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December 31, 2003—The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture project has received $200,000 from the Department of Arkansas Heritage, according to Jill Curran, project coordinator for the Encyclopedia. The money comes from a portion of the 1/8-cent conservation tax fund approved in 1996.
Cathie Matthews, Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, says this contribution helps fulfill three of the commitments made regarding the use of proceeds from the tax. “One is education, taking the story of heritage into the schools. Another is identifying our history, and the third one is telling people—all people—Arkansans and other people, about our history and our heritage,” says Matthews.
According to Curran, “The Department of Arkansas Heritage people have been strong supporters of this project from its inception. They already have volunteered assistance from their staff and access to their historical resources. Their financial support is just another wonderful demonstration of their commitment to the Encyclopedia.”
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture is an 8-year project to develop a web-based encyclopedia, a CD-ROM educational version, and a proposed two-volume print version. The web version will include more than 3,000 text entries covering Arkansas topics ranging from items of local and regional interest to those with national and international significance.
The mission of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture is to collect and disseminate information on all aspects of the state's history and culture and to provide a comprehensive reference work for historians, teachers, students, and individuals for the purpose of promoting the study, understanding, and appreciation of Arkansas's heritage.
The Encyclopedia project is directed by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. For more information, go to www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net.