Minutes of the 9 July 2008 Meeting
The Fort Smith Historical Society

The Fort Smith Historical Society met at the Main Library on July 9,

2008 at 5:00 PM.  Those attending were JP Chancey, Clara Jane Rubarth, Jerry Akins, Dorothy Rappeport, Bill Kirk, Elvin Frick, Jo Ann Campbell, Floyd Barger, Joe Wasson, Wincie Hendricks, Rena Westbrook, Al Whitson, Jimmy Ciulla, Nancy Ciulla, Chloe Lamon, Ben Boulden, Ginny Lane, Jim Medley (State Representative and Area Agency on Aging),  and Chuck Girard (Fort Smith Muiseum of History)

The meeting was called to order by the President, Clara Jane Rubarth.

Meeting times were discussed.  The executive committee meets on the second Wednesday of each month. It give members a chance to keep up with things.  No vote is taken.  Sometimes other meetings will be called.  Everyone is welcome to attend. 

The local paper had an article about the FSHS Journal receiving four state wide awards.  Joe Wasson reported that the next issue of the Journal is on schedule.  Half of the pictures are  ready.  It will be out September 1st.  Also, the oral history  project is ongoing.  He did an interview in Kibler with a 109 year old woman.  Also, there was an interview with a 95 year old man. 

Clara Jane continues her work on a history of St. Scholastica and is now doing archives.

Al Whitson gave a short report on the state of the website and offered public thanks to Ben Boulden for the tremendous job he has done in gathering the information presented there.

Ben Boulden was present as a representative of the Fort Smith Museum of History and talked about the History Museum.  He is currently in charge of the membership committee and expressed an interest in working towards a collaborative partnership with FSHS to reinforce each others membership campaigns.  There are  3,000 names on their membership list at this time.  Among the possibilities discussed were an exchange of benefits (discount admission to the museum for us, subscription to the Journal for them.)  It would be good for both, each side has assets, and there is a deep passion among members of both for local history.

They have paid their expenses and are keeping the doors open.  They have just re-vamped the rate.    A combined membership was discussed with much interest from all present.  He talked about their volunteer program and encouraged participation by our members.  They used to have an audio tour, but the program and equipment became obsolete.  A new system is cost prohibitive at this time and may be supplemented by volunteer tour guides and our memberships expertise in history makes them good candidates for such positions. 

The museum is under new management and is currently engaged in a total conceptual re-design.  They will re-do many exhibits.  The entire first and second floors will be devoted entirely to Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and Oklahoma history (such as the Spiro mounds.)  There are plenty of opportunities for volunteers to serve. 

Boulden also suggested the possibility of coordinating the publication of The Journal and its cover stories with special museum exhibits. For example, a cover story on World War II might be timed to coincide with an exhibit on local World War II vets and military history.

Al mentioned that the history component is plugged in to American History in the schools.  We have the right educational connections - need a funded program administrator.  We could become a clearing house for speakers on specific history subjects.  There is a possibility of ongoing regular meetings with both organizations on coalition and membership issues.   

State Representative Jim Medley was also present and presented the Society with a check for $672.00.  Jim said that Floyd Barger had told him of the Historical Society's need for funds.  Thank you Jim!

The next quarterly meeting is scheduled for the second Wednesday in October. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned by the  President, Clara Jane Rubarth. 

 Chloe Lamon, Recording Secretary