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Nominated for: BEST Museum
The new exhibit at the Old State House Museum sheds new light on the evolution of Arkansas's backwoods, hillbilly image. The exhibit entitled, Arkansas/Arkansaw: A State and its Reputation, explores both the favorable and unfavorable parts of this history.
Perhaps best symbolized by the story of the Arkansas Traveler, the exhibit reveals the early development of a dual image, with Arkansawyers being portrayed as coarse, illiterate, and violent backwoodsmen on one hand, while also lifted up as noble frontiersmen – independent, honest, and humble. The exhibit examines why Arkansas became the focus for such depictions, and how some Arkansans defended their state against the popularization of this stereotype.
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