A garden and a barn reflecting territorial life in Arkansas and a 21st century trolley stop will be built on the half block the Historic Arkansas Museum owns on Second Street between Cumberland and Scott, north of museum proper.
HAM began work this week on the project by ripping up the concrete lot on part of the half block. (The museum has more parking on Third Street.) A trolley stop whose roof will reflect the architecture of the museum will be built there. The trolley stop will also include restrooms.
Museum director Bill Worthen said the long-range plan is to “interpret more broadly the frontier period of Arkansas history.” It will do so with what Worthen called “a hint of a farmstead” around the log cabin now at Cumberland and Second, with a garden featuring plantings appropriate to the era and a couple of outbuildings, including a barn. The barn will offer sheltered space for educational programs, Worthen said. The project should be completed by summer 2005.
The farmstead will complement the territorial period restorations – several brick houses and a tavern – on the museum’s property south of Second. Alan Brown of Charlottesville, Va., a landscape historian who worked on the museum’s master plan, and architect Tommy Jamison are contributing to the design. The museum is paying for the project with a $600,000 grant from the Natural and Cultural Resources Council, which is funded by the state’s real estate transfer tax.
The city will also add a mid-block, button-operated stoplight on Second to allow school groups to safely cross to the farmstead.
The new farmstead’s barn could be an original, if the museum is able to locate one in danger of being torn down and can afford to move it to the site.
Might there be farm animals in the barn? “Animals are problematic,” even chickens, Worthen said. He said some of the nearby transient population “could end up doing a little living history right there on the lawn with a little fire and some poor chicken they’d rung the neck of.” A more likely site, for chickens at least, would be behind the Brownlee House, which is inside the fenced area of the museum.