Arkansas is dotted with small, local museums, many of which are adjuncts to other attractions. As far as I know, this page is an exhaustive list. Some of these might not be listed with conventional sources like the Department of Parks and Tourism. I especially prefer visiting the various county museums because I can usually talk the curator into letting me handle some of the exhibits. You can't do that at most conventional museums.
At the end of each listing is a date of last visit. I mention attempted visits as well. That means I showed up at the site and verified that there was a museum there, but was unable to get in.
If you own Delorme's "Street Atlas USA" you might want to download the Annotated Arkansas Museum Map, which plots the positions of over 190 Museums across the state.
City museum indexes: Fort Smith | Fayetteville | Little Rock | Hot Springs | Jonesboro | Texarkana | Mountain Home | Russellville | Pine Bluff
This list and those mentioned above are compiled from my own research and several other sources, most notably Arkansas: Off the Beaten Path by Patty Delano, The Roads of Arkansas by Shearer Publishing, an Arkansas Democrat/Gazette Sunday Supplement (18 Oct 1998) and Arkansas Roadsides, by Bill Earngey with Ross Sackett. Another useful resource, particularly for seasonal attractions, is the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Their museum list is more extensive, including historic buildings, markers, parks, sites and homes, while my lists include only organized collections on permanent public display. The ADPT listings are also arranged by Arkansas' customary geographic divisions rather than by city radius.
I advise calling for hours, since some of the museums are open seasonally and/or have limited hours. Also, museums open and close. Just because you see it listed here doesn't mean it's still in business.
Abundant Memories Heritage Village, Eureka Springs, hwy 23 north of town. 1-501-253-6764. If you just can't get enough horse-and-buggy-days history, this attraction is for you. It's three attractions in one. First is a flea market. Whoever does their buying has done a pretty good job of picking the quality and leaving the junk. Second attraction is a museum consisting of 26 small buildings full of stuff ranging from the revolution to the early 20th century. A print shop, harness shop, pottery shop, barn, smithy, etc. Bring along your favorite geezer to explain the stuff to you, because a lot of it isn't labelled. The third attraction is the "Historama," a one-man show performed twice daily at 10:30 and 12:30. The historama presents some of the attraction's rarest, most unusual and best preserved artifacts. I arrived too late in the day to see it, but a couple browsing the flea market had just seen the afternoon performance. They gave it their most enthusiastic recommendation. April-November. Last visited 9/15/99.
Aerospace Education Center, near Little Rock National Airport, 501-399-9401, Arkansas' only IMAX Theatre, Space Museum and Aviation Art Gallery, Aerospace Library, They've got a Jenny and a replica Wright Flyer in the lobby next to the replica of the Apollo command and service modules. Great way to pass the time during a layover at the airport. Basement houses an aerospace library. Been there.
Airgun Museum, 114 South 1st Street in Rogers, (501) 986-6873. World's largest collection of non-powder firearms. Have not visited it at its new home. Saw the collection at its old location at the factory. It's a must see for anybody who owned an air rifle as a kid.Official Website.
Altus Heritage House Museum, Altus, 106 N. Franklin, 501-468-1310. Emphasis on local coal mining industry and The Knights of Pythias, a fraternal order which donated the building. Their association publishes a newsletter and a book of biographies of local coal miners. Last visited 10/10/98.
Arkansas Air Museum, Fayetteville airport, Hwy 71 on the south end of town, 501-521-4947. The collection mainly focuses on pre-WWII commercial and private aircraft, but there are a couple of Vietnam-era helicopters and and A-4 there. Most of the aircraft on exhibit are privately owned and are in flying condition, so keep your damn hands off. The hangar itself is a historic wooden structure, built during the labor and materials shortages of WWII. Other exhibits include flight suits, uniforms, instruments, some complete restored control panels from various planes, engines, training equipment and aircraft models. Last visited 8/12/97.
Arkansas Arboretum, Pinnacle Mountain State Park, take hwy 10 west from Little Rock, then hwy 300 north, 501-868-5846. Botannical representations of the five principal ecological regions of the state are reproduced in this walk-through park. Admission is free. Paths are paved. It's a nice, easy half-mile stroll on fairly flat, even terrain. Been there.
Arkansas Arts Center, MacArthur Park, East 9th St., Little Rock, 501-372-4000. Last visited 7/97.
Arkansas Children's Museum, 1400 West Markham #200, Little Rock, 501-374-6655. Have not visited.
Arkansas City Museum, Arkansas City, 870-***-****. Take highway 4 from McGehee. Undergoing renovation and closed on date of last visit. There is no set date for re-opening. Last visited 7/6/98.
Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame, Pine Bluff, One Convention Center Plaza, 1-800-536-7660. Pictures, stories and memorabilia concerning famous entertainers from Arkansas. An animatronic statue of Johnny Cash plays five songs at the push of a button. Other stars highlighted include Mary Steenburgen, Gil Gerard (TV's Buck Rogers), Jerry Van Dyke (He's from Illinois, but he married an Arkie and lives around Benton somewhere), country singers galore, Lum and Abner, Levon Helm, Harry Thomason, Billy Bob Thornton and so on and so on. Last visited 3/23/99.
Arkansas House of Reptiles, Central Avenue, Hot Springs, 501-623-8516. A smallish but pretty good indoor reptile collection including lots of exotics like poison tree frogs and monitor lizards in addition to your deadly domestics like timber rattlers and cottonmouths. Last visited 1997.
Arkansas Post County Museum, Gillett, hwy 165, 870-548-2634. This place was just taken into the state-supported museum fold as of the first of 1997, so it keeps much more regular hours now. In addition to the usual pioneer and civil war artifacts, they have on exhibit an extraordinary piece of carpentry. It's a three-room playhouse built to scale by a couple for their daughter in the 1920's. Inside is scale furniture, a drop-leaf table, cupboard, sofa, and bed. It's wired with electricity and has a wood-burning fireplace. Last visited 8/10/97.
