Independence County in 1820’s Arkansas territory. Call 870-793-2121 for more information.