Popular Arrow Rock “First Saturday” presentation series celebrates 60th anniversary

First Saturdays Arrow Rock
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The popular series of presentations, lectures, and performances known as “Arrow Rock First Saturdays” will resume on Saturday, February 4 at the Arrow Rock State Historic Site Audio Visual Room at 10:00 AM. Admission is free, and seating is limited.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Arrow Rock being named a National Historic Landmark, so the First Saturdays series will focus on village history, preservation, and people.

February 4, 2023

60 Years as a National Historic Landmark: Arrow Rock and the Santa Fe Trail – An examination of Arrow Rock’s role in the Santa Fe Trail and how that history led to the entire town being declared a National Historic Landmark by the Dept. of the Interior in 1963. Presented by historian and author Mike Dickey.

March 4, 2023

Trustees for the Public: 200 Years of Missouri Newspapers. Presented in association with the Missouri Press Association, this 2009 Emmy Award Winning documentary celebrates the rich heritage of Missouri journalists. Two centuries have passed since Joseph Charless, an Irishman, became the first pioneer newspaper publisher in St. Louis. Since his July 12, 1808 issue of the Missouri Gazette, more than 6,000 newspapers have come and gone in the Show-Me State. Joseph Charless, Mark Twain, Eugene Field, Joseph Pulitzer, Ernest Hemingway, Walter Williams…these and others are remembered, along with the Missouri Press Association’s role in founding the State Historical Society of Missouri in 1898 and the Missouri School of Journalism in 1908. The screening of this 59-minute documentary will be followed by a Q&A with producer Beth Pike, Doug Crews, and Mark Maassen of the Missouri Press Association.

April 1, 2023

Arrow Rock: Crossroads of the Missouri Frontier: A Journey into Mid-Missouri History – An overview of the history of Arrow Rock from its first recording as a landmark in 1732 through its heyday in the mid-19th century to current efforts to preserve and interpret the town. Presented by historian and author Mike Dickey.

May 6, 2023

Voices of Arrow Rock

Using art to explore history, the Voices of Arrow Rock project brings to life lesser-known citizens of the historic village. It is about forgotten and underrepresented people, their times, and their spirits. Their voices span the centuries since Arrow Rock was first mapped by French explorers in the early eighteenth century. The fourth installment of this ground-breaking interpretive theatre series, by Brady Kateman, playwright; and Glenn North, poet is Voices of Arrow Rock: County Election.

In the summer of 1976 during the United States Bicentennial, Helen McDaniel introduced thirteen-year-old Mike Kateman to a new way of looking at George Caleb Bingham’s 1852 painting, “County Election.” As they chat about the ancestors of locals who might be depicted in the painting, Helen’s answer to one of Mike’s questions forever changed his perspective on freedom and democracy. In their discussion, we meet one of the characters in Bingham’s painting, “the barkeep,” who shares his thoughts on freedom and democracy as an enslaved man.

June 3, 2023

Juneteenth in Missouri: A History by Gary Kremer. In observation of Juneteenth, Dr. Gary Kremer, Executive Director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, will return to deliver his fascinating presentation about the history of Juneteenth/August 4th in Missouri—and why the celebration of this national holiday is important for all Missourians. Gary was Scholar-in-Residence for the Friends of Arrow Rock in the late 1990s and has thoroughly researched Arrow Rock’s African American history, which informed the exhibits at the Black Lodge Museum. Dr. Kremer’s presentation will be followed by a Q&A. Brown’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, 710 High Street, Arrow Rock, MO.

July 1, 2023

The Woman Who Saved Arrow Rock: Nettie Dickson’s Vision for Historic Preservation, the Missouri State Park System, and the DAR. Sandy Selby, past FAR Executive Director and current Editor-in-Chief of Missouri Life magazine, and Michael Kateman, creator/producer of Voices of Arrow Rock explore the visionary and dynamic woman who saved Arrow Rock from certain obscurity—if not oblivion—through her clearheaded observation of Arrow Rock’s historic treasures and prescient vision of what is now known as “heritage tourism.”

August 5, 2023

The Ever Changing Face of Arrow Rock: 1850, 1875 and 1900. A contrast of how technology changed, and how it impacted the character of the town in twenty-five-year intervals. Presented by historian and author Mike Dickey.

September 2, 2023

Historic Preservation: A Case Study and Philosophy. Historic Preservationist and Arrow Rock authority Marty Selby uses one of the Friends of Arrow Rock buildings to explain the challenges and decisions that are faced when preserving a historic property, the perspectives and ideas that inform preservation solutions—and how they might apply to your own historic home.

October 7, 2023

Voices of Arrow Rock: Ignore the Shadow. The fifth installment of this ground-breaking interpretive theatre series was staged in Brown’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, 710 High Street. tells a story of Arrow Rock residents Green and Nellie Wilson during the early 1880s. The playwright is Ricky Wilson.

As Green Henry Wilson prepares to wed Nellie Robinson on November 24, 1881, at Brown’s Chapel in Arrow Rock, he struggles with his mixed-race identity and what freedom truly means. Born into slavery and fathered by his master, Green longs to be free of the shadow that looms over his mother as he and his bride dream of their future in Kansas. Green tells his mother Ellen of their plans only to meet with her disapproval. After all, as Ellen puts it, they can “pass as white,” and that gives them a brighter future in Arrow Rock.

November 4, 2023

Center Stage: The Legacy of the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre. In 1961, in a historic church, the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre began what has become a sixty-year legacy of entertaining audiences, and becoming a beloved part of the Arrow Rock narrative— in fact, in 2019, the Lyceum was the first theatre in the state to receive the “Missouri Historical Theatre” designation. Producing Artistic Director Quin Gresham and Managing Director Steve Bertani share the fascinating, funny, and often surprising stories of this venerable stage.

In December, our efforts will be devoted to the Old-Fashioned Christmas in the Village, on the second Saturday in December, the 9th.

The Arrow Rock First Saturdays series is presented by the Friends of Arrow Rock in association with the Arrow Rock State Historic Site, to promote the understanding of Missouri history through ongoing education programs and interpretive activities. Between the two organizations, they safeguard 17 historical structures in the National Historic Landmark village of Arrow Rock. Arrow Rock, Missouri, is located 14 miles north of Interstate 70 at exits 89 or 98 on U.S. Highway 41.

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