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Reading Retreat Planned for two A-State Heritage Sites this Fall


JONESBORO – A reading retreat is planned for this fall at two of the Arkansas State University Heritage Sites. The retreat will be held at The Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Southern Tenant Farmers Museum.  

The retreat will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 7, and will feature two books written nearly 140 years apart by the same name.  
One of the books that will be discussed at the readers retreat is “Life on the Mississippi,” written by Mark Twain in 1883. Another book, by the same title, written by Rinker Buck, was published in 2022.  
“Twain and Buck both traveled down the Mississippi River and chronicled their experiences,” said Penny Toombs, assistant director of the A-State Heritage Sites.  
“Twain reminisces on his life training as a steamboat captain in the 1850s. Buck traveled down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers on a flat boat in the late 2010s to gain a deeper understanding of how the west was opened and its critical part in the development of the U.S. economy in the 1880s.” 
Registration for the event includes a copy of each book.  
“Participants will start the day with a tour of the southern Tenant Farmers Museum at 9 a.m., followed by a discussion of Twain’s ‘Life on the Mississippi’,” said Toombs.  
Attendees will have a sharecropper’s lunch of beans, fried potatoes, cornbread, cobbler and sweet tea.  
“After lunch, participants will travel to the Historic Dyess Colony, only 15-minutes away, for a discussion of Buck’s work followed by a tour of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Dyess Colony Administration Center,” Toombs added. 
The retreat is $80 per person. Upon registration, arrangements will be made to either ship the books or local pickup. To register for the event, go to https://bit.ly/Life_on_MS. For questions on the retreat, contact Toombs at ptoombs@AState.edu or call 870-972-2893.  

Arkansas Heritage Sites at A-State develop and operate historic properties of regional and national significance in the Arkansas Delta. A-State's Heritage Sites include the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, Lakeport Plantation Museum, and Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home. 

"Life on the Mississippi" is the title of both books that will be featured at the readers retreat.