Arkansas Post National Monument, Hwy 169 south from why 165 south from Gillette, 870-548-2432. Original capital of the Arkansas Territory, site of a civil war battle and a revolutionary war battle. There's a museum at the visitors' center along with reconstructions of fort walls and excavations of the foundations of buildings in one of the many settlements built here. Been there.
Arkansas Railroad Museum, Pine Bluff, Hwy 65B, 870-536-7600. Once a machine shop for building, maintaining and servicing locomotives, now its a museum that houses some of the very machines it built. Not only that, the old-timer guiding the tour might have actually built some of the exhibits. They'll accept donations of your old crankcase oil. They use it for fuel for their oil-burning locomotive, the 819. Been there.
Arkansas River Visitors' Center, Russellville, Old Post Road Park, to call the visitors' center dial the Corps of Engineers at 501-968-5008 and work your way through the automated phone menu. They've got exhibits on local wildlife, geology, archaeology, history and legend, a couple of aquariums holding native fish and turtles, graphics explaining how the lock and dam works, wildlife mounts of indigenous birds, fish and mammals, indian artifacts and so on. Pretty standard stuff, but well-presented. It's in of the Corps of Engineers office building at the Dardanelle Lock and Dam. Last visited 1/28/98.
Arkansas State University at Jonesboro Museum, Jonesboro, Library, ASU campus, 870-972-2074. Top-notch display of glass and tableware. Also fossils, minerals, mounted animals, Indian artifacts, reconstructed doctor's office, shops, parlors, etc. Been there.
Arkansas Territorial Restoration, (see Historic Arkansas Museum) Little Rock, 2nd and Scott, 501-324-9531.
Artist's Point Gift Shop and Museum, Mountainburg, highway 71, 501-369-2226. Little museum, big gift shop. Indian and pioneer artifacts, many very fine. Also of interest, hummingbirds flock to scores of feeders posted on the property. Last visited 8/12/97.
Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff, 220 West Martin, 870-536-3375. This museum with a thirty year history is strong on serious art down home themes. When I visited, the two exhibits were carved wooden duck decoys and fine scientific text paintings of wild fungi. The decoys ranged from lifelike modern award-winning carvings to primitive contraptions assembled from pieces of driftwood. The detail in the paintings was astonishing. There's also a modern, well-equipped theatre in the center. Last visited 1/16/98.
Arts Center of the Grand Prarie, Stuttgart, off Main Street on 12th, 870-673-1781. Local and regional artists, one featured per month. Occasional classes and seminars. Also music and theatre, dinner theatre, catered events. Last visited 2/18/99.
Ashley County Museum, Hamburg, 300 North Cherry, 870-853-5796. In the house is pretty standard county museum stuff, high-button shoes, cobalt glassware, tax archives that the county courthouse tried to discard. But the good stuff is out back. After you tour the house, you get to check out the carriage collection. And in that collection are the only two horse-drawn sleighs I've seen in Arkansas. There was one peculiar tool in the carriage house, too. It was an "ice ball." It looked like a bent dumbell. One orb is placed in water and the other is heated. The water freezes. I don't have a clue as to how it worked. Last visited 11/18/98.
Band Museum, 423-425 Main Street, Pine Bluff, 870-534-HORN. There's plenty to see here even if you're not particularly interested in symphonic band music. It's the only museum in America devoted entirely to band (as opposed to orchestral) music. On display in a beautifully restored downtown store (built in 1890) is the private display of, for you fans of irony, Jerry Horne. There are instruments belonging to famous band musicians, such as Jack Jenny's trombone. He's the guy who played the trombone solo in Arte Shaw's rendition of "Stardust." There are some really peculiar instruments on display, a player harmonica for one, a double-belled trumpet for another. My favorite were the plastic trumpet and saxophone manufactured during brass shortage caused by WWII. Last visited 1/16/98.
Bauxite Museum, Bauxite, find the post office on hwy 183 and take the turnoff south, 501-557-2997. You won't find this museum unless you're looking for it, but it's worth looking for. Most of the museum is purely of local interest, high school athletic championship trophies and the like; but there's lots of stuff like 19th century surveying equipment, aluminum industry and mining history, collections of obscure soda bottles and so on. Of special interest, Bauxite Teeth. Last visited 6/97.
Bella Vista Historical Museum, Bella Vista, hwy 71, 1-501-855-2335. Open afternoons daily. The site is there, but it's been closed every time I've dropped by.
Bible Museum, Eureka Springs, part of Passion Play compound off hwy 62. What can I say, it's a bunch of Bibles, many rare and historic. Presentation focuses on the personal sacrifice by people who gave up their freedom and their lives to defy the church authorities and translate the Bible into English. Last visited 1/236/99.
Blythe's Museum, Hwy 71 Waldron, 501-637-3730. There are two things here of special interest in this private museum. One is Gary Blythe's local indian artifact collection. He told me that the bulk of what he has on display came from within thirty miles of his museum, and his collection is intact and cataloged. He has not sold any of the artifacts that he has collected locally, although he has given a few to the local forest service for them to display. The second thing of special interest is Gary himself. Man, if you want to hear some stories, just stand there and listen. We got your Indiana Jones right here, buddy. Gary has done time in jails from Ankara to Kankakee thanks to his compulsion to plunder valuable antiquities. He'll also share with you his archaeological experiences which lead him to entertain notions of ancient astronauts. Plus, if you want to talk about the local runestones, he'll tell you about the local runestones. Believe what parts of it you want to believe. True tales or tall tales, the stories are fun to listen to. Last visited 10/16/97.
Blytheville Heritage Museum, Blytheville, 107c Main Street, 870-***-****. Last stopped by Tuesday 4/6/99. The guy at City Hall directed me to the old S. H. Kresse department store on Main Street. Peeking in through the front window it looked like part of the building had been partitioned off and that there might be a museum in that section. There was no sign facing Main and I couldn't tell much from what I could see.
