Old Independence Regional Museum will host a Home School Day on Monday, March 31st. This spring the theme is The Hunter/Dunbar Expedition of 1804. Many students are familiar with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, in 1804, which explored the Mississippi and the new Louisiana Purchase, but few know about the exploration of the new Louisiana Purchase that happened right here in Arkansas.
President Jefferson commissioned 4 expeditions into the newly purchased Louisiana territory. The most well know is the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who explored the Mississippi River and the northern regions of the territory. Zebulon Pike was sent to explore the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest; Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis explored the Red River; and George Hunter and William Dunbar explored northern Louisiana and Arkansas along the “Washita” River to the hot springs.
History Helpers, Deb Lewis and Sharlene Richardson, from central Arkansas, will be at Old Independence Regional Museum leading students through the journey of Hunter and Dunbar. Taking details straight from the journals of Hunter and Dunbar that were sent to President Jefferson as their report, History Helpers will use hands-on activities, demonstrations, and living history, to help students discover the flora and fauna that was seen on the journey. The students will be introduced to some of the experiments performed by Hunter and Dunbar. They will learn about the hardships of everyday life for the men traveling on a boat up the Ouachita.
Deb Lewis, History Helper, describes their organization, “History Helpers was formed out of our passion to learn history and our desire to teach it in such a way as to inspire that passion in others. We encourage students of all ages to imagine how they, themselves, would have lived “back then.”
She goes on to say, “More than just names, dates and places, we offer students things for them to see, to touch, to smell, to listen to and, on occasion, to taste. They hear how people treated each other and what they expected from one another. They see up close how objects were made or used and, often, they get to try them out for themselves. We offer bits of the day-to-day lives of ordinary people and strive to make history into something meaningful to modern minds. We hope to teach others that, by learning about the skills and creativity of those who came before us, we can better understand our own potential.”
“We are so pleased to be able to bring History Helpers to Batesville, and give our local Home Schoolers an opportunity to learn about the Louisiana Purchase exploration from another expedition and in a real, concrete way,” state Amanda Nikkel, Humanities Educator.
Please call the museum to register. There is a limit of 60 participants. “In the past, Home School Days have met capacity before the day of the program, so anyone interested in participating will want to reserve a space soon,” said Nikkel.
This humanities program is made possible in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, by local support from Independence County and the City of Batesville, as well as by Challenge Grant Endowment funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Old Independence serves 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 1820s Arkansas territory.
The museum is open 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. During your visit, stop by our gift shop. We stock many items from local artists, authors, and crafters, as well as historical toys and games.