Sep 15, 2017

Ground Breaking for Expansion


Press Release Expansion Groundbreaking at GCHS

Author of six books about local history, Garland County Historical Society volunteer Orval Allbritton wielded the ceremonial shovel as the society broke ground on an expansion to its archives building at 328 Quapaw at 10am on September 15. “Orval personifies dedication to local history,” said GCHS President Gary Jackson. “We’re very proud to have published his six books about our community. He was the unanimous choice to first break ground.”

After 57 years of dedicated historical archiving, the Garland County Historical Society has run out of room at its building to house and preserve its collections. The society is therefore going to expand by 1500 square feet its current 3,400 square foot archives facility. The expansion project will include more archival storage space (with movable shelving), a larger reading/research room, and a clean gas fire-suppression system for
archival areas.  

GCHS board members and volunteers cheered Allbritton on, as did members of the board of the Oaklawn Foundation, which recently awarded the society a $200,000 construction grant.  “We’re very grateful for the Oaklawn Foundation grant, which will fund much of the construction cost. We’re reaching out to the community for tax-deductible donations to help raise the rest of the funds needed. With more room to store historic materials, with movable shelving (which greatly increases storage capacity), and with a state-of- the-art fire suppression system designed to safeguard irreplaceable historic materials, we’ll be better able to serve the local community and people across the State of Arkansas,” said Executive Director Liz Robbins

The society will acknowledge all donors in next year’s issue of its journal, The Record.  Those who give $250 or more, $1,000 or more, or $5,000 or more will have pavers and plaques installed at the archives. People can call 501-321- 2159, email, or visit the archives at 328 Quapaw for more information.  The mission of the Garland County Historical Society is to collect, preserve, and tell the story of Garland County’s history. Established in 1960, the society maintains an archive of over 55,000 photographs as well as paper ephemera, books, newspapers, microfilm, maps, and historical memorabilia.

In 2016, the society had 2,500+ visitors or contacts (many from across the state and country) and gave 44 educational programs to students, civic groups, and the public. It has published 19 books and produces a yearly journal, The Record.  GCHS has partnered with local and state organizations (including the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the Melting Pot Genealogical Society, Hot Springs National Park, the
Fine Arts Center of Hot Springs, the Hot Springs Music Festival, the Garland County Library) in several projects.  

A 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, GCHS is funded by members’ dues, publication sales, and donations. GHCS is the only group in Garland County that attempts to preserve the history of the whole county in all its aspects, and no other group provides services relating to local history on the scale that it does.