Bob Burns Exhibit, Van Buren, 813 Main Street, 1-800-332-5889. Bob "Bazooka" Burns was a radio star in the years before WWII. Famous as a bandleader, comedian and musician. He invented and played a novelty instrument called the Bazooka. GI's in North Africa named their anti tank weapon after this instrument. Last visited 1999.
Boone County Heritage Museum and Genealogy Library, Harrison, Central and Cherry Streets, 870-741-3312. This is a do-not-touch place, but these folks have gone to more trouble than most to discover what their exhibits are. Many exhibits (and there are three floors of them) are labelled and explained with tags listing the name of the person providing the explanation and the date of the explanation. They have a very active volunteer organization, and take justifiable pride in the work they have done. Some of the other county museum directors could visit this museum to identify some of the "Idunno" objects they have in their own collections. Last visited 1997.
Bradley County Historical Museum, 200 Ash Street, Warren, 870-226-7116. Special events and by appointment. Have not visited, but I have read there is something called a "Pink Tomato Room."
Bradley House Museum, Jasper, corner of Clark and Daniels, 1-870-446-6247. Hours 11-4 TWT. Local settler heritage collection, housed in the doctor's home and office where almost everybody in Jasper was born. Also some indian artifacts. Genealogy collection. Last visited 6/29/02.
Buffalo Island Museum, Monette, 870-486-2884. Located in city park. Have not visited.
Buffalo National River/Tyler Bend Visitor Center, St. Joe, highway 65, 870-439-2502. Cultural and natural history of Ozarks and the Buffalo River. Have not visited.
Burrow Wildlife Museum, Hwy 70 west, Brinkley. This museum is actually Burrow's taxidermy studio, but there are hundreds of excellent mounts on permanent display in addition to an inventory waiting to be picked up by customers. This place is internationally regarded and the craftsmen are typically judges at national and regional taxidermy contests. Burrows' specialty is waterfowl, which one might expect given their location in the middle of Arkansas riceland. If you're a duck hunter, this place is worth a special trip. Last visited 3/24/98.
Camp Robinson Entrance, North Little Rock, Camp Robinson Road (highway 176), 501-212-5100. A permanent collection of aircraft, vehicles and artillery on public display. See also the Catalog of Roadside Military Hardware. Last visited 11/99.
Central High School Museum Visitor Center, Little Rock, 2115 West 14th Street, (across the street from Central High School), 501-***-****. This isn't properly a museum, since there is no collection of preserved artifacts on display. Under those circumstances, I normally wouldn't have included it on this list; but since the integration of Central High is the most important thing that ever happened in Arkansas, I decided to go ahead and list it. What you'll see at the visitors' center are photographs, videotaped interviews played on monitors, articles, quotes, timelines and the like lining the walls. Last visited 12/14/97.
Chicot County Museum also, MOCCA, Museum of Chicot County, Lake Village, Southside and Cokley (one block west of Lakeshore). 870-265-5868. Old Lake Village Infirmary. Vintage medical equipment and pioneer artifacts. Contact Dorothy Douglas 870-265-5494 for appointment. Have not visited.
College Museum, on Campus of old Arkansas College, Cane Hill. By appointment, call Roy Rinehart 501-824-3794 or Mary Jean Manhall 501-824-5015. Have not visited.
Connerly (Rubye and Henry) Museum, Eudora, one block from police station. Call 870-355-8652 (chamber of commerce) ask for Mack Ball, Jr. He'll set up an appointment. One room in a historic grocery store. Have not visited.
Conway County Historical Museum, downtown Morrilton in the old railroad depot, Call for hours. Have not visited.
Country Doctor Museum, Lincoln, 107 North Star Avenue, 501-824-4307. This building and its contents were preserved pretty much intact due to what curator Cindy calls the "Pompeii Effect." The building was boarded up with furnishings and contents when vacated by the last in a line of Arkansas country doctors. While many county museums have a case of medical devices or a doctor's bag, this museum has preserved the doctor's travel kit (with horse-drawn buggy and Model T Ford), the infirmary and all its equipment (like the collection of circumcision rings--eeewwwww!) as well as the doctor's residence. Also visit the medicinal herb garden between the residence and the garage. Be sure to see the extensive collection (hundreds of pairs, Cindy told me they had never been counted) of salt and pepper shakers in the residence. TU-SA 9:00-5:00. Adm. free. Last visited 11/5/98.
Crater of Diamonds State Park, Murfreesboro, Hwy 301south of town 870-285-3113, there's a gem and geology museum at the visitors' center. Been there many times.
Crittenden County Museum, Earle, 870-792-7374. Housed in renovated Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot. Railroad exhibits, pottery, pioneer artifacts. Last visited 12/13/97.
Cross County Historical Society Office, County Court House, Wynne. Not exactly a museum. It's more of a genealogy research library; but there are a couple of neat objects of interest on display, if you can get past the dowager that guards the place. "No pictures!" The main thing of interest is a really beautiful mastadon tooth which was excavated locally. Last visited 9/12/97.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, hwy 63, Mammoth Spring, 870-***-*****. Museum bears the name of George D. Hay, who started the Grand Ol Opry. Have not visited.
Dallas County Museum, 221 Main Street, Fordyce, 870-352-5262. Fordyce is the home of the Nutt Family (as in U. of A. coach Nutt), Baer Bryant and the Fightin' Redbugs, so expect a football exhibit or two. Local pottery on display includes Caddo, Niloak and Dallas County specimens. My favorite exhibit was a huge handmade silk Japanese flag liberated during WWII. There's a pretty good exhibit of a WWI army doctor's kit, remarkable for its completeness. Also a very nifty old bank safe. Otherwise, a pretty standard county museum displaying items of local interest. Last visited 11/18/98.
