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The Drew County Historical Society owns and operates the Drew County Museum, the Drew County Archives, and the Drew County Historical Journal. It also hosts periodic meetings offering presentations about Drew County history.
The Drew County Historical Society was founded on June 15, 1959, by a group of people interested in preserving the heritage of Drew County. Eric and Lurene Hardy are credited with providing early leadership for the organization and putting forth significant effort toward developing a museum for the purposes of housing and displaying artifacts that tell the story of Drew County history. The Drew County Historical Society was incorporated as a non-profit organization on March 4, 1969. In 1970, the society purchased the historic Cavaness House from J. P. Hoyle and his wife, Lillian Hoyle. The property is jointly leased to the City of Monticello (Drew County) and the county and serves as the Drew County Museum.
The Drew County Historical Commission is composed of citizens appointed by the city and the county to administer the funds provided by those entities to operate the museum. The society has a board of elected officers including a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and public relations officer. Meetings are publicized in the local newspaper and the society’s newsletter. For a number of years, public relations officer Sheilla Lampkin has authored a column called “From the Museum” on Drew County history in the weekly newspaper Advance Monticellonian.
In the 1980s, a family home was purchased by the society and converted into the Drew County Archives. Located behind the museum, the archives hold photographs, school records, family histories, maps, business records, scrapbooks, and an extensive vertical file on Drew County history.
In 1986, the society began publication of the Drew County Historical Journal. With the assistance of University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) library director Dr. William F. Droessler, UAM history professor Dr. Donald Holley edited the journal for twenty-three years. During that time, the journal received a number of awards from the Arkansas Historical Association (AHA). The journal continues to be published once each year.
Anyone interested in Drew County history may become a member by contacting one of the society’s officers or visiting the museum at 404 South Main Street in Monticello. The museum and archives are staffed on Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For additional information:“Drew County Historical Society and Museum.” Drew County Vertical File Collection. Drew County Archives, Monticello, Arkansas.
Droessler, William F., and Donald Holley. “The Journal: 23 Years of Writing a County’s History.” Drew County Historical Journal 24 (2009): 18–28.
Lampkin, Sheilla. “Grand Old Lady: The 100-Year-Old Garvin Cavaness House is the Drew County Historical Museum’s Home.” Drew County Historical Journal 21 (2006): 37–40.
Mary HeadyUniversity of Arkansas at Monticello
Last Updated 3/23/2015
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