Hawkins Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from History Group
JONESBORO — Dr. Ruth A. Hawkins, director of the Arkansas State University Heritage Sites program, recently received a lifetime achievement award at the 75th annual awards banquet of the Arkansas Historical Association in Little Rock.
Hawkins was honored for her signal contributions to historic preservation, public history and historical tourism as director of the Heritage Sites program.
(From left) Joseph Key, vice president of Arkansas Historical Association; Dr. Ruth Hawkins, director of the Arkansas State University Heritage Sites program; Dr. Tim Nutt, president of Arkansas Historical Association.
“Our heritage sites at A-State are not just about preserving buildings,” Hawkins said. “They are about telling stories that are important to the history of our state and our nation. So it means a great deal for our work to be recognized by the organization representing Arkansas’s finest historians. “
The Heritage Sites program, established in 1999, preserves and promotes significant sites in the Arkansas Delta. The goal is to promote the natural and cultural heritage in the region, thus serving as an economic catalyst for communities and providing an educational laboratory for students at Arkansas State and throughout the region.
The sites include Historic Dyess Colony Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess; Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott; Lakeport Plantation near Lake Village; Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza; the Historic V.C. Kays House at Arkansas State University; the Arkansas State University Museum and the affiliated Japanese American Relocation Center at Rohwer.
A-State Heritage Sites also serves as administrative agent for Arkansas Delta Byways, the official non-profit regional tourism promotion association serving 15 counties in the Arkansas Delta. These include Arkansas, Chicot, Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Desha, Drew, Greene, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett and St. Francis.
The program has been instrumental in developing and promoting two National Scenic Byways that traverse these counties — the Crowley’s Ridge Parkway and the Arkansas segment of the 10-state Great River Road, which runs along both sides of the Mississippi River.
The goal was to promote the natural and cultural heritage in the region, thus serving as an economic catalyst for communities and providing an educational laboratory for students at Arkansas State and throughout the region.
All Heritage Sites provide educational opportunities and activities for adults, students and educators uniquely tied to each of their missions. Each site offers group and student tours and professional development courses. Additionally, students in the Heritage Studies Ph.D. program at A-State assist through classes, field schools, practicum experiences, independent studies and graduate assistantships. Hawkins also serves on dissertation committees for Heritage Studies Ph.D. students.
Most recently, in May, Hawkins and members of the Johnny Cash family helped to celebrate the grand opening of the Dyess Colony Visitors Center in phase two of the master plan for the Dyess Colony restoration.
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