Travel Treasures departments
Sept/Oct 2009 Issue

Arkansas embraces ancient Egypt with major collection of treasures

An epic exhibition being unveiled this fall at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock will transport visitors to the long-vanished world of ancient Egypt through a collection of fascinating artifacts that span 3,000 years of dynastic history.

The exhibition, “World of the Pharaohs: Treasures of Egypt Revealed,” represents the first major collection of Egyptian antiquities to be displayed in Arkansas and offers a rare opportunity to examine the people, language, art, land and mystery of ancient Egypt. On view for nearly a year–from Sept. 25 through July 5, 2010–the treasures were organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which has one of the largest Egyptian collections in the world.

“The Arkansas Arts Center is committed to bringing the best art to our state,” said Arkansas Arts Center Executive Director Nan Plummer. “The art of this amazing ancient culture is utterly fascinating–and important–to human beings all over the world. To see 3,000 years of advanced civilization right here in Little Rock, it’s a thrill that Arkansans deserve.”

The exhibition has more than 200 magnificent intriguing objects, including mummies, statues, beautiful amulets, exquisite jewelry, splendid furnishings, elegant stone vessels and intricate art. The items were selected for the exhibition to dramatically exemplify the rich and diverse characteristics of one of the world’s great civilizations.

The exhibition is particularly strong in excavated material from the Pyramid Age (2675–2130 B.C.), widely regarded as Egypt’s finest hour. Artifacts include a royal decree carved in limestone from the third pharaoh of Egypt and a number of funerary objects. Among them are a sarcophagus lid and several shawabits, which were statuettes that represented the deceased person and were placed in the tomb to perform labor for the deceased.

The Arkansas Arts Center, located at 9th and Commerce Streets downtown, will extend its hours of operation for the show. The exhibit will be on view from 9 a.m.–8:30 p.m. on Tuesday; 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday–Friday; and 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, $18 for college students, $14 for youth and free for children 5 and under. For more details, call (501) 372-4000, or visit online at

The exhibit features a collecion of statues, mummies, jewelry, vessels and more. Arkansas Arts Center photos


Krewe of Boo heralds Halloween fun in New Orleans

Blaine Kern Sr. is a name that’s synonymous with Mardi Gras in New Orleans, so when he decided to raise money for the First Responders Fund, he thought a parade at Halloween would do the trick, and it turned out to be a real treat.

After the success of last year’s first Krewe of Boo, the celebration will continue this year with plans to continue holding it annually. This year’s parade, which will kick off at 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 24, will feature upwards of 15 full-size floats and hundreds of riders tossing Halloween-themed beads, cups and other throws into the crowd along the streets of the French Quarter.

Proceeds benefit the First Responders Fund, which Kern created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to aid police, fire and emergency medical services personnel. The fund is designed to provide housing assistance for emergency personnel to help with recruiting and retention efforts because their ranks were particularly devastated by the catastrophe.

“It’s really a fun parade. We have a lot of creative floats and great costumes,” said Lindsay Brigham, executive director of the First Responders Fund. “This is the only parade that rolls through the French Quarter, and the French Quarter is really the perfect backdrop for this parade and revelry.”

Following the family friendly parade, Halloween enthusiasts are invited to the Costume Exposé at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World-East, located at 1300 Port of New Orleans Place. Tickets are $100 per person for the Halloween extravaganza, featuring live music, outrageous decorations and plenty of food and libations.

For more information about the evening, including the parade route, visit online at

The parade features about 15 large-scale floats and hundreds of riders. Krewe of Boo photo


Center showcases natural wonders of Arkansas park

The Arkansas State Park system’s largest park, Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, now has a grand visitor center to match the magnificent natural area, and it will serve as introduction to motivate visitors to experience the beautiful surroundings.

The $4.5 million center, which opened this summer, serves a key role in welcoming visitors to the 12,045-acre park and conservation area, a diverse tract of Ozark landscape consisting of plateaus, ridges, valleys and streams sheltered by pine, oak and hickory forests. The park is located in northwest Arkansas east of Rogers.

Built to resemble an Ozark barn, the center includes a porch at each entry, a wildlife viewing area and a stream flowing around the building. State-of-the-art exhibits include artifacts, photographs, illustrations and more that explore the history of the park and the conservation of its wildlife and landscapes.

The park also features 34 miles of trails, a public firing range, primitive tent sites on the trails, regulated seasonal hunting and undeveloped access to Beaver Lake. Future plans include cabins, campsites and day-use areas.

The park is 10 miles east of Rogers on Arkansas Highway 12, and the new visitor center is near the junction of Highway 12 and War Eagle Road. For more details, visit or call (479) 789-5000.

The engaging center features hands-on and high-tech exhibits. Joan Ellison/ Arkansas State Parks photo

Mississippi hummingbird celebration showcases these tiny titans of the sky

Thousands of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate each fall from Canada to their winter home in Mexico and Central America, and when they stop off in Mississippi on the way, they’ll find more than merely a rest stop. They’ll find a party in their honor.

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center near Holly Springs, one of Mississippi’s finest natural areas, will welcome hundreds of the delicate but mighty creatures during its annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration. In its 10th year, the event is always held at the height of the birds’ spectacular fall migration, this year Sept. 11–13.

The center has 2,600 acres of magnificent forests, grasslands and native plant gardens, plus the majestic Davis House restored to its 19th-century glory. Visitors will have a chance to see these tiny titans up close as they pause to fuel up for their 500-mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico, attracted by lush, nectar-producing plants and sugar-water feeders.

Speakers will include Douglas Tallamy and Miyoko Chu, authors of “Bringing Nature Home” and “Songbird Journeys.” There also will be live animals, exhibits for children and adults, nature walks and wagon rides.

In addition, renowned hummingbird experts Bob and Martha Sargent of the Hummer/Bird Study Group will be banding hummingbirds and giving visitors a close-up view and insight on their behavior.

The center is located north of Holly Springs on state Highway 311, about three miles from its intersection with state Highway 7 North. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children 4–12. For additional information, call (662) 252-1155, or click on



New museum in Opelousas, La., examines orphan trains

A relatively unknown but compelling chapter of history soon will be told at the Orphan Train Museum in Opelousas, La., when it opens this fall.

The museum, slated to be dedicated on Oct. 10, examines the orphan placement program that began in 1854 in New York, when it was estimated that there were 30,000 abandoned children living on the city’s streets. Two charity institutions, The Children’s Aid Society and The New York Foundling Hospital, were determined to help these orphaned and homeless children by finding them homes nationwide.

In the course of about 70 years, an estimated 250,000 children were sent primarily from New York and Boston on “orphan trains” to nearly every state. More than 2,000 children traveled to Louisiana. The initiative is considered the birth of foster care in America.

The new museum is located in a restored Union Pacific Depot building in Le Vieux Village, a collection of historical structures. The museum features a mural, photos of riders and some of their belongings, including clothes, suitcases and a trunk. There are also round numbered tags that were sewn on the children’s clothing, which matched a number held by prospective parents.

The museum is located at 233 S. Academy. Hours are 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesday–Friday and 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors. For details, call (337) 948-9922, or visit

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