The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture has been awarded $13,876 from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a virtual exhibit and host an educational symposium dedicated to the discussion of steamboats and their impact on Arkansas titled As Much as the Water: How Steamboats Shaped Arkansas.
The virtual exhibit will launch on June 15, 2015, and feature historic documents, photographs, and works of art depicting steamboats with the intent of examining the heritage of steamboats and their profound effect on the history and culture of Arkansas. Scholarly essays and critiques on steamboats from local specialists will accompany printed materials.
The historically significant commentary will include topics such as the military role of steamboats during the Civil War; their creative influence on artists of the late 19th– and early 20th-century; their impact on delta towns such as Pine Bluff; their function in the transport of Native Americans on the “Trail of Tears;” and their role in disseminating knowledge along the major rivers in Arkansas. Embedded within the virtual exhibit will be lesson plans and other educational materials for teachers.
This project will culminate with a public educational symposium dedicated to the discussion of steamboats and their impact on Arkansas in November 2015. Scholars representing various humanities disciplines will present background material and facilitate discussion during this day-long event.