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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Calico Rock Museum celebrates new exhibit

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

American Indian artifacts going back hundreds of years are part of a new exhibit at the Calico Rock Museum. "The Birth of the Ozarks" exhibit focuses on Native Americans, who lived along the White River in the Calico Rock area. On Saturday, Sept. 8, the museum will host a day long Native American Day festival on Main Street in Calico Rock. Photo by Richard Irby
The Calico Rock Museum is planning a day long festival on Saturday, Sept. 8 to open its newest, most elaborate exhibit.

"The Birth of the Ozarks" focuses on the heritage left by Native Americans who lived in the area, or became residents while passing through on the Trail of Tears.

"The exhibit is almost finished and people will love it," museum director Gloria Gushue said. "We are fortunate to have Freda Cruse and Sue McCluskey design and install the exhibit. They are two knowledgeable experts on American Indians in the Ozarks."

The exhibit's Grand Opening will take place at 11 a.m. on Sept. 8 at the Museum and Artisans Cooperative on Main Street in Calico Rock.

The museum's Native American Day activities will include a Mountain Man Rendezvous encampment, two performances of Ron Ward and the Native American Dancers, and live music performances. At 3:00 p.m., a "Walk of Remembrance," honoring those who traveled the Trail of Tears, will begin at the museum and continue to Rand Park. A route of the Trail of Tears came within a few miles of Calico Rock.

"Many people do not realize it, but Indians and white people lived across the (White) river from each other," Freda Cruse said. "The whites lived on the Calico Rock side, and the Indian's lived on the Stone County side of the river."

Cruse and McCluskey are historians, who have developed collections of Indian artifacts, and grew up near each other in Stone County.

"We have tried to create a living history exhibit, with all kinds of hands on activity," Cruse said.

The exhibit will be at the rear of the museum. Visitors will enter it through the type of grass hut that Mississippian era Indians lived in. The exhibit will feature artifacts including axes, arrowheads, pottery and clothing -- much of it found in the Calico Rock area.

"The most prized exhibit is a piece of a stone tablet which contains characters from the Cherokee alphabet," Cruse said. "It was found 10-miles from Calico Rock. It may be part of a headstone."

After viewing the exhibit, visitors will exit from a replica of an 1830s cabin, where they will see a display, "What happened to the Indians? We are still here." It will feature drawings and photographs of prominent Native Americans and their descendants.

"We want people to realize that Indians in the Ozarks did not all die or leave. Their descendants are still in this area, because many Indians assimilated into the white man's culture, and their relatives (like Cruse) are still here," Cruse said.

Native American Day activities are free and open to all.

For more information, go online to calicorockmuseum.com, or call the museum at 870-297-4129.

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