Beauty Blog

Historic Arkansas Museum - Monday, April 20, 2020

By Carey Voss, Curator of Exhibits, and Victoria Chandler, Arkansas Made Researcher

For those of us at Historic Arkansas Museum, this week marks one month of cancelled events, telecommuting, and social distancing.

Many of us are anxious and worried, and the disruption of our normal routines leaves us grasping for stability. In these difficult times, we’re all desperate to distract ourselves from distressing news and concerns about the future. What do we do? We immerse ourselves in an endless stream of funny memes, interspecies friendships, babies hugging dogs, cats doing stupid stuff, perfect home-made bread, whipped coffee concoctions, garden plans, wildflower bouquets, Zillow day-dreams, craft projects, re-creations of famous artworks, and videos of celebrities at home.

Books, movies, and art we might normally dismiss as meaningless fluff are suddenly ESSENTIAL. Why?

Our answer: beauty has many functions beyond decoration and ornament; beauty is useful. In periods of uncertainty, beauty is a survival strategy. Focusing on beauty reminds us of the power of hope to overcome fear.

To help direct our collective attention toward hope and away from fear, Victoria and Carey are excited to share a list of 10 of the most beautiful objects in Historic Arkansas Museum’s collection. Because definitions of beauty are intensely personal and the HAM collection is expansive, you might choose ten completely different things. This conversation will focus less on why we think something is beautiful and more on what beauty does – how it functions in our lives.