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Contact(s):Carolyn Newbern - Arkansas Political History Audio Tour - 501-663-1222
Sharon Priest - The Downtown Partnership - 501-375-0121

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Downtown Walking Tour Celebrates Little Rock's Political, Historical Legacy

LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Political History Audio Tour will debut Tuesday, May 27, in an effort to promote cultural and heritage tourism in Little Rock.

The innovative digital track that narrates the walking tour merges history and technology with its unique format. The audio is available to download for free to an MP3 player at the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site, LittleRock.com. A printable version is also available for those who prefer to read along as they walk the tour route.

The tour is a project of the MacArthur Park Group. It is partially funded by an Arkansas Heritage Month grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Arkansas Heritage Month is promoted each May by the Department of Arkansas Heritage to celebrate the state's history and culture. This year's Heritage Month theme is Arkansas's Political Heritage: The People Rule and encourages Arkansans to reflect on the state's motto, Regnat Populus (The People Rule), and their local political heritage and history.

The tour leads the listener on a self-guided exploration of downtown Little Rock, highlighting 23 locations along the route that are associated with the political and historical development of the city. Each site is marked with a sidewalk decal with a logo depicting the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History superimposed on the contemporary Little Rock skyline. The MacArthur Museum, constructed in 1840, is one of central Arkansas's oldest surviving structures and the birthplace of one of America's foremost military heroes, General Douglas MacArthur. The sidewalk decals visually unite Arkansas's rich history with its vibrant modern culture.

³Each of the 23 tour stops exhibit a different aspect of Arkansas's political history and highlight either a person or an event associated with that particular area,² said Carolyn Newbern, the audio tour's grant project chairman. ³Each site has at least one characteristic that illustrates the development of Little Rock as a capital city.²

According to the audio tour narration, ³Starting at la Petite Roche (the ³little rock²), this tour will guide you away from the Arkansas River in much the same way the town developed.² Other stops along the way include Trapnall Hall, Curran Hall, MacArthur Museum of Military History, MacArthur Park and the Historic Arkansas Museum. The tour is narrated by Arkansas native and retired television personality Steve Stephens.

For more information about the audio walking tour, visit the Little Rock Visitor Information Center at Curran Hall, 615 E. Capitol Ave. Maps will also be available at Curran Hall to help navigate the tour. Download the audio tour narration at the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site, LittleRock.com.

About the MacArthur Park Group
The MacArthur Park Group formed in 2006 to develop ways to enhance Little Rock's first city park and its neighborhood, a National Register and local ordinance Historic District. This group of interested residents represents varied constituencies, including neighborhood residents, historic preservationists, economic and real estate developers, museum professionals, city staff, mass transportation interests, tourism promoters, students, environmentalists, cyclists and runners.

About the Department of Arkansas Heritage The Department of Arkansas Heritage, through the work of its seven agencies, seeks to recognize the state's heritage and to enhance Arkansas's quality of life through the discovery, preservation and presentation of the state's cultural, natural and historic resources. The agencies are Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

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