May is Arkansas Heritage Month and the Texarkana Museums System (TMS) is celebrating with a series of hands-on demonstrations in traditional crafts at the P.J. Ahern Home at 403 Laurel Street in Texarkana, Ark.

On May 21, the Miller Bowie Quilt Board will demonstrate quilting techniques beginning at 10AM. TMS will also have 19th century quilts on display during the demonstrations. On the evening of May 24, Zoe Nakashian will demonstrate the art of wheel button making. Nakashian will also be demonstrating bobbin lace making on the evening of May 31. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in all of these demonstrations. These programs are free, but seating is limited.

The theme of this year's Arkansas Heritage Month is "Celebrating Our Creative Culture." With this theme in mind, the Texarkana Museums System presents, "The Art of Necessity: Exploring the Connection of Art and History Through Textile Arts." This series includes an exhibit of antique quilts on display at the P.J. Ahern Home through June 30.

In conjunction with the exhibit, TMS is partnering with the Miller Bowie Quilt Board to provide free quilting demonstrations on Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 10AM to 2PM. Visitors will be treated to demonstrations of hand quilting, needle turn applique, and paper piecing. For those who want a hands-on experience, visitors can help make the community quilt which is in progress.

"The community quilt is in the 'Arkansas Star' pattern and, instead of quilting stitches, it's being tied," said Jamie Simmons, TMS Curator. "Once the quilt is finished, we will add it to the TMS textiles collection. This is a chance to add your mark to a museum piece."

Later in the month, TMS will present two evening demonstrations featuring traditional needle crafting. On May 24 from 6-7PM, Nakashian will discuss the history of wheel or thread buttons and demonstrate the needle techniques used to make these one-of-a-kind buttons. Finally, on May 31 from 6-7PM, Mrs. Nakashian will demonstrate bobbin lace, and visitors to this demonstration will have the opportunity to try this ancient craft. A native of England, Nakashian has been practicing these needle arts since she was 13.

All of these demonstrations are free to the public, but seating is limited. For more information or to reserve a seat, please contact Jamie Simmons at 903-793-4831 or curator@texarkanamuseums.org. This program was made possible in part by a grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage, funded by your 1/8 cent conservation tax, Amendment 75.