Darby House, Fort Smith, 311 General Darby Street, 501-782-3388. Boyhood Home of Gen. William O. Darby of Darby's Rangers, the WWII unit which was the experimental prototype for U.S. special forces units. Today the house serves mainly an archive for WWII ranger units, but there are some artifacts, historically significant documents, personnal effects and such on display. Last visited 4/1/98.
Decatur Library Museum, Decatur, highway 59 downtown, 501-***-****. Visited when closed, 11/5/98, so I only got to see the outdoor exhibits, antique tractors, railroad locomotive.
Decorative Arts Museum, Little Rock, 7th and Rock St., 501-372-4000. Art for art's sake. Travelling exhibits. Real intellectual ethereal art gallery items. Pretty stuff, but I don't get the fuss. Guess I'm a heathen. Been there.
Delta Cultural Center, 95 Missouri Street, Helena, 870-338-4350. Concentrates on plantation culture and blues music. Last visited 1997.
Demoret and Son General Mercantile Store and Museum, Elaine, 870-***-****. Have not visited.
Desha County Museum, Dumas, Hwy 54, 870-382-4222. One of the largest county museums in the state, this one has several buildings representing pioneer homes, shops, stores, etc. Also, there are two large buildings housing farm implements, war memorabilia, and a collection of stone knives and projectile points that are as good as any in the state. They won't let you handle the finer Indian stuff or things made of fabric (like uniforms, for instance), but they're pretty accommodating about nearly everything else. Been there.
Depot Museum, Prescott, 300 West 1st, 870-887-5821. This place is organized like Fibber Magee's closet, but you can handle just about everything. Last visited 7/25/97.
Discovery Place, Texarkana, 215 Pine, 903-793-4831. Have not visited.
Drew County Museum, Monticello, 402 South Main, 870-367-7446. Guided tour takes under two hours, and it's worth the time. While many county museums showcase a frontier pioneer perspective, this one shows a more cultured, genteel Victorian side of Arkansas. They've got hand-crafted toys, fancy tableware, Victorian clothes, war artifacts, indian artifacts and gobs of huge, heavy wooden furniture. Last visited 6/27/97.
Dunbar Alumni Memorabilia Room, Little Rock, Dunbar High School, 1100 Wright Ave, 501-922-4841. Formerly Arkansas' premier high school for African Americans. Have not visited.
EMOBA (Ernie's Museum of Black Arkansas), Little Rock, 1224 S. Louisiana, 501-372-0018, 501-372-6093. Work in progress, but some exhibits can be viewed. Visited in 2000.
Ethnic Minority Memorabilia Association Museum, Old Washington State Park. Have not visited.
Eureka Springs Gardens, Eureka Springs, hwy 62 west of town, 501-253-9244. Botannical gardens centering on Blue Spring, one of the headwaters of the White River at the upper end of Table Rock Lake. Six and a half bucks to get in. Worth it if you love gardens. Probably best in summer, once the annuals have started to fill out. Been there.
Eureka Springs Historical Museum, 95 S. Main, Eureka Springs, 501-253-9417. History of Eureka Springs. 'nuf said. Last visited 10/6/98.
Fairfield Bay Log Cabin Museum, Fairfield Bay, on Snead Drive behind the golf clubhouse, 1-501-884-4899. Have not visited.
Fargo Agricultural School Museum, north of Brinkley on highway 49, 870-734-4040. This agricultural school, now operated by the state, was founded by Floyd Brown, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute. He first came to Fargo selling copies of Booker T. Washington's "Up From Slavery" door-to-door. He later returned to found a negro agricultural college based on the Tuskegee model. The museum in the main building chronicles the history of the school. Last visited 3/24/98.
Faulkner County Museum, Conway, next to county courthouse, 501-329-5918. Fairly typical county museum concentrating on the railroad, the Arkansas River navigation system and other matters of local interest. Excellent organized collection of stone tools and points. Model railroad upstairs. Last visited 11/08.
Fordyce Bathhouse Visitors' Center, Hot Springs, 369 Central Avenue. 501-624-3383. The largest of the spas on bath-house row, the Fordyce has been restored to its condition during the 1930's heyday of Hot Springs as a curative spa resort. Inside, there are film and video presentations of the history of the resort. There is also a Bill Clinton display (Hot Springs is his home town) and displays of local wildlife. The building itself is an exhibit. My favorite parts are the 1930's gym where Jack Dempsey worked out and the top floor music room and parlor. Terrific tilework and Italian marble throughout. There are old needle-showers, sitzbaths, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy and mechanotherapy rooms. Lots of these "cures" looked pretty scary. Last visited 3/9/98.
Fort Smith Art Center, Fort Smith, 423 North 6th. Have not been.
Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith, 3rd and Rogers, 501-783-3961. This is one of the most-visited sites in Arkansas. The main attractions are the courtroom and reconstructed gallows of "hanging judge" Isaac Parker.
Fort Smith Trolley Museum, 3rd and Rogers, 783-5345. Mainly what you get is a twenty-minute ride on an antique trolley for a buck. Hard to beat for cheap entertainment and conveniently located within walking distance to the National Historic Site, the National Cemetery and the Old Fort Museum. There's an exhibit showing a trolley car that was made into a home during the depression when building materials were scarce. You can also visit renovations in progress at their shop. Last visited 9/10/99.
Frog Fantasies Frog Museum, Eureka Springs, 151 Spring Street, 501-253-7227. World's largest collection of frog art. This shop holds five rooms (counting a kitchen and bathroom) of frog sculpture, knick-knacks, jewelry, salt and pepper shakers, plush toys, bells, knives, carved frogs, molded frogs, welded frogs, forged frogs, sculpted frogs, painted frogs, glass frogs, brass frogs, bronze frogs and on and on. Over 6,000 items collected over 60 years by Louise Mesa and her family. There's no cheap junk in the collection or in the gift shop. Expansion is constant. When I visited, outdoor exhibits were being prepared. This museum hosts frog enthusiast conventions. Last visited 10/3/97.
