Penny Toombs, a long-time educator for Piggott Public Schools, has been appointed as the director of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, two of Arkansas State University’s Heritage Sites.
Toombs has a background in K-12 education. For the last 14 years, she served as the gifted and talented and advanced placement coordinator for Piggott Public Schools. She also served on the advisory committee for the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, another A-State Heritage Site located in Piggott.
“I’m pleased that Penny has accepted the position as the director of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Southern Tenant Farmers Museum,” Dr. Adam Long, director of A-State Heritage Sites, said.
“She has always provided high quality and energetic assistance to us in her capacity as a volunteer. I’m excited for the leadership she will bring to the two sites,” Long said.
As a member of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer advisory committee, Toombs took the lead in a variety of programs with K-12 students, including special programming around the WWI Centennial commemoration in 2018.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum, and I look forward to working at Dyess and Tyronza full-time,” Toombs said. “Both sites tell important stories that I hope to share with visitors, as well as with students and teachers.”
The Arkansas State University Heritage Sites office develops and operates historic properties of regional and national significance in the Arkansas Delta. These sites provide educational resources for formal and informal learning, including serving as living laboratories for students in the university’s Heritage Studies Ph.D. program. In addition, they serve as economic catalysts in communities where they are located by attracting heritage tourists from around the country.
The Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home preserves a federal agricultural resettlement community, which provided a fresh start for nearly 500 impoverished Arkansas farm families, including the family of music legend Johnny Cash.
The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum enhances knowledge and understanding of tenant farming and agricultural labor movements in the Mississippi River Delta, in an effort to preserve the history and promote the legacy of sharecropping, tenant farming and the farm labor movement.