Natural State Chautauqua in Smackover

 

 

Chautauquas
are local assemblies that flourished in the U.S. in the late 19th and early
20th centuries. They provided education combined with entertainment in the form
of lectures, concerts, and plays and were modeled after activities at the
Chautauqua Institution of western New York.

 

The
annual Natural State Chautauqua at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in
Smackover is a chance to step back into the past with performances by living
history characters who bring history to life.

 

This
year’s event starts tomorrow and goes through Saturday. (June 7-9). The theme
is “Battlefields as Memories from an Un-Civil War” and highlights three
characters from the era – Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Dr. Mary Walker and
Col. Francis Dumas.

 

For the
next two years, in observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the event will
focus on the years between 1861 and 1865 when the country was divided in
beliefs and war. Next year the event will focus on the aftermath of the
conflict.

 

 

Dr. Doug
Mishler , of Reno Nevada, will play Gen Jackson and “personalizes the enigma of the one of the South’s favorite
sons,” Superintendent Pam Beasley said in a news release. Mishler has
participated in the event since 2002. The performance is scheduled for June 7
at 7 p.m.

 

Debra Conner
is scheduled to portray Dr. Walker ( who presents a view of the battlefield
from a female perspective) June 8 at 7 p.m. Conner , who hails from
Parkersburg, WV, began portraying Emily Dickinson in 1997, thanks to a
fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since then, she has added
in-character portrayals of Zelda Fitzgerald, Margaret Mitchell, and Dr. Mary
Walker to her program offerings.

 

 

Dr. Jim
Armstead of Lexington, VA, returns to Arkansas to portray Colonel Francis E.
Dumas of the Louisiana Guard, a freeman of color in the Confederate Army. 
Armstead will bring Col. Dumas to life
on Saturday, June 9, at 7 p.m.

 

 

The
museum is one of 52 Arkansas State Parks and hours are from 8-5 Monday through Saturday and from 1-5 on Sundays. Admission is free.

 

 

 

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