The History & Art of the Bowie Knife Bladesmithing Community Education Course


The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana will hold a special community education course entitled “The History and Art of the Bowie Knife,” to learn about the history of the Bowie knife and its place in the history of Arkansas. The class will be held on January 17 at 11:00 a.m. in the beautifully restored 1860 Brunson House at Historic Washington State Park in conjunction with the grand opening of the UAHT James Black School of Bladesmithing and Historic Trades.

The class is designed for anyone interested in art and history, which collided in 1831 when James Black merged the two in crafting the original Bowie knife in Washington, Arkansas. Students in the class will be able to view a special exhibit of Bowie No. 1, on loan from Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock. Bowie No. 1 is considered by most to be the first Bowie knife ever crafted by Black for Jim Bowie. According to Historic Arkansas Museum, the “guardless-coffin” Bowie No. 1 knife is well-known among collectors as one of the most distinctive Bowie knives in existence. Participants in the course will also receive a sneak peek and artist’s interpretation on Arkansas #1 from Jerry Fisk before the knife’s public unveiling.

The course is designed for students to learn about the history of the Bowie Knife and its place in the history of Arkansas. There will be a focus on the artistic aspects of the craft of bladesmithing and the historic functional design of the Bowie blade. Students will learn from and engage with Master Bladesmiths Jerry Fisk, National Living Treasure; Lin Rhea, Resident Historic Blacksmith at Historic Arkansas Museum; and Billy Nations, Supervisor of Interpretive Programs at Historic Washington State Park. The cost of the class is $20.00 and includes lunch.

To register, contact Akili Moses Israel, UAHT Community Education Director, at 870.722.8102 or or visit

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