Monday, July 1, 2013

Lakeport Plantation’s Permanent Exhibits Win 2013 AASLH Award of Merit

            NASHVILLE, TN—June 2013—The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the Lakeport Plantation is the recipient of an Award of Merit from the AASLH Leadership in History Awards for Lakeport’s Permanent Exhibits. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 68th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. 
In September 2012, permanent exhibits were installed at the Lakeport Plantation house near Lake Village, Arkansas along the Mississippi River. Lakeport, an Arkansas State University Heritage Site, is one of Arkansas’s premier historic structures and the state’s last antebellum plantation house along the Mississippi River. The interpretation tells a remarkable story of Delta laborers, families and the plantation cotton economy that built and sustained the Lakeport house in 1859 until its restoration between 2002-2007.
The achievement of Lakeport’s permanent exhibits is telling this unique Delta story and its plantation heritage while maintaining the historic integrity of the Lakeport house and weaving together the stories of planters, enslaved laborers, sharecroppers, farm laborers, craftsmen, and preservationists. Since the house had changed little since its 1859 construction, the goal was to treat the house as the major artifact.  To meet that goal, unobtrusive exhibits, designed in collaboration with Quatrefoil Associates of Laurel, Maryland, complement the restoration and preservation of original architecture and historic paint finishes. No interpretation is placed permanently on walls; instead minimalist-styled exhibits tell Lakeport’s stories Original furniture and smaller artifacts, displayed in vitrines, complement Lakeport’s interpretive themes throughout the house. Other innovative media engage visitors: projection of images, text and video onto walls; oral history kiosks, and soundscaping makes the house feel inhabited.
            This year, AASLH is proud to confer eighty-eight national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, books, and organizations. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2013 AASLH Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday, September 20. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.
                The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and
local history throughout the United States.  The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also brings public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena.  For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to
The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history.  From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society.  AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and monthly newsletter.  The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.



  1. What a disappointment. This house was not restored to its original state, but rather redesigned with shutters, modern colors and the inside is stripped of any sign of original color, furniture, presentation or history. The work is nice, but it seems to me, the whole "restoration" just missed the mark. How will the children of Arkansas ever know their history if it is revised in this way? To me, a piece of yesterday such as this should have been maintained in such a way to truly reflect the period.

    1. Lisa do you have information about Lakeport's "original state" that we don't have? As it says in the press release above, "Since the house had changed little since its 1859 construction, the goal was to treat the house as the major artifact." The shutters appear in the earliest photographs and are not a "redesign." All the exterior and interior paint colors were determined by paint analysis (not every plantation house was white). In the case of the interior walls of the house, there was no original paint color in most rooms. The family lived with bare plaster walls because the Civil War interrupted decorating. Lakeport was restored using the highest standards of the Department of Interior; we have never been interested in making up history or turning Lakeport into "just another pretty house."