The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War in Arkansas began on February 12, 2011 on the grounds of the MacArthur Museum of Military History, known in 1861 as The Little Rock Arsenal. The event, slated as a lecture series on the “Little Rock Arsenal Crisis” of 1861, was nothing short of a success. With cannons firing, soldiers drilling, and various lectures by noted Arkansas historians presented, the symposium was well-received by everyone in attendance.
The first lecture, given by Ian Beard, from The Old State House Museum, spoke on the various arms and ammunition stored at the Little Rock Arsenal, while Tom Ezell presented the second lecture on his original research, “To Prevent the Effusion of Blood . . . The Little Rock Arsenal Crisis of 1861.” The last two presentations were given by Arkansas historian Micheal Dougan on the topics of the first secession convention in Arkansas and the downfall of Governor Henry M. Rector, respectively.
The museum director Steve Macateer and his assistant Heather did an incredible job in pulling off the first 150th event in Arkansas. After a few days of inclement weather leading up to the event, the turnout was spectacular. “This event brought everyone in the Civil War community together for a common goal: education.” Historian Ron Kelley noted regarding the February 12, 2011 Little Rock Arsenal event.