Nestled along the Mississippi River is the city of Helena, Arkansas. On July 4, 1863 Helena was the site of a Civil War battle. Through grants Southern Bancorp Community Partners created a 27-site interpretive tour that displays the history of the Civil War in Helena and Phillips County from 1862-1866.
“Southern Bancorp Community Partners is the non-profit arm of Southern Bancorp Bank,” explains Cathy Cunningham, Southern Bancorp Community Partners’ Community Development Coordinator. “We work within the community on development issues ranging from education – industrial development – tourism – health care – housing – leadership, etc. This project was developed within the framework of tourism and is supported with grants from many sources.”
Designed by graphic artists at Mudpuppy and Waterdog of Versailles, KY the panels tell visitors the story of life in Helena during the Civil War. The story is told not only though the perspective of the Confederate and Union soldiers but also through the families that were living in the area. Visitors are able to create their own tour or follow one of the three tours provided by Civil War Helena.
“We anticipate seeing 50-60,000 Civil War tourists each year along with the already 60,000 Blues Heritage tourists who attend the King Biscuit Blues Festival in October each year,” said Cunningham.
Southern Bancorp Community Partners used a variety of Pannier exhibit bases and frames for their 25 site interpretive tour. Southern Bancorp utilized Pannier’s Upright Arch frame to add a more custom look to their displays. They also used Wall Mounts, Traditional T, Uprights and Single Pedestal exhibit bases throughout the tour. Pannier’s fiberglass embedded panels were ideal for the tour, which is open year long, due to their ability to withstand the elements of the weather and vandalism.
“We chose a variation of frames because we believed they were very effective in displaying the interpretation and we really liked how they looked,” said Cunningham. “We enjoyed working with Pannier, they have been very helpful and a pleasure to work with.”