Game and Fish Museum, Little Rock, #2 Natural Resources Drive, 501-223-6300. In the lower lobby of the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission they have mounts of all the major sport species in the state, including a plastic replica of the "World Record German Brown Trout," caught on the Little Red River by a Heber Springs resident. This thing weighed almost forty pounds, folks. That's a trout as big as a sack of topsoil. Been there.
Gangster Museum of America, 113 Central Avenue, Hot Springs. 501-318-1717. Admission $8. In the 1930's and 1940's Hot Springs played host to the famous and infamous, gangsters, movies stars, politicians and big wigs. This museum chronicles and documents that period. Audio visual presentations, antique gambling machines, period firearms. Last visited 5/16/08.
Gann Building, 218 S. Market Street, Benton, 501-778-8272. Contains lots of stuff about the Gann family as well as Indian and Civil War artifacts, niloak pottery, and of course, the building itself. Been there.
Gassville Hospital Museum, Main Street, Gassville, museum of Baxter County Historical Society, open weekends 1:00 - 4:00 pm, 870-435-6988, 870-425-4502. Have not visited.
Gay Nineties Button and Doll Museum, Eureka Springs, at Onyx Cave, hwy 62 east of town. 501-253-9321. In addition to buttons and dolls, you'll see glassware, ladies' fans, tableware and lace. I suppose I might have been more impressed had I known what I was looking at, but practically nothing was labelled. One room lined with cases filled with stuff. Last visited 6/16/99.
Geological Commission Lobby Museum, 3815 Roosevelt Road, Little Rock, 501-296-1877. In the lobby of the state Geological Commission office building there are several display cases of mineral specimens and fossils found in the state, including a large chunk from the LaQuinta silver strike. Last visited 4/2/98.
Grant County Museum, Sheridan, highway 270 west of town, 870-942-4496. In the last five years, these guys have put together a museum park. In addition to the main building, there are several building exhibits, including a cafe from the 1930's, a dog-trot house from the late 19th century, an actual masonic lodge, a wooden barracks building from the second world war, a schoolhouse, a 1920's church and more. Note that the auxiliary buildings are not regularly opened. Call for appointments for the outbuilding tour or catch one of their special event days. My favorite exhibits were the cafe, a portable tin boat from 1895 and an educational collection of glass magic lantern slides in fine condition. Last visited 7/97.
Greathouse Home and Museum, courthouse square, Conway, 501-329-6446 by appointment. Have not been.
Greene County Museumm, 130 South 14th Street, Paragould, AR 72450, 870-236-2552. Open Fri. 10-4, Sat., Sun. 1-4. Housed in the home of former Governor J. Marion Futtrel. A wide-ranging collection that covers the past century. Typical county museum. Organized by rooms, two rooms of military. One room of railroad/timber industry. Native American. Toys and Dolls. Antique household appliances. Local Artwork. Housewares. Greene County sports hall of fame. Mostly local interest, especially preserved history of local buildings and interviews of local veterans. No admission fee. Donations accepted. Last visited 8/23/08.
Grider Field Memorial Museum, Grider Field Road, Pine Bluff Municipal Airport, 870-534-4131. Not worth a special trip, but if you're in the neighborhood, what the heck. The museum consists of a few cases of model WWII airplanes and a few wartime artifacts, logbooks, flight jackets and the like left over from when Grider Field was a pilot's training center. The best thing from the war era is the original pilots barracks, which is vacant, but looks to be in pretty good shape. About all you can do there is peek in the windows and see the layout of a typical WWII officers' barracks. Last visited 1/16/98.
Grigsby Log Home, College and 22nd, Arkansas College Campus. Open during Scottish festival in April. Have not been.
Hammond Museum of Bells, Spring and Pine, Eureka Springs, 501-253-7411. You pay your three bucks and the proprietor starts a tape which guides you on a twenty-minute tour through about two-dozen cases of bells. Bronze bells, wooden bells, silver, gold and aluminum bells. Bells used by town criers, bells from boxing rings and so on and so on. My favorite item was a U.S. Army issue camel bell, a rare item. Before the Civil War, the army bought twenty or so camels and sent them out west to see if they could be used more effectively than mules as pack animals. They outperformed the mules, but they spit and bit and kicked and stank, and the mule drivers refused to work with the camels. The camels were released into the desert and the experiment was terminated. This museum has one of the bells. Last visited 10/3/97.
Hampson Museum State Park, Wilson, Hwy 61 at Lake Drive, 870-655-8622. If you're a paleoindian history enthusiast, you are familiar with the significance of the Nodena Site. This museum houses the collection of artifacts painstakingly excavated by Dr. Hampson from the plantation Nodena, which was jointly owned by himself and members of his family. This collection is archaeologically important because of the thoroughness of the excavation, the fact that it was relatively undisturbed by pot hunters, and the fact that it was an important population center at the height of the Mississippian culture. Last visited 12/13/97.
Headquarters House Museum, Fayetteville, 118 E. Dickson. Used as headquarters for both Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Opened for special occasions. I've seen it only from the outside.
Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum, Piggot. It's also the visitor center for the Crowley's Ridge Parkway. Opened summer 1999, the 100th anniversary of Papa's birth. The "red barn" in the back was Hemingway's apartment where he worked on "A Farewell to Arms." Hosts Hemingway-oriented literary conferences in conjunction with Arkansas State University at Jonesboro.
Henderson State University Museum, Henderson and 10th, Arkadelphia, 501-246-7311. This museum, housed in the former home of benefactor Henderson, who benefacted so much that he got the whole university named after him, holds a number of good exhibits including 1) the biggest single natural quartz crystal I've ever seen, 2) a collection of military firearms demonstrating technical developments increasing the rate of fire of infantry from the Civil War to WWII, and 3) a first-rate and well-explained stone artifact exhibit. You might expect the last, since the building also houses the Arkansas Archaeological Survey offices. They've also got some mineral and wildlife specimens and assorted historical artifacts. Check it out next time you're in the "city of brotherly Ark." Last visited 4/29/98.
