President's Report to the Membership, 2003

By Early, Ann M. | The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

President's Report to the Membership, 2003


Early, Ann M., The Arkansas Historical Quarterly


THIS YEAR, THE ASSOCIATION MEMBERS GATHERED at our Annual Conference in Monticello will spend some time recognizing the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase, perhaps the most important impulse buy in American history. For Arkansas, this change of ownership would affect the destinies of native and creole residents in ways they could hardly imagine at the time and set the stage for territorial expansion and Arkansas statehood. Organizations across Arkansas will reflect on this event and its consequences over the next year, and the Arkansas Historical Association will join in this activity with the 2003 conference and with articles in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly. Trustee Elizabeth Shores and I have been fortunate to serve on thesecretary of state's Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Committee, where we were joined by several of the state's most respected and active historians. Elizabeth was instrumental in the creation of the committee's website, the central repository for information about the yearlong parade of events that will take place across the state and impart at least a bit of historical knowledge to thousands of Arkansas citizens and tourists. Several other Association members have been enlisted, or have volunteered, to contribute to this effort.

With the special Louisiana Purchase activities and other sessions, the 2003 conference promises to be informative and entertaining, thanks to the scholarly participants, the dedicated group of conference chairpersons, and the many sponsors and local hosts. Ben Johnson is serving as the program chair, and Donald Holley and Connie Mullis are the local arrangements chairs. Our thanks and appreciation go to all of them and to the many members of the Drew County Historical Society, the Friends of the Museum, and other organizations that will welcome Association members to Monticello. A complete list of hosts and sponsors will be included in the conference program and the conference report that will be published in the Quarterly later this year.

The Association's partner organization, the Teachers of Arkansas Studies Council (TASC), will also be active in Monticello, hosting a Resource Fair and encouraging teachers to attend the Annual Conference as well. TASC fairs are designed to provide materials, resources, and information on Arkansas history and other social studies subjects to teachers throughout Arkansas. TASC has been holding semi-annual Resource Fairs in different locations across the state for several years. One took place in Jonesboro last August. The Association will continue to support TASC in its mission to enhance history and social studies curricula across the state.

The Association continues to provide assistance and training to Arkansas's teachers in other ways. In the summer of 2002, the Association organized another Arkansas History Summer Institute, a two-week, high-intensity course in state history, on the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) campus in Conway. Special thanks are due to Secretary-Treasurer Jeannie Whayne and AHA Trustee Sondra Gordy for their work organizing and leading the institute, to many faculty and staff at UCA for support and assistance, and to the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation for financial support. Since these two-week institutes are too long for some teachers, and since they have proven expensive and time-consuming, workshops and institutes of varying lengths and structure are under study for future years.

The 2004 conference is already set for Fort Smith, and Annual Conference chairman Bob Besom and his committee members, Billy Higgins, Trey Berry, and Patrick Zollner, are at work formulating a schedule for conferences well into the next decade. For next year, Tom DeBlack has agreed to serve as program chair, and Billy Higgins will coordinate local activities.

The Association's support of scholarship is evident in the presentations offered during the Annual Conference, in the manuscripts submitted for consideration for our annual awards, and in the continuing high quality and informative offerings found in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly. …

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