Wednesday, April 6, 2022, Batesville, Ark. --- The Arkansas Museum Association (AMA) and The Old Independence Regional Museum (OIRM), have announced that Twyla Gill Wright was honored as the 2022 Peg Newton Smith Lifetime Achievement recipient. Established in 2003, the Peg Newton Smith Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes significant and ongoing contributions to the preservation of Arkansas heritage through a lifelong – 20 years or more - involvement in, and commitment to, the museum community and other cultural organizations with a significant portion of that service occurring in Arkansas.
Twyla Gill Wright has been a volunteer for the museum since its beginning, in 1998. “We started [working on the project] in 1991, and we didn’t have a museum at that time,” Wright said. “I was president of the Independence County Historical Society, and they wanted to start a museum. So I formed a planning committee.” Wright said the committee had about 20 people, and they planned the museum for two years. After meeting with historical experts in the community, Wright said, in 1993 she became the founding board president of the Old Independence Regional Museum. “We got our building by 1995, which was deeded to us when we had raised $400,000 in gifts and pledges,” Wright said. “We were able to do that in seven months.”
The Old Independence Regional Museum opened on Sept. 12, 1998, and Wright has been a part of the facility since that day. She served as interim director of the museum for the first partial year it was open, until a full-time director was hired. Since then, she has served as Curator of Exhibits and is a Lifetime Trustee.
Wright is currently leading a group of volunteers who are working on a new exhibit titled, “Off the Top of My Head.” The exhibit will open on April 21 to members and April 22 to the public.
Old Independence Regional Museum
380 South 9th Street | Batesville, AR 72501 | 870.793.2121