The South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society is a 501-c-3 not-for-profit located in El Dorado, Arkansas. The Historical Preservation Society's principal property is the beautiful Newton House Museum. Located on Jackson Street, this historic Greek Revival home has authentic décor that reflects its antebellum construction (circa 1849). As the only antebellum home open to the public in El Dorado, it offers a glimpse into the rich history of southern Arkansas. This museum is a great family attraction and one of the special places to visit while in El Dorado.
The Historical Preservation Society also has recently added 1,100 sq ft of exhibition space in our administration building that features rotating exhibits from our permanent collections as well as traveling exhibits through the year.
The South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society, in partnership with the South Arkansas Arts Center , presents “Portraits: A Painted History of El Dorado, 1852-2016” in the Price and Merkle Galleries beginning January 5, 2018 and running through January 31, 2018.
This portrait exhibit is a first for SAAC, considering the scope and number of portraits included, as well as the historical commentary that goes along with them. Jack Wilson, business manager of the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society, said, “This exhibit is both artistically and historically important, as we celebrate many of the people who have shaped our community, as well as the artists that created the portraits.”
Curated by Mac Shepperson and Ann Trimble, with portraits spanning 160 years, this exhibition showcases the artistry of local, national, and historically recognized talent with the common theme of El Dorado bringing them together. The exhibition includes 74 portraits.
While many of these portraits are displayed publicly around El Dorado, the vast majority remain in the private collections of the descendants of those for whom they were originally created. Many of these multi-generational portraits of family members have never shared the same space - the likeness of great grandparents and their great grandchildren and generations of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins are finally joined together.
The earliest portraits in this collection represent the beginnings of our town, while the most contemporary range to portrayals of those who still continue to shape El Dorado today.