Artifacts of the original Louisiana Purchase and the story of its Arkansas beginnings are the focus of a new display at the Clinton Presidential Center through March 4.
The Great Expedition: Exploring the Louisiana Purchase and its Impact on Arkansas is a fascinating exhibit that highlights the significance of the historic journey led by William Dunbar and George Hunter, scientists who documented the first accounts to President Thomas Jefferson of what ultimately became the State of Arkansas. Some notable exhibit features include:
· The American original of the treaty between the United States and France
· The exchange copy of the convention of payment signed by French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
· William Dunbar’s journal, eyeglasses, and compass
· The “Aux Arc” keelboat – a 40-foot replica of the boat used during the Dunbar-Hunter expedition that will be displayed in the Clinton Center’s fountain
Jefferson’s purchase from France included 15 states — including present day Arkansas — and parts of Canada, spanning nearly 900 thousand miles therefore doubling our nation’s size. It remains the most important land acquisition in American history, and the official starting point of the entire land survey began in south Arkansas, at the intersection of the Fifth Meridian and Baseline. The baseline continued west across what is known today as Little Rock’s Baseline Road.
This special temporary exhibit is the theme of the second annual Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas, a program initiated by the Clinton Presidential Center to promote our state’s heritage and culture, and celebrate human achievement by weaving the arts and humanities together to provide unique and engaging experiences.
The Clinton Center hosts a free public symposium Sun., Feb. 11, at 6 PM. Guests enjoy interactive conversations with historians, a Cajun-Creole musical performance by Grammy-nominated fiddler David Greely and in-character appearances by Early Arkansas Reenactors Association members.