I finally got around to listing some dresses in the etsy shop yesterday, but photoshop was being uncooperative and wouldn't save my files. I wasted my morning and built up quite a bit of frustration, so I decided to take a stroll downtown to the river market. I called Cody up so I wouldn't have to walk alone and so we could explore all the historical buildings in my new neighborhood.
When we got downtown, we saw that the Arkansas Studies Institute, a historical building that has been under construction from the inside out for a few years now, was finally open to the public. The building is absolutely breathtaking inside and out, and it houses many manuscript collections revealing a look into Arkansas' history and its people. It's focus is to promote a greater understanding of Arkansas' history, art, literature, and culture. There are several photograph collections focusing on all aspects of Arkansas' history, including military, education, plantation, building, architecture, natural resources, etc. Along with the photographs, there are several regional, national, and world maps on display, with some dating back to the 17th century.
On the entry level floor, there is a gallery for local artists to sale their work and a rotating photography gallery. This month, the gallery is featuring tons of photographs dated from 1900-1950 of inmates at the Arkansas Correctional Facility. Most of the photographs were mug shots of men and women that a photographer found in a drawer and restored for the gallery. Several were taped back together and scanned back in, adding to the worn look of the shots.
Although we only explored the first floor, we learned a little more about the building through the pamphlets at the front door. Apparently, the building is an extension of the Central Arkansas Library System and the top floor houses the first research library in Arkansas. Still unfinished, and soon to come is an archival collection. Cody and I were so ecstatic to have discovered such a fascinating place with so much information that we would have never found on our own, and....it's free!
After our unexpected and refreshing detour, we got right back on track to the used bookstore. I absolutely love this place because I can afford to pick up a few books, unlike Barnes and Nobles where I can only get one because they're so expensive. I found a great little photography book called "The Joy of Photographing People" that is full of old and new photography (which I've been on the hunt for), but I didn't have much luck finding any history of costume books (which I've also been hunting for).
When we were checking out, the hyper librarian noticed that I had a photography book. She got so excited and began to tell me about an Arkansas photography book that was published back in September. Apparently, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette held a contest asking Arkansas natives to submit photographs that represent Arkansas to them. The winners were selected and their work was published in this book. It's a thick book full of nature, people, and places that truly represent our state, and I would have bought it had it been a little cheaper.
As much as Cody and I are out and about taking photos, we were shocked that we hadn't heard anything about this contest when it was going on. Most of the promotion was through the paper, and like most kids in our generation, we get our new from the internet. I asked if they were planning on doing a second book, and she told us that the project was a great success and that it would probably take place again in 2009. Now our eyes are open, and we may just become regular readers of the Sunday paper.