Hickory Nut Dolls

“Hillbilly Wedding,” a hickory nut doll diorama, was made by Ben Smith and his wife, Ethel. The Smiths, who lived in the Fayetteville/Springdale area, made dolls and other souvenir items in the late 1940s which were sold locally and by mail order. The Smiths’ son Lavon helped with the souvenir business while attending the University of Arkansas, where he studied art.

The Shiloh Museum purchased “Hillbilly Wedding” from doll collector Hilda Geuther of Eureka Springs.

Gibson Basket

Donated by Ada Lee Shook

Gibson oak basketLena Smith of Fayetteville owned this basket made by Lifus G. Gibson (1879-1958). Gibson was a member of a well-known family of Northwest Arkansas basket makers. Born and raised in Spring Valley (Washington County), he lived in Fayetteville in his later years, where he made and sold baskets. 

Lifus Gibson was a descendant of Christopher Columbus “Lum” Gibson (1865-1947), who settled near Spring Valley where he originated a basket design in the 1880s that has been passed down in the Gibson family for generations. Gibson baskets are distinctive for their twill-patterned rectangular base, thick handle, and absence of nails.

Donated by Ada Lee Shook

Lena Smith of Fayetteville owned this basket made by Lifus G. Gibson (1879-1958). Gibson was a member of a well-known family of Northwest Arkansas basket makers. Born and raised in Spring Valley (Washington County), he lived in Fayetteville in his later years, where he made and sold baskets.

Lifus Gibson was a descendant of Christopher Columbus “Lum” Gibson (1865-1947), who settled near Spring Valley where he originated a basket design in the 1880s that has been passed down in the Gibson family for generations. Gibson baskets are distinctive for their twill-patterned rectangular base, thick handle, and absence of nails.

Woodcarving

Donated by Kenneth Wickham

Born near Cassville, Missouri, Roy Harris (1893–1977) started carving in 1959 at the age of 65. He specialized in farm-related miniatures and exhibited at the War Eagle Craft Fair (Benton County) for several years.

In 1964 Harris and his wife moved to Frost’s High Sky Inn, an old tourist court east of Springdale. Due to failing eyesight he stopped whittling around 1970.

The donor of this carving burned the words “Arkansas War Eagle” and “1966” (not visible in the photo) on the piece.

Iroquois Beadwork Frame

Gertie Copening at Hindsville (Madison County), 1940s. Jim Vaughan Collection (S-96-126-3)

Donated by Jim Vaughan

This decorative frame belong to Gertie Copening (1881-1962) of Hindsville (Madison County). The message on the postcard in the frame reads, “May Christmas peace keep winter from the heart.”

The frame is an example of Iroquois raised beadwork, a tradition originated by the Iroquois in western New York in the late 1700s. The beadwork became popular in the 1800s, when frames, pincushions, needle cases, and other items were sold as souvenirs and keepsakes at fairs, exhibitions, Wild West shows, and other venues. Contemporary artists continue this tradition of beadwork today.

Dulcimer

L. O. Stapleton of Springdale made this dulcimer for his daughter Linda in 1980. He dubbed the style “Ozarkian Weeping Heart.”

“Stape,” as he was known to friends and family, made over 300 dulcimers, guitars, and other stringed instruments in the 1970s and 1980s out of his Springdale business, Hillbilly Dulcimer Shop.

Beaded Pincushion

Donated by Matha Ann (Mrs. Alfred) Lussky and Katherine Lussky Adam

This pincushion belonged to Alma Lussky of Fayetteville. She was the sister of Dr. Alfred Lussky, head of the German Department at the University of Arkansas for many years.The Lusskys were originally from Illinois by way of New York.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s members of the Mohawk, Tuscarora, and Mohegan tribes in upstate New York made pincushions like this and sold them as souvenirs to tourists visiting Niagara Falls and Saratoga.