Entry Category: Education - Starting with M

Mount Pleasant Academy

The Mount Pleasant Academy was established in 1878 at Barren Fork (now Mount Pleasant) in Izard County. The two-story frame structure was situated on a hilltop overlooking the little community of about 100 people. Built with donated funds, materials, and labor, it operated under a board of directors. The area was settled during the 1850s, mostly by pioneer farmers from Tennessee and Kentucky with Scots-Irish ancestry. They established a church before building the village of Barren Fork, which was named for a creek that flows nearby and joins Poke (or Polk) Bayou in Independence County. The academy was named for the hill where it was located. It always had close ties to the two local Cumberland Presbyterian churches because most …

Mount St. Mary Academy

Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock (Pulaski County), a Catholic school established in 1851, is Arkansas’s oldest educational institution still teaching today. The academy is the state’s only all-girl secondary school. Today, Mount St. Mary educates about 550 high school students. In late 1850, Bishop Andrew Byrne went to Ireland in search of an order of sisters to promote Catholic education in Arkansas. Upon contacting the Sisters of Mercy, Byrne was granted twelve members of the order. The women arrived in Little Rock on February 5, 1851, a date now known as “Founders Day.” The sisters lived in Byrne’s house on 2nd Street and then in a meeting house on Markham Street. Their “official” convent at 6th and Louisiana streets …

Mountain Crest Academy

Mountain Crest Academy was located seven miles south of Combs (Madison County), just one mile from the Madison County line. The academy was one of a large number of schools founded by the Presbyterian Church to serve the “backward classes” of the rural mountain South. The church became interested in this home mission work around 1910 and established a large number of such schools, many of them in the Appalachian Mountains. By 1917, the Southern branch of the Presbyterian Church (the Presbyterian Church in the United States, or PCUS) was supporting forty-two such schools, which served more than 2,000 students. Some of the schools also emphasized local mountain crafts. Mountain Crest was apparently the brainchild of the Reverend John W. …

Mountain Home (Baptist) College

Mountain Home College (MHC)—known also as Mountain Home Baptist College—operated from 1892 to 1933 in Baxter County. Despite a troubled history, the school played an important role in education in the upper White River valley. As education became more important in the late nineteenth century, Baptists sought to improve not only the educational level of the clergy but also of the laity. In 1889, the White River Baptist Association resolved that since so many public schools were “under the influence of infidel and worldly sentiments,” there should be a Baptist college in their region. The Baptists also noted that the Methodists had established the Yellville Institute in Marion County. The school was located in Mountain Home (Baxter County), which subscribed …

Mountain Mission Schools

The term “mountain mission school” refers to a specific kind of private school or college of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most often focusing on secondary education for white children in the highland South, mountain mission schools were one of several kinds of mission schools that developed from the efforts of northern religious denominations to found schools for the children of former slaves during and after the Civil War. At least seven different denominations established and maintained mountain mission schools in Arkansas. They varied widely in academic, religious, and cultural emphasis and were differentiated from other denominational schools either by their conscious designation as “mountain mission” schools or by their motives and rhetoric suggesting cultural assumptions and goals …

Mulberry Home Economics Building

The Mulberry Home Economics Building, located on Church Avenue in Mulberry (Crawford County), was built between 1937 and 1939 with assistance from the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. Mulberry Campground housed one of the first schools in Crawford County in the late 1820s, and a formal school was established in the town of Mulberry in 1878, two years before the community incorporated. In 1931, Mulberry Public Schools consolidated with the Vine Prairie and Pleasant Hill school districts as part of a wave of 591 consolidations around the state, and a $45,000 brick school building was built shortly afterward. In 1937, the school …

Mullins, David Wiley

David Wiley Mullins was a prominent and influential educator in Arkansas in the middle of the twentieth century. As president of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) for almost fifteen years, he played an important role in the development of the state university system during a period of extensive expansion and growth. David W. Mullins was born on August 11, 1906, in Ash Flat (Sharp County). The son of Roscoe Mullins and Emma Matilda Roberts Mullins, he grew up in Ash Flat before entering UA in 1927. Majoring in math and history, he graduated cum laude in 1931. He became a high school teacher in the Williford Consolidated Schools in 1931 and served as superintendent of the …

Museum of American History

The Museum of American History, formerly known as The Museum/Cabot High, is the only student-founded and -operated museum of history in Arkansas. The award-winning museum, which is owned by the Cabot School District, was founded in 1985 on the campus of Cabot High School and was later moved to a building in downtown Cabot (Lonoke County). It is currently closed pending relocation to a new site. The idea for a museum operated by teachers and students originated in 1981 after high school teacher Mike Polston observed how historical artifacts sparked his students’ interest. He and fellow teacher David Howard formed a school history club with the stated goal of collecting, preserving, and displaying objects associated with the history of the …

Museums

Arkansas’s many museums—most focusing on state and local history, science, and military history—are an important part of Arkansas’s culture, as they promote education and the preservation of valuable artifacts. The University of Arkansas Museum in Fayetteville (Washington County), which was founded in 1873, is most likely the first public museum in Arkansas. (The university maintains the collections of the museum, though there is no dedicated museum space as of 2013.) Another early museum is the Fort Smith Museum of History, originally called the Old Commissary Museum, which was founded in 1910 in a building built in 1838; the present-day museum is located in a different historic building, the Atkinson-Williams Building. The Museum of Natural History and Antiquities (which later became …