Arkansas Studies Institute
“The state’s largest free-standing facility dedicated to the study of Arkansas history and culture” is the Arkansas Studies Institute, created through the collaboration of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), which owns the ASI, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (“About”). Located in the city’s River Market District, the institute opened in 2009 and calls home 3 historical buildings, each from a different century. “Visitors can explore family history; browse the retail and exhibit galleries of Arkansas artwork, crafts, and gifts; enjoy a meal or cold drink; and view more than 100 photographic image panels depicting life in Arkansas from frontier days to modern times” (“ASI Building”). The Butler Center's and UALR’s CAHC collections include over 10 million documents and photographs, among them the papers of seven former Arkansas governors, including Bill Clinton. The Butler Center, the history department of CALS, is the home of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas (EOA), which gets more than 2 million visitors per year. The Butler Center has a popular monthly genealogy course as well as key research tools, according to its web site. https://www.butlercenter.org/genealogy/ It also offers yearly genealogy workshops like this 2018 one: https://www.butlercenter.org/conference/index.html
Backstory and Context
The Butler Center Galleries at the Arkansas Studies Institute are home to “works from exhibits on tour that showcase the history and heritage of Arkansas and works from the CALS permanent collections. The art galleries display a vast array of media such as paintings, photographs, sculpture, pottery and etchings. CALS currently owns more than 1500 pieces of Arkansas Art" (“The Art”). The Retail Gallery features work from over 50 native Arkansas artists. Count Pulaski Way “consists of two alleys, a rebuilt portion of Rock Street that is reminiscent of early stone roads, and the lower Arkansas River Valley Walking Map” (“The Art”). The Image Panels, which line both building’s exterior and interior, are made of 3x5 ecoresin panels that tell the visual history of Arkansas.
The institute’s research room includes books, periodicals,
manuscripts, microfilmed administrative and military records, and digital resources
along with staff assistance to help visitors learn of Arkansas and personal
family history. Also located within the institute’s building are 4 Square
Gifts, the Arkansas Humanities Council, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies,
the University at Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture, and the University
of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.