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TEXARKANA, Ark. — The Texarkana Museums System wants you to tell your story as part of the Texarkana community's story.

To that end, the TMS will hold a scrapbooking workshop at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, at the P.J. Ahern Home, an event that kicks off the Texarkana Community Scrapbook project.

Although events across the city and beyond have been put on hold and TMS shut its doors until March 27 because of the coronavirus outbreak, the organization currently plans to hold this workshop.

Each attendee will receive a workshop kit to help them make a 12-inch by 12-inch scrapbook page to mark the TMS' 50th anniversary.

At the workshop, people can contribute one scrapbook page related to marking that milestone. The public can begin submitting additional pages about Ark-La-Tex history starting on April 5. Pages will become part of the community scrapbook, which will ultimately be viewable at the P.J. Ahern Home and via the Wilbur Smith Research Archive.

Curator Jamie Simmons says the workshop is just one of several P.J. Ahern Home programs funded by a Division of Arkansas Heritage grant.

"This particular event is focused on community history. We're trying to take a more creative approach to encouraging people to explore the local history and share it with their neighbors by creating these scrapbook pages," Simmons said. Some pages will also be created by TMS staff. "We really want that to be mainly to be contributions from the public. This is the launch of that ongoing project."

Texarkana Community Scrapbook submissions must meet a few general parameters. "Any person or topic or place within our area. Not just Texarkana. It can be Bowie or Miller County, Arkansas or Texas history, just whatever someone would really like to share with the public," Simmons said.

All materials will be provided during the workshop to make one page. The TMS will supply copies of information and pictures to make a page about the workshop focus, which is the history of the TMS itself. Next year, the Museums System celebrates half a century in existence, the curator said.

"The museum was founded in 1971, so we're working towards beginning a year-long celebration of our 50th anniversary," Simmons said. While this workshop focuses on one aspect of the Ark-La-Tex history, people can create and submit a page about any topic as described above.

Ultimately, scrapbook pages exploring the TMS history will become part of a time capsule. In house, the TMS staff have already begun work on creating the Texarkana Community Scrapbook, so there are pages to peruse to see how it's done, even with some of the quirky elements of Texarkana history.

"This really is a family-friendly type of project, as well families can come together and learn how to do scrapbooking," Simmons said, adding, "We're hoping people will look at interesting parts of their history or city history or community history and think, 'You know, that's an interesting point that I don't hear anybody talking about. Let me do a page to share that with people.' And also to explore their creativity."

Here is a chance to creatively tell a story.

"I do think it's a great way to connect to the community. We all have our areas of interest and that includes history elements, as well. Especially if you're someone who likes to explore history and you have a specific focus, you often meet the same people over and over again because you're exploring the same topics," Simmons said.

So this is a way to share that information with a wider audience, but also make connections to others who enjoy history, "but maybe from a different point of view," she said.

"It's a great way to connect stories that often get isolated within subgroups and share those stories with a wider community," Simmons said. And for the community, it's a broad, accessible way to plug into history, she believes.

(Workshop cost: $10, $5 for TMS members, fee includes refreshments and materials. Advance tickets are required and they can be purchased by visiting TexarkanaMuseums.org/events. More info: 903-793-4831 or the P.J. Ahern Home page on Facebook.)

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