Spring Homeschool Days to be Held at Museum


Old Independence Regional Museum will host Home School Days on Mondays, April 8th and 15th. This spring the theme is Natural Disasters. Fires, floods, tornados, and earthquakes have the ability to devastate an area and the people living there. Students attending Home School Day will hear some harrowing tales of destruction and triumphant tales of survival.

“Once again we are offering the same program on two different days, so families have a little more flexibility when scheduling. We encourage all home schooled students in the area to attend this day at the museum that is designed just for them,” states Amanda Nikkel, Humanities Educator and Volunteer Coordinator. Nikkel goes on to say, “Many of our regular attendees are beginning to feel like members of our museum family. We always enjoy seeing returning students and really look forward to meeting new ones.”

Museum staff and volunteers will lead sessions about fires, floods, tornados, and earthquakes, focusing on the big historic events that have shaped our region. As part of the sessions on earthquakes and tornados, students will hear from two different living history interpreters, one sharing the story of a woman who lived through the 1812 New Madrid Earthquake and another sharing her experience during the devastating tornado that ripped through Heber Springs in 1926. Did you know that Heber Springs survived 5 majorly destructive tornados within a 35 year period?

Students will also hear about the fires that destroyed much of the downtown area in the 1800s and early 1900s. They will learn about how fighting fires has evolved from bucket brigades to the use of modern fire trucks and equipment. As a conclusion to the session, students will construct a small bucket.

The Great Flood of 1927 was a wide spread flood effecting many states throughout the United States, including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee; however, Arkansas suffered the worst destruction. The United States Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, called the flood “America’s greatest peacetime disaster.” He also stated that “the disaster felt by Arkansas farmers, planters and residents of river lowlands was of epic proportions.” With the floodwaters having no where else to go, much of Arkansas was under water through the spring and summer of 1927. Students will learn about this and other floods that brought rising waters to Batesville and the old Independence County region. They will also have the opportunity to build barricades during a sandbag relay race.

Students will see photos of these disasters from the museum’s archives.

Please call the museum to register for one of the days. A $5 program fee per participant must be paid in advance to hold your spot in the program. There is a limit of 50 participants each day. “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 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. Call (870) 793-2121 for more information.