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Jan/Feb 2012 Issue

Restored bridge, wetlands add appeal to Clinton Center

A new pedestrian bridge and walk-through wetlands area at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., complement the museum and add more facets to the already fascinating site.

Dedicated this fall by former President Bill Clinton, the new Clinton Presidential Park Bridge and the William E. “Bill” Clark Wetlands enhance the museum, which itself was designed to resemble a bridge. Both restoration projects–the bridge and wetlands–will improve the outdoor recreational opportunities for the entire Little Rock region.

The new pedestrian bridge is the former Rock Island Railroad Bridge, which dates to 1899. The Clinton Foundation spent $10.5 million to rebuild it into a ramped pedestrian pathway and close the loop on the 15-mile Arkansas River Trail, a multi-use path that traces both sides of the Arkansas River.

From the bridge, which links Little Rock to North Little Rock, visitors can see the William E. “Bill” Clark Presidential Park Wetlands. The $2 million project consists of 13 acres of restored wetlands along the Arkansas River adjacent to the Clinton Museum. Trails, an elevated walkway, and two bridges offer spectacular views of the wetlands area and the Arkansas River, and interpretive displays explain the area’s significance.

“We’re connecting people to nature and our past to our present,” Clinton said of the wetlands area and bridge at the dedication ceremony.

Clinton Presidential Center is at 1200 President Clinton Ave. The bridge and wetlands are free to tour and open during daylight hours daily. Museum hours are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1–5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children 6–17. Visit www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org or call (501) 374-4242 for details

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The pedestrian bridge (above) and the wetlands (below) enhance Little Rock’s outdoor recreational opportunities. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism photos

wetlands

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Pharmacy Museum offers a cure for those aching for history

Visiting the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is to step back in time when the local pharmacy more closely resembled something right out of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. Here you will find leeches, medicinal herbs, voodoo “gris-gris” potions and shelves of rare medicines.

Located in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, La., the building that houses the Pharmacy Museum was constructed in 1823 for Louis Dufilho Jr., who in 1816 became the first licensed pharmacist in America. Bloodletting and questionable medical practices are featured on the ground floor, mid-19th-century apothecary shop. Hand-blown bottles filled with crude drugs speak of a time when pharmacists compounded their own medicines and modern medical theory was in its infancy.

The museum offers a lesson in the various pills, teas, plasters, tinctures, and injections once prescribed to cure disease. A rare 1880s linen prescription file and hanging prescription spools represent early recordkeeping.

The Rosenthal Spectacles Collection, as well as exhibits on women’s healthcare and epidemics, can be found on the second floor. And the courtyard’s 19th-century herb garden explores plant-based medicine.

The museum opened in 1950, but it was 25 years ago this year that it was saved from closing by a group of pharmacists, physicians, and citizens who didn’t want the fascinating landmark to be lost to history.

Located at 514 Chartres St., the museum is open 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors and free for children under 6. Visit www.pharmacymuseum.org or call (504) 565-8027 for details.

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The museum features hundreds of early–and often crude–types of medicines. New Orleans Pharmacy Museum photo


 

Mississippi Petrified Forest remains a monument to prehistoric times

Time may have stood still for the fossilized trees in the Mississippi Petrified Forest, but you won’t have time to stand still with the park’s many and varied activities.

Located in Flora, Miss., just 14 miles northwest of Jackson on U.S. Route 49, the site is a 36 million-year-old log jam that was deposited by an ancient river from halfway across the continent. A place of beauty and fascination, the forest was discovered in the middle 1800s, but it wasn’t until 1963 that it was opened to the public after R.J. “Bob” and Shirl Schabilion acquired the area, which is now a National Natural Landmark.

The Mississippi Petrified Forest features a shady paved trail along which visitors can see the story of the petrified logs unfold. Trail markers describe each point of interest.

The most photographed stone log is the “Caveman’s Bench,” which lies right on the Forest Trail just where the eroding sands had placed it eons ago.

At the end of the trail is the Earth Science Museum exhibiting petrified wood from around the world, plant life through the ages, and a host of fossils. Guests also will find picnic sites, a gem flume and camping sites.

Daily hours are 9 a.m–5 p.m. Labor Day to April 1, and 9 a.m.–6 p.m. April 1 to Labor Day. It is closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Admission is $7 for adults and $6 for seniors and students. AAA members receive a discount. For details, call (601) 879-8189 or click on www.mspetrifiedforest.com.

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The serene Forest Trail showcases petrified logs dating back 36 million years. Mississippi Petrified Forest photo

 


Frontier spirit of Arkansas soars at living history event

Native Americans and pioneers once trod the Southwest Trail across Arkansas in the 19th century, and today you can journey back to that era during Frontier Days at the Hill of Five Trails.

The living history event at Historic Washington State Park on Feb. 18–19 will bring to life the frontier spirit of the trail, which cut diagonally from the northeast to the southwest corner of the state. Re-enactors will camp and demonstrate tomahawk throwing, the use of muzzleloading rifles, and other pioneer skills and crafts.

The park, which features dozens of restored structures, is located on U.S. Highway 278 about nine miles north of Hope. Admission to the event is free, but tours of the buildings are $8 for adults and $4 for children 6–12. On Saturday evening, the Trail Tales Pioneer Dinner served by the campfire is $25 for adults and $20 for children under 14.

Call (870) 983-2684 or visit www.historicwashingtonstatepark.com for details.

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Visitors can explore the pioneer encampment. Historic Washington State Park photo


Painters capture diverse palette of national parks

There’s no need to brave the elements to explore America’s National Park system this winter–they can be fully explored from the comfort of the R.W. Norton Art Museum in Shreveport, La.

Now through Feb. 12, The Norton is hosting a new exhibit, “American Legacy: Our National Parks,” featuring 100 original paintings from the Plein-Air Painters of America created on site at 35 parks throughout the country. The phrase plein-air refers to the philosophical belief that going into the field and painting on location is crucial to successfully documenting a specific point in time and place.

The 35 national parks united in this exhibition comprise less than 10 percent of the park system, yet they reflect a remarkable cross-section of geography from all of the parks.

Using powerful design, stunning colors, emotive brushwork, and subtle nuances of light and atmosphere, the artists who visited the parks not only captured what they saw with their art, but they reaffirmed the value of nature to the human psyche.

R.W. Norton Art Museum is located at 4747 Creswell Ave. The museum is open from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1–5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free. For additional information, call (318) 865-4201 or visit online at http://rwnaf.org


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