Heritage Center Museum, on the Square, Berryville, 870-423-6212. Go on Tuesday. That's what I'm told by the museum staff that was there when I visited (on a Thursday). The guide on duty on Tuesdays, they say, is the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable of all the museum staff. This place is three floors high, and many rooms are subject-dedicated. One room is an old schoolhouse. One room is all medical instruments. One room is all clocks. Here's an odd thing to notice. The unairconditioned building was fairly cool even though I visited on a hot, muggy afternoon. I guess in the old days they designed buildings with a mind toward that sort of thing. Been there.
Heritage House Museum of Montgomery County, Mount Ida, highway 27 south. Recently opened, so exhibit areas aren't quite yet up to speed. Farm implements, crystal mining, lake Ouachita history. Open Fridays 9-4. Items of local interest and genealogical files. Last visited 9/7/01.
Hillary Jones Wildlife Museum, Jasper, on the west side of highway 7 north of town next to the Ozark National Forest visitor information center. They've got some gamefish aquariums and mounts of big game, particularly elk (what else, this is Jasper) and whitetail. Don't plan a special trip, but it's a good leg-stretcher if you're passing through. Last visited 6/29/02
Historic Arkansas Museum, 200 E. Third Street, Little Rock, AR 72201, TEL (501) 324-9351, FAX (501) 324-9345. A city block in downtown Little Rock contains a museum, galleries and several reconstructed historic buildings. Have not visited since additon of galleries.
Hogan State Fish Hatchery, Lonoke, highway 31 off highway 70, 501-676-6963. There's a gamefish aquarium at the visitors' center. This is the largest warm-water state-owned hatchery in the country. It has been in continuous operation since 1929 and 3-to-4 million fish annually for Arkansas' streams and lakes. Been there.
Hoo-Hoo Museum, Gurdon, 207 Main Street, 870-353-4997. This large log house is a timber industry museum and the international headquarters of the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, a fraternal order of timber industry men and women. Been there.
Hope Visitor Center and Museum, Hope, South Main and Division Streets, 870-722-2580. Yet another railroad station converted into a local museum. Half of the museum is devoted to Bill Clinton, the other half to local railroad history. Inside there's also a replica of a prizewinning 200-pound watermelon. Bill Clinton's boyhood home is nearby, at the corner of 13th and Walker. Visit in the heat of summer so you can pick up some world-famous Hope watermelons. Last visited 7/14/98.
Hot Spring County Museum (Boyle House), Malvern, 202 East 3rd Street. 501-394-2912. Museum closed for the time being due to fire in the library next door. Salvaged library materials are being stored in the museum. (RTJ--4/29-98) Last tried to visit 4/29/98.
Ice Cream Freezer Collection, billed as world's largest collection, belongs to Doc Wilson in Fayetteville, by appointment. That's all I know so far. Have not visited.
Howard County Museum, Nashville, 870-845-1262. Open only 2-4 on Sundays. Last tried to visit 9/23/2001.
Hunter-Coulter House Museum, Ashdown, 870-898-7242 (or call Jonnie Estes 898-5246) across the street from the Little River County courthouse. Home-cooked luncheon served on Thursdays. Last tried to visit 9/18/98.
Jacksonport State Park, museum closed right now due to tornado damage and difficulties with the people in Vicksburg who are contracted to fill the display cases. Last visited 6/2001.
Jefferson County Historical Museum, Pine Bluff, Jefferson County Courthouse, Barraque and Main, 870-541-5402.
Jimmy Driftwood Barn and Folk Museum, Mountain View, highway 5 north of town, 870-269-8042. Have not seen.
Ka-do-ha Indian Village, highway 26/27 west of Murfreesboro, 870-285-3736. Archaeological excavation of ancient Caddo Indian mounds. View the burial excavations of a half-dozen or so skeletons kept protected under weatherproof sheds. There are also mockups of some structures of the paleoindians of this region. This attraction has been on display for thirty years, and the proprietor says the bones and grave goods in the bottoms of the pits lie now just where they were uncovered by an amateur archaeologist thirty years ago. There's also an indoor exhibit of pottery, flint tools and the like. Extensive gift shop. There's a bit of humbuggery evident. For instance the skulls that have any teeth at all have all their teeth, and all the teeth line up like piano keys. What are the chances? You can also see a very hard, straight seam in at least one of the skulls. Last visited 9/26/97.
L. C.'s Museum, south side of highway 60, ten miles west of Perryville or if you prefer, one mile west of Aplin, 501-***-****. This free private museum is in a storage building belonging to a senior citizen named L. C. Most of the stuff is pretty common pioneer museum stuff (irons, square nails, old tools, old furniture, quilts and the like. However, L. C. does have three collections in his museum that are worth taking the time for a special stop if you're headed to Nebo or Petit Jean. First, he has an extensive coke bottle collection. Second, he has a brick collection comprised of about a hundred or so specimens. Third, and best of all, he has an Arkansas license plate collection that is complete from about 1920 to the present, including fiberboard and paper tags from the war years, gasoline ration stamps and related documents. Last visited 1/7/99.
Lake Chicot State Park Museum, hwy 257 north of Lake Village, 870-264-2430. On display at the visitors' center are aquariums and terrariums featuring fish, reptiles and other typical lake fauna. Also, there are mounts of birds and mammals from the lake. A couple of historical exhibits explain the geology of the area (this is America's largest ox-bow lake) and artifacts from and details of a civil war skirmish that took place nearby at Ditch Bayou, where 300 lightly armed Confederate cavalry held off a force of 10,000 Union troops. Not to belittle the fightin' spirit of the northern boys, though, the story of this engagement is one of those believe-it-or-not headshakers that makes a general want to laugh and cry. Last visited 8/10/97.
