In Their Own Words

Friends of Shiloh share anniversary accolades

Posted: September 2, 2018 at 1 a.m.

Daniel P. Martin

Kathryn Birkhead

Board member

I'm an oddity in Northwest Arkansas these days, since I was born and raised here, and I graduated from high school in the same year the museum was founded. I lived away for about 25 years and have been back here now since 2005. I mention all that to say how much I appreciate the role of the museum in honoring and preserving the past of the area I call home, while it also honors and includes people who have come here most recently and their traditions.

The exhibits and programs are important, of course, but a huge part of my love of the museum has to do with the grounds. The log cabin and the barn particularly draw me in. The museum grounds keep us linked to the earth with traditional plants that aren't just pretty but also serve nature. I wouldn't know the things I've learned about butterflies, and I sure wouldn't have all the milkweed I have, if it weren't for the museum's work.

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Brooks Blevins

Ph.D. & Ozarks expert

I have been visiting and doing research at the Shiloh Museum for almost half of its existence, and I can say that there's not a better museum anywhere in the Ozarks -- Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma -- the whole region. Its value comes from its people -- Bob Besom and Allyn Lord and Susan Young and all the others who have worked and volunteered there over the years -- and their steady vision of preserving, displaying and interpreting a broad range of regional history within the context of the wider nation and world. Shiloh is regional history done the right way.

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Daniel P. Martin

Pettigrew native

"It's wrong to think that the past is something that's just gone. It's still there. It's just that you've gone past. If you drive through a town, it's still there in the rear-view mirror. Time is a road, but it doesn't roll up behind you. Things aren't over just because they're past. Do you see that?"

-- Terry Pratchett, "The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy"

It's a pleasure to offer 50th anniversary congratulations to the Shiloh Museum! My hometown of Pettigrew and my family have been fortunate to enjoy a close relationship with Shiloh for about 30 of those years -- and counting. Thanks to the tremendous support of Shiloh, an incredibly detailed view of life in rural Northwest Arkansas during the "timber boom" years of the late 1800s through the first half of the 20th century has been preserved. Expertise, care and work by the Shiloh Museum transformed a mountain of "stuff" into a well-curated collection of bank and business records, photographs and artifacts. Without this investment in our community, much of this information would have been lost. "Things aren't over just because they're past" -- and thanks to the efforts of the people at Shiloh, the records of our past are well-organized and accessible, so our understanding of how these events affect present-day life and shape our future has been made much easier.

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Abby Burnett

Author & historian

I've learned so much about Arkansas history through Shiloh Museum's monthly Sandwiched In lecture series, which I've attended for years. I've heard speakers talk about everything from documenting pre-Civil War woven coverlets to Madison County murders to former staffers of the long-defunct Dogpatch sharing their memories of the theme park. Not only has Shiloh gathered fascinating speakers from the community, but the staff also presents informative talks: Carolyn Reno on the conservation of antique fabrics, Marie Demeroukas on dating antique photos based on early hair and clothing styles, and Susan Young on her efforts to track down the statue that once graced the entrance to the Apollo Theater, on Emma Avenue, in Springdale -- to name just a few subjects!

Not only are there wonderful speakers, but Shiloh generously hosts book-signings (including one for my own book!), giving authors a chance to talk about their research and the work that went into their publications. I've loved getting to hear such speakers and buy their books.

Though I've enjoyed these events, and the annual January Cabin Fever Reliever where local residents show off their very unusual collections, when I think of Shiloh I think of photographs. Maybe that's because I've spent time in the photo archive office, getting Marie Demeroukas' opinion on a photo or, more likely, looking for photos to accompany something I'm writing. Shiloh has been so gracious and generous to me when I've needed photos to illustrate talks or my book -- I'm especially indebted to them for permission to use a long-cherished photo on my book's cover.

Recently I've traveled around Arkansas, gathering material for a new book, and have found that the subjects I'm researching tend to mystify librarians and museum staff. That's another thing that's so wonderful about Shiloh Museum, because when I go there, the staff will discuss these projects with me and offer guidance. Maybe they have to work to stay straight-faced, but Allyn Lord, Susan, Caroline and Marie have been unfailingly kind and helpful!

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Laura Redford

Coverlet book author

The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History is well known among history buffs and researchers of Ozark history and to school children who regularly attend field trips to the campus to learn about different times in our history. It is a gem tucked away in our Northwest Arkansas hills and well worth a visit, especially for newcomers to the area to learn about their new home. When Martha Benson and I were researching the stories behind the handwoven coverlets in their collection, we could not have asked for more help, cooperation and encouragement than we received from all members of the staff. Happy birthday, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History!

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Chuck Peterson

LifeWriters leader

I have been attending the Shiloh Museum since I moved here in 1998. It is a special place for me. I love the grounds, the museum, the friendly staff, and the programming.

I attend the "LifeWriting" memoir and the Civil War Roundtable meetings each month in the "Old General Store." The General Store is a free great place for small community meetings that support our community's history, nature, education and the collection of local stories and written histories.

Most months I attend the third Wednesday [Sandwiched In] gathering and learn something of local history or nature including live birds of prey and exploring local caves among other things. I watched the Marshallese build a real island canoe with their ancient village building skills.

I have seen some of the children's educational school, summer, and Saturday morning programs including even the opportunity to really milk a wooden cow. I even learned to hand make an old broom. I enjoy watching the farm garden grow each year. I explored the old farm outhouse and have watched the kid's reaction to that bit or our past without the tell tail aroma, spiders, and snakes I remember so well.

I have watched folk music programs in front of the old barn on many a summer eve. I support the museum as a contributing member. It is a great place to visit, well worth your time to explore, learn.

NAN What's Up on 09/02/2018