As a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, I’m proud to be an alumnus and I like to boast about the school’s great history. After my first visit to the University Museum and Cultural Center a few years ago, I realized there was so much more to know about UAPB and the Arkansas Delta.
The UAPB Museum was established in 2005 to house the ‘Keepers of the Spirit: The L.A. Davis Sr. Historical Collection,’ the signature exhibit of the museum and cultural center. The facility also possesses numerous artifacts, memorabilia, and exhibits preserving the history of UAPB and the Arkansas Delta.
My favorite and one of the most visited exhibits of the center is ‘Welcome Home: Things Aren’t What They Used To Be.’ It’s a compilation of primitive kitchen artifacts from 1900 through 1950. Pieces like a butter churn, washboard, and washtub remind me of going to my grandparents’ house in rural South Arkansas.
“For many, the exhibit is ‘truly a blast from the past,’ says Kittilea Jackson, the museums archivist.
Other popular exhibits include ‘The Divine Nine: History of Greek Life at UAPB,’ along with the ‘Miss UAPB Exhibit,’ and ‘Michelle Obama Exhibit’ that generally rotate yearly. Because of its popularity, the pictorial documentation of FLOTUS’ visit to Pine Bluff and commencement address has been on display since 2010.
‘They Dug Clay’ is an interesting traveling exhibit of the works of Isaac S. Hathaway and George Washington Carver. Most recently, the exhibit traveled to the George Washington Carver Museum and is currently on display in Pine Bluff. It was curated Henri Linton, Sr., director and curator of the University Museum and Cultural Center.
Other works in the ‘Isaac S. Hathaway Collection’ include a number of death masks and obverse and reverse of the first coin depicting African-Americans George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington. Various other works of pottery complete the work.
According to Jackson, a large collection of artifacts such as catalogs, yearbooks, letters to and from the university, and pictures have all been donated to the museum. She says they don’t have to go out and look for anything.
The oldest artifacts include original pictures dating back to late 1800s, along with a teaching license for Peter Plunkett Flowers from 1900, signed by Joseph Carter Corbin, founder and first principal of Branch Normal College.
The museum and cultural center has partnered with many schools and organizations including University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the Arkansas Black History Commission, and the Arkansas History Commission.
Although this jewel is housed on the campus of UAPB, the museum and cultural center are for anyone with an interest in the history of UAPB or the Arkansas Delta. Jackson says the museum often receives calls from New York to California from people doing research as well as looking for family members.
For more information regarding group tours, upcoming classes, events or traveling exhibits contact Henri Linton, Sr., Dir. @uapb.edu or Kittilea Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org or call (870)575-8234.