Sunday, September 27, 2020

An update on Progress at the Shiloh Museum and emphasis on keeping our singers safe during a pandemic.

Syd Caldwell, NWA's Ambassador to Sacred Harp Singing, called a few days ago to report that he had discussions with Allyn Lord at the the museum about the Fall Convention. The museum is opening slowly and still has some "restricted areas" and areas of concern where space or other safety factors are worrisome. My contribution to the conversation is only that I've been reading the CDC statements that were posted and taken back down and how airborne diseases are spread via droplets or with aerosols. Most of the research on droplets seems to go back to TB studies in 1934, where the disease was and still is shared by droplets. COVID-19 virus is small enough to be spread within an aerosol, which has a longer range, further than the normal "social distance" of only 6 feet. Activities where aerosols and the virus may be spread include indoor groups, particularly large indoor groups, without masks, such as choirs, basketball games, political rallies, and such.

While the Shiloh Meeting Hall where we sing has hard surfaces and still new air conditioning, a traditional Sacred Harp square where singers are at full volume facing each other doesn't sound like a reasonable position to take even this October. Arkansas has a "case fatality rate" (CFR) much lower than experienced in much of the U.S. But the available hospital space in ICU's has been a factor as more people test positive.

The Shiloh Museum is "safely reopening."
In any case, Syd asked that I informally poll other singers as he was running out of time on his schedule, and the results were consistent that the Shiloh Singers follow the museum's schedule. Any of the singers who would like to know more about the Shiloh Museum's efforts to refurbish facilities, improve displays and safeguard irreplaceable resources can sign up for the museum's newsletter. With all the hard work by museum staff and the improvements, Springdale will have an even better museum to preserve Springdale's history and prominence in the history of the Ozarks.

The museum is also carefully reopening in an effort to keep everyone safe while letting people visit and enjoy the museum's exhibits and the shade trees and get on with as many normal activities as possible or that can be modified to keep everyone safe. 

If you'd like to get on museum's mailing list, send an email to the museum at: and ask to be added to their "News and Events" email list.  In the meantime, the museum will be open Monday through Fridays and closed Saturdays. Every Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to noon, is reserved for high-risk visitors only.

+  If you have any fever, chills or shortness of breath, please stay home until you feel better.

+  The museum is limiting the number of visitors at one time, based on social distancing.

+  Please be patient until room is available. Please use the front entry door and use the side door for exits to maintain safe distancing. Visitors in wheelchairs may ring the bell on the east door and someone will open the door and assist your entry.

+  Visitors must wear a face mask unless they are under 2 years of age or have trouble breathing or other incapacitation. Please practice social distancing while visiting and keep children nearby.

+  Purses are OK but please leave strollers or other personal belongings in your car.

+  Due to the small space, the museum store is closed until the "all clear" is given.

+  If you are a researcher, please call, email or regular mail any research questions or photo requests as space is limited.

All that being said, I have been impressed with the work already done and the photos posted in the museum's "News and Events" newsletter. If you have any questions call the museum at 479-750-8165 or use the email address:

Virtual Singings during the Pandemic

For those not on Facebook,
"Some people have been frustrated by the fact that virtual singing announcements are
scattered around various groups and hard to find. Clarissa Fetrow set up a calendar where people can find and add virtual singings all in one place:"

Be on the lookout for the emailed October edition of the Shiloh Singers Newsletter that will have more information about how to access some of the virtual Covid Singings. 

The Shiloh Museum is not just about the past

Katy Black and "Mr. T" in safer days.
The Shiloh Museum is a place to learn about the people and events that formed our present. The museum's newsletter generally closes with a note about "Mr.T," the museum's resident supervising cat. "Thomas" to his friends has even visited our singings when we sang in the General Store building. He usually has the last word in the "News and Events" newsletter.

The picture shows Thomas giving my wife a big hug a couple of year's ago when social distancing was not required. These days he might be more likely put a paw on your cheek to remind you to wear your mask or pat you hand to remind you to wash your paws if you get too close.

A museum that has a friendly cat, also has friendly people. So watch for changes in the news from the museum and see all the improvements at your community's Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. 

We'll publish any changes we hear about on this website or a special edition of the Shiloh Singer's newsletter that is published once a month when we're not in recess for pandemics and the safety of our singers. We don't want to take any chances with our friends and neighbors.

Take care out there. Wear your mask, keep your distance, avoid large crowds and wash your paws!  Mr. T even has me saying that!!