Laphiew Gin and Warehouse, Dermott, hwy 35, 870-538-9971. Agri-industry educational tour. Have not been.
Last Precinct, The, hwy 62 west of Eureka Springs, 501-253-4948. Law enforcement museum. If you're into cop regalia, this is your spot. In the building you'll find some ten cop cars ranging from the thirties to the nineties, including a souped up California Highway Patrol Z-98 specially designed for pursuing fleeing sports cars, a replica of the Bluesmobile (right beside a replica of Dan Ayckroyd), mannequins dressed in all kinds of state cop, Australian, British and RCMP uniforms, patches, patches, patches, badges, badges, badges, restraints, guns, billies, weapons taken from prisoners, a wild west jail replica, matchbox cars and models of hundreds of cop cars. Last visited 10/3/97.
Lepanto Museum, Lepanto, Main Street, 870-475-6166. Open on Wednesday and Friday afternoons and by request. They have a pretty good collection of indian points, pots and grave goods along with the usual local history. There's an exhibit there on local hero Congressional Medal of Honor winner James R. Hendrix. Last visited 7/11/01.
Living Farm Museum, Old Davidsonville State Park, Pocahontas, Hwy 166, 870-892-8329. By appointment. Have not been.
Log Cabin Museum, Des Arc, hwy 38. Next door to Prarie County Museum. This reconstruction of a pioneer's log house was made using authentic materials and techniques as part of a riverboat festival in the 1970's. It is appointed with tools and furniture from the 1920's and 1930's. In these parts, such a house would have been common in the decades before the second world war. There are also a couple of separate buildings with exhibits. A hands-on place. Not state-affiliated. The highlight for me is the salt-and-pepper shaker collection--a must-see for '50's kitsch fans. Last visited 9/12/97.
Logan County Museum, Paris, 204 N. Vine, 501-963-3936. This restored jail is the site of the last state-sanctioned hanging in Arkansas (It happened back in 1910, or thereabouts). Prisoners were kept in an iron cage upstairs, while the jailer and his family lived downstairs. They've got some interesting exhibits, including a stone with an enigmatic carving for all you puzzle fans. Last visited 7/97.
Lonoke County Historical Society Boxcar Museum, Lonoke, next to depot, hwy 270, 501-676-6633. Have not visited.
Love's Pawn Shop and Deer Museum, Highway 71, Fort Smith. Three bucks to get in, and if you're an avid deer hunter, I guess it's worth it. They've got several statewide record mounts on their walls. Last visited 7/97.
Lum 'n Abner Museum and Jot 'em Down Store, Pine Ridge, Highway 88, 501-326-4442. Memorabilia from the popular radio show which ran more episodes than MASH, Ed Sullivan and The Nanny combined. Seriously, Lum 'n Abner were enormously popular in their day, easily as popular as conemporary comedy teams like Amos and Andy or Abbot and Costello. Their radio show ran four or five nights a week for twenty-five years. They discontinued their radio show to make some eight or ten Lum 'n Abner movies. Last visited 7/08/98.
MacArthur Birthplace, MacArthur Park, East 9th Street, Little Rock 371-3521. Used to be the Arkansas Museum of Science and History. It's closed right now during its conversion into a military museum. Lower floor to open sometime around May of 2000. As you enter the first room on your right as you go in the front door is the birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur. Another story is that his parents were billited in the upper northwest room. Have not visited since conversion.
McCollum-Chidester House Museum, Camden, 926 Washington Street, 870-836-9243. Large collection of 19th Century furnishings and original 1840 home of one of the area's most prominent citizens. Tours cost $3 for adults, a buck for kids, and you get your money's worth. The house and another museum building on the site were locations used in the filming of the TV miniseries "North and South." Last visited 11/7/02.
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, Central Avenue, Hot Springs, 501-623-5836. It's just what you think it is--wax sculptures of famous politicians, entertainers, historical figures. There's also a chamber of horrors and some cartoon and fictional characters. Been there.
Mammoth Spring Depot Museum, Mammoth Spring State Park, highway 63 at the MO/AR border, 870-625-7364. Train depot is set up as it was when it was a 1930's Frisco Line depot. Educational recordings at each point of interest are played at the press of a button. Best part is the mannequins in the displays. They are life casts of state park employees and their families. Last visited 7/8/99.
Marianna-Lee County Museum, Marianna, 67 West Main, 870-295-2469. Second floor of the historic building which was constructed for the Elks club, as evidenced by the elk featured in the ten-foot-tall stained glass windows. Lots of cool stuff. A kerosene powered iron, for example, and a 500-pound cast iron hog scalder. Last visited 9/12/97.
Marine Corps Legacy Museum, on the town square across from the county courthouse in Harrison. . Here's a link to their website. History of the development of the U.S. Marine corps from 10 November 1775 to the present. Exhibits highlight development of uniforms, equipment and mission. The curatorial staff is a father and son team, both career marines with a combined fifty years in the corps. Five dollars admission includes a half-hour guided tour. My tour lasted over an hour. I asked a lot of extranneous history questions and they did pretty well on the quiz. Cool trivia? Why do marine officer swords have arab style grips and guards while marine enlisted swords have european cavalry style grips and guards? Amazing stories? Ask about the Union Army marines that surfed to safety down the White River through Confederate held territory. Excellent, well-organized, professional collection and presentation. Would you expect less from Marines? Hours Tues-Sat 10-5 or by appointment, 870-743-1680. Last visited 6/29/02.
Marisgate Plantation, Scott, Bearskin Lake Road, 961-1307. Antebellum mansion. By appointment. Have not visited.
