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The Delta Cultural Center (DCC) recently opened a much anticipated new exhibit entitled “Songs from the Field.” The exhibit takes visitors through the evolution of the music historically associated with slavery and the sharecropping era of the Arkansas and Mississippi River Delta – blues, spirituals, gospel, and rhythm and blues. The exhibit has been three years in the making, with the DCC working with a Maryland company, Quatrefoil Associates, since 2011.

The story of how slaves used music to cope with and transcend the oppression of slavery is told interactively through photographs, sound effects, and artifacts. Children of all ages are encouraged to try lifting a bag of cotton and to play instruments from the period. Additionally, several hi-tech features have been incorporated to create a compelling and unique experience. Notable among these additions is the interactive projection screen that responds to visitors. As a visitor approaches the screen, silhouettes and text appear in front of the individual, depicting various aspects of slave life.

“Songs from the Field” provides visitors with an important link between Helena and the Delta region’s Civil War history and Blues heritage. The mournful beauty of the blues came out of a time of struggle within the region and across the United States. With the opening of this new exhibit, and the recent opening of several key Civil War sites, Helena is becoming a top destination from which to explore the region’s complex history.

For more information about the Delta Cultural Center, contact Paula Oliver at 870-338-4350 or Paula@ArkansasHeritage.org. For more information about planning a trip to Helena, contact Julia Malinowski at 870-714-2844 or Julia@VisitHelenaAR.com.