• Rifle Regiment arriving at Belle Point, 1817. Artwork by Michael Haynes

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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  • Road Construction I-540

    Traveling West on I-40? To avoid construction delays, do not take Exit 7 (I-540 S). Stay on I-40 west and take Exit 1 Dora. Stay on Hwy 64D for 6 miles and follow signs to Fort Smith. After crossing over the river, turn right on 4th ST & right on Garland. More »

2013 Summer Kids Programs

During the summer, Fort Smith National Historic Site is offering free children's programs primarily for ages 6 and up. These programs are one hour long and include a variety of activities. These programs are very popular and fill-up quickly! Reservations are required and must be made by calling the park at 479-783-3961. Please note all programs are offered twice during the summer. The program is the same both times please do not sign up for both programs to allow more kids an opportunity to participate.

 

Join the Rifle Regiment
Monday, June 10 at 10:00 a.m.
The Rifle Regiment established Fort Smith to keep eye on the western edge of the United States and assist in the movement of American Indians west of the Mississippi River. Children will learn what soldiers did here and do some of their musket drill with wooden rifles. This is a fun hands on activity where children get to spend time outdoors.
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Painting at the Fort
Wednesday, June 12 at 10:00 a.m.
Painting with watercolors was an important skill for explorers before photography. The earliest picture of Fort Smith is a watercolor made by artist Samuel Seymour who traveled with Major Long in 1821. Come and try your hand at painting with watercolors on the park grounds. Children will be provided with watercolors and paper to create their own scenic image of the location.
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Discovering the Old Fort Smith
Monday, June 17 at 10:00 a.m.
Choosing the location of the first fort at Belle Point set into motion a series of events that defined the unfolding history of Fort Smith for generations into the future. Children will take part in a scavenger hunt at the first fort and identify key features of why the location was chosen. Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Tree Leaf Shape Walk (For ages 3-6)
Wednesday, June 19 at 10:00 a.m.
Nature is filled with trees that have many shapes, colors, and sizes. By learning various shapes leaves can have, children can begin to discover the difference between trees. Children will go on a walk to discover various shapes in nature then finish by making their own artwork from leaves. Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Discovering the Old Fort Smith
Monday, June 24 at 10:00 a.m.
Choosing the location of the first fort at Belle Point set into motion a series of events that defined the unfolding history of Fort Smith for generations into the future. Children will take part in a scavenger hunt at the first fort and identify key features of why the location was chosen. Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Painting at the Fort
Wednesday, June 26 at 10:00 a.m.
Painting with watercolors was an important skill for explorers before photography. The earliest picture of Fort Smith is a watercolor made by artist Samuel Seymour who traveled with Major Long in 1821. Come and try your hand at painting with watercolors on the park grounds. Children will be provided with watercolors and paper to create their own scenic image of the location. Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Creating Coiled Clay Bowls
Tuesday, July 2 at 10:00 a.m.
Knowing how to make clay vessels for storing food and water was a valuable skill for thousands of years throughout the world. One way we learn about previous cultures by is by the pottery they left behind. Archeologists have used shards of pottery to learn where people lived, what they ate, and who they traded with. In this program, children learn about ancient pottery and make their own clay bowl.
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Tree Identification Walk
Friday, July 5 at 10:00 a.m.
Trees were an important part of life in early Arkansas and knowing how to identify them was a valuable skill. In this workshop, children will explore Belle Point, the site of the first Fort Smith, and have an opportunity to learn how to identify five trees. Children will learn the fun activity of making their own leaf book.
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Fur Trapping on the Frontier
Tuesday, July 9 at 10:00 a.m.
Trapping and hunting animal furs was a major occupation in Arkansas for much of its history. In the 1700s, French fur trappers met at Belle Point to sell furs collected each year. People continued to hunt and trap through the 1800s and early 1900s for money.
In this program, children will get to see and handle actual furs while learning about the different kinds of animals that were hunted in early Arkansas.
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Traveling with the Deputies
Friday, July 12 at 10:00 a.m.
Deputy Marshals working in Indian Territory had a very tough job. They policed the Indian Territory, captured criminals, and brought outlaws to justice, all while on horseback. Children will learn what a Deputy Marshal needed to survive while on the trail - from his horse and saddle to his warrants and Winchester rifle.
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Creating Coiled Clay Bowls
Tuesday, July 16 at 10:00 a.m.
Knowing how to make clay vessels for storing food and water was a valuable skill for thousands of years throughout the world. One way we learn about previous cultures by is by the pottery they left behind. Archeologists have used shards of pottery to learn where people lived, what they ate, and who they traded with. In this program, children learn about ancient pottery and make their own clay bowl.
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Detective Work at the Fort
Friday, July 19 at 10:00 a.m.
The courthouse went through several changes throughout its history. By looking at clues left behind and original photographs, changes in the area can be discovered. Children will learn how to see these changes and discover how the building evolved over time. Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Traveling with the Deputies
Tuesday, July 23 at 10:00 a.m.
Deputy Marshals working in Indian Territory had a very tough job. They policed the Indian Territory, captured criminals, and brought outlaws to justice, all while on horseback. Children will learn what a Deputy Marshal needed to survive while on the trail - from his horse and saddle to his warrants and Winchester rifle.
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

How a Trial Works
Friday, July 26 at 10:00 a.m.
The Fort Smith Federal Court is well known for the role it played in the old west but many do not realize Judge Parker was required to follow rules like those used in court today. Children will experience how the justice system works through participation in a short mock trial. Where better to learn how a trial works than in Judge Parker's courtroom? Group size is limited. Reservations required.

Detective Work at the Fort
Tuesday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m.
The courthouse went through several changes throughout its history. By looking at clues left behind and original photographs, changes in the area can be discovered. Children will learn how to see these changes and discover how the building evolved over time.
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

How a Trial Works
Friday, August 2 at 10:00 a.m.
The Fort Smith Federal Court is well known for the role it played in the old west but many do not realize Judge Parker was required to follow rules like those used in court today. Children will experience how the justice system works through participation in a short mock trial. Where better to learn how a trial works than in Judge Parker's courtroom?
Group size is limited. Reservations required.

 
 
 
 
 

Did You Know?

Portrait of Anna Dawes

A woman was responsible for the building of a modern federal jail at Fort Smith, AR, in 1888. Anna Dawes, daughter of Sen. Dawes of MA, visited the "Hell on the Border" jail in 1885 and wrote an article describing its conditions. When read in Congress, money was quickly approved for a new jail.