Mark Martin Museum, 1601 Batesville Blvd, Batesville, AR, 72501. 870-793-4461. Located at the Mark Martin Ford Dealership on highway 167 between Batesville and Southside. They've got a half-dozen NASCAR racing cars driven by number six Mark Martin. In front of each displayed car is a computer touchscreen that will play highlights of the races that feature the car you're looking at. They've also got helmets, fire suits, a motorcycle and wall-to-ceiling trophy cases. Gift shop. No entry fee. Last visited 8/23/08
Marked Tree Delta Area Museum, Marked Tree, by Methodist Church at corner of Frisco and Locust, facing the railroad tracks, 870-358-4272. Well-appointed local museum focusing on local history. At my last visit there was an interesting exhibit from a local man who had commanded a psychological warfare unit during the Korean War. On display were examples of propaganda leaflets from both sides. Also the medical equipment displays are pretty extensive. Last visited 5/27/99.
Maynard Pioneer Museum and Park, Maynard, hwy 328 and Spring Street, 647-2701.
Melbourne Historical Museum, highway 69, Melbourne, sharing a building with the library. Library hours 9:30--4:30 M-F, 9:00--12:00 Sat. There's not really a lot here beyond local interest. There are some poll tax reciepts that I found kind of interesting. Other than that you'll find the usual farm implements and medical instruments with not much specifically labelled or explained. Last visited 8/2002.
Mena Depot Center, Mena, 524 Sherwood, 501-394-2912. Restored train depot. Main exhibits about evenly divided between local history and Lum and Abner. In the back room there's an exhibit (collectively known as "A Ouachita Portrait") of colored pencil drawings by Monta Black Philpot. The drawings are about two by three feet and are photographically detailed. It's pretty amazing stuff. Worth a special trip. Last visited 9/10/99.
Mid-America Museum, 400 Mid-America Blvd., 501-767-3461. This is one of those hands-on, gee-whiz, turn-the-crank-and-see-what-happens museums that's aimed at stimulating the curiosities of pre-teens. There's also a freshwater aquarium that's supposed to be the biggest in the country. Been there.
Military Museum, Keo, hwy 165, five miles NE of England. This is one of those museums without a home. Plans to obtain property for proper display of this sizeable collection of fully functioning (except for the guns) military vehicles are on hold; but the owner of the collection is Al DeMers, and he can be reached at his machine shop in Little Rock if you want to make arrangements to see his collection. (The machine shop number is 501-664-4595.) Some of the materials are in Little Rock and some are in Keo. I saw about a half-dozen of his war buggies at Minuteman Day WWII reenactment at Camp Robinson in September 1997.
Mississippi County Historical Center, Osceola, Hale Avenue on the town square across from the County Courthouse. 870-563-6161. This store is almost a century old and is listed on the national register of historic places. When the Mississippi County Historical Society took posession of the building, some very old high-topped handmade dress shoes from between the wars were still on the shelves, and thus made the transition from inventory to exhibit. Mostly this is stuff of local interest, but the building is the main attraction for outsiders. You can't miss the place. It's across the street from the county court house, the building with the gigantic glistening copper dome. Last visited 3/24/98.
MOCCA, also Museum of Chicot County Arkansas, see "Chicot County Museum."
Mortuary Museum and Auto Detailing Shop, Heber Springs. By appointment. Call Warren Olmstead at 501-362-2231. This is a private museum dedicated to the Olmstead family business and the Olmstead family. They have the family's original 1896 hearse beautifully restored and parked in the middle of the room. Last visited 9/5/97.
Mountain Home Auto Museum, Mountain Home, 4063 Highway 62 East, 870-492-4241. A consignment and display warehouse for classic car enthusiasts. Open to the public. Three dollars admission. Last visited 8/20/99.
Mountain Valley Water Company, Central Avenue, Hot Springs. The museum, housed on the ground floor of the corporate headquarters, consists mainly of old bottles and cases and exhibits on the spring's geology. The real attraction is the building itself, a great job of historically responsible renovation. Been there.
Mountain Village, 1890, Bull Shoals, 870-445-7177. A collection of about a dozen authentically furnished historic buildings and assorted artifacts (iron jail cell, narrow guage locomotive, animal-powered merry-go-round, and more) gathered from all over Northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri. Also in the same attraction is Bull Shoals Cavern. Guided tour for the cavern costs nine bucks. Self-guided tour/entry fee for village is nine bucks. Discount for taking in both attractions. Last visited 7/25/01.
Museum of Automobiles, Petit Jean State Park, hwy 154, 501-727-5427. Local antique car enthusiasts vie for the honor of having their cars displayed here. Many ultra-fine specimens. One car on display at least until 2000 is Bill Clinton's Mustang. Been There. Official Website.
Museum of Discovery, Little Rock, 500 East Markham, 501-396-7050. Big new museum in the rivermarket renovation district next to the big new library and lots of other big new stuff. Lots of hands-on displays for kids. Lots of brain-teasers only about ten percent of which I could work. A very flashy, rugged, interactive, educational place aimed mainly at kids, but adults won't get bored. Last visited 5/29/98.
Museum of Merritt, Tiny Town Tours, 2113 highway 62B, Mountain Home. Dollhouses and dollhouse miniatures--roomful after roomful after roomful. The personal collection of Ms. Merritt. Some pretty clever stuff, particularly the miniature bake shop goods and farmers' market, in which wares are made mainly from modified buttons, compact cases and aspirin tins. Also scratchboard and watercolor art. Last visited 9/24/99.
Museum of Prehistory and History , Russellville, Arkansas Tech University campus, 501-968-0381. Some exhibits are incomplete due to an anticipated move to new quarters. What they have on display are mainly local Indian artifacts and a number of excellent replicas made as research into stone-age manufacturing methods. Be sure to ask questions of their knowledgeable, enthusiastic and well-credentialled staff. There are also some exhibits pertaining to local pioneer heritage. Last visited 5/5/98.
Museum of Hot Springs, Hot Springs, 201 Central. Located in Howe Hotel building. 501-624-5545. I've never seen it open.
Museum of the Ozarