WHERE TO GO TO LEARN ABOUT ARKANSAS’S AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY Mosaic Templars Cultural Center The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum operated by the Department of Arkansas Heritage, occupies a reproduction of the original 1913 structure at Ninth and Broadway where the founding chapter of the African-American fraternity, the Mosaic Templars, was headquartered. The museum includes exhibits on Little Rock’s AfricanAmerican business district on Ninth Street as well as black entrepreneurs and history makers; an auditorium on the third floor is a copy of the famed original. Here’s what Adrian “607” Tillman, a prolific Little Rock rapper who recently released his 39th album, “Nerd from the Hood,” has to say about the museum: “They know so much about 9th Street and how the district used to look. It’s some real Little Rock history that’s just right here to learn about. I was real impressed. “They have pictures and you get to see the prominent areas there and the way black people used to populate 9th Street. That was an area we used to be in. We had doctors on that street, we had clubs on that street. They have pictures of the way it used to look, they have pictures of the schools before they integrated. Dunbar yearbook pictures on the walls. It’s just crazy — a piece of Arkansas history that I don’t know where else you can go look at that. “You know your people got history here. When you look at all the pictures from the early 1900s, it’s tight to look at some black Arkansans from that time and connect with them. We look up to New Orleans and all these other places but we got culture here too, and we have a history here too.” For more information on the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, located at 501 West Ninth Street, call 683-3593. Other history museums in Little Rock: the Old State House, the oldest standing state capitol west of the Mississippi, which features permanent and changing exhibits related to Arkansas history; the Historic Arkansas Museum, which features restored buildings from Arkansas’s territorial period along with galleries featuring Arkansas art and crafts, both historic and contemporary, and a gallery dedicated to the art and history of the state’s original tribal nations; the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and the Central High School Museum Visitor Center. The Clinton Presidential Center features permanent exhibits on the Clinton presidency along with changing exhibits on American culture. The Arkansas Arts Center is Central Arkansas’s premier arts institution, featuring a collection of works on paper and contemporary craft and operating a Museum School and the Arkansas Children’s Theatre. The Museum of Discovery is an interactive science museum for children and adults; the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center features exhibits on Arkansas wildlife. In North Little Rock, there is the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum on the Arkansas River and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum in Verizon Arena.
JANUARY 2, 2014
HOW TO GET YOUR KIDS AWAY FROM VIDEO GAMES AND USING THEIR IMAGINATION Adventure Quest at Unity Martial Arts “The standard report we get from parents after they pick up their kids is that they talk a thousand miles an hour for 30 minutes and then fall asleep,” said Tanner Critz of Adventure Quest, a freewheeling version of a live-action roleplaying game that has thrilled area kids since Critz brought it to Unity Martial Arts five years ago (Critz also teaches Cuong Nhu, a Vietnamese martial art, to both kids and adults). Adventure Quest creates a narrative fantasy — which the kids themselves have a part in building — in which the kids advance the story by completing various trials and puzzles involving athletic, artistic and mental challenges. The world that the story takes place in changes each year, depending on what the kids want (last year was pirate-based). Costumes, foam weapons and other props add to the fun. “If you take all the stuff that kids really like about movies and video games but then you make it where instead of pressing buttons you’re doing physical activities, kids will pursue with the kind of vigor you’re hoping for,” Critz said. “They get to guide the story and they’ll push themselves a lot harder if it’s in the context of a story. They’re very tuned in.” In addition to an avenue for playful fun, Critz views the game as a great opportunity for kids to get exercise, gain an enthusiasm for learning and solving puzzles, and build self esteem. Adventure Quest is open to kids in grades 1-6. Older kids also participate as helpers to Critz and other staff. Adventure Quest happens in 3-hour-long evening sessions once or twice a month, as well as day-long and week-long camps. For information on schedules and prices, contact Unity Martial Arts at 664-0604 or visit its website, unitymartialarts.com.
HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOUR TOT IS THE NEXT MASTER CHEF JUNIOR Cooking classes for kids at Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library How about an educational activity for children that could lead to tasty treats for the whole family? Jen Throneberry at the Children’s Library offers two cooking programs for kids, both free and open to the public. “Snack Attack,” for kids 6 and older, happens every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and is limited to 50 participants (first come, first serve; the popular program can fill up quickly so show up early). With Throneberry’s help, kids put together simple snacks (recent goodies: fruit kabobs, caprese skewers, sandwich sushi and make-your-own trail mix), and then enjoy chomping down on their creations when they’re done. “Kids in the Kitchen” is a more intensive program for kids 8 and older that requires registration — by phone or in person at the library. The class meets twice a month for two months on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Kids can come to all four classes or pick and choose. Kids cook a full meal — the first week is breakfast, the second week is lunch, then a dinner item and finally dessert. Recent meals: quiche, breakfast pizza, homemade vegetable soup and cornbread, stuffed pasta shells and no-bake pumpkin pie. And it’s not just the kids that get to enjoy. Families are invited to come and sit down together to have the meal that the children prepared that evening. “These are skills that they can take home,” Throneberry said. “In our ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ program, we’re working with food safety and food preparation, hand-washing, knife safety and things of that nature. After they’ve completed one or two classes, parents could feel confident in their child preparing the meals themselves. I’d still recommend parental supervision, but that gives the child independence and they feel good about what they’ve done because they did it themselves.” In both programs, the library uses as many fresh items from their own teaching garden as possible. For more information, call 978-3870. Note: It’s not just for the little ones — kids up to age 15 have participated.
Arkansas Times Native Guide 2014