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— Providing a look into the past as well as education for today's generation, the Pea Ridge National Military Park is planning a new museum with updated interactive displays.

For now, the former museum area is closed.

The theater, book store and front lobby are still accessible to visitors.

The articles formerly in the museum are in Harper's Ferry, W. Va., being cleaned and prepared for the new exhibits.

"The fabricators for the exhibits are supposed to be here Feb. 19," John Scott, superintendent of the park, said.

"It's been like juggling five elephants at once," Scott said of working with different contractors supervising the demolition and remodel. A new heating and air system is being installed, specifically designed to preserve the antiques housed in the museum.

He said the new exhibits will provide a panorama map depicting the events of the battle on both March 7 and 8, 1862.

Exhibits will show not only battle relics, but civilian life in the 1860s in the area, as well as Native American life in northwest Arkansas.

"It will help explain the causes - political, social - of the war," Scott said, explaining there will be a screen behind each display which will engage the visitor with each exhibit.

He said he hopes the work is completed by the anniversary of the battle, March 7 and 8, 2010.

The Pea Ridge National Military Park is on U.S. Highway 62 east of Pea Ridge.

Area, Pages 9 on 08/26/2009

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