By Carla Charter
FORT CHAFFEE, ARK. – Many Elvis Presley fans enjoy his music, may have his movies on their DVD shelf and may even have an Elvis costume in their closet. Now thanks to the Chaffee Barbershop Museum at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, they can also have an official Elvis military buzzcut.
On Saturday the museum will be offering free buzz cuts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The museum itself will be opened from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Visitors can also view the original camera used to take the picture of Elvis getting his hair cut on March 25, 1958 and vintage news video of the event. On hand for storytelling will be Jimmy Don Peterson, the son of the barber who cut Elvis hair at Fort Chaffee. The younger Peterson is also a barber and teaches cosmetology, according to Lorie Robertson Director of Marketing at Chaffee Crossing.
Those attending are encouraged to dress up as Elvis as there will also be a “Rock Around the Block” walk around the block for all visitors. There will be refreshments of punch and cookies as well as peanut butter and banana sandwiches, Elvis’ favorites. Elvis music will also be played during the event. There is no charge for admission or for the haircut.
Among those who have visited the barbershop in the past, Robertson said, have been the Japanese Elvis Club and the British Elvis Fan Club. “We have had visitors from forty plus states and from at least 15 to 20 countries
The barbershop museum is part of a larger Museum of Chaffee History which highlights the history of Fort Chaffee. “When it was decided to recreate the barbershop where Elvis received his buzz cut after enlisting in the army, 1,500 people showed up for the ribbon cutting,” Robertson said. As a result, it was decided to expand the half of the building that housed the barber shop into two buildings which became the larger history museum.
Camp Chaffee was built in 1941-1942 and soldiers first arrived on D-Day 1941 went through World War II. It became Fort Chaffee in the 1950’s. “It is the premier U.S. Army training camp, “ Robertson said. The museum is on the National Register of Historic Districts Fort Chaffee.
The museum’s newest historical project is the renovation of 823 Barracks, the Barracks where Elvis slept. “The building is 5,200 square feet and has two stories. The top story will be a recreated barracks from the time that Elvis was there. The lower level will be an expanded exhibit hall, Robertson explained.
More information on the Chaffee barbershop Museum can be found at www.chaffeecrossing.com/index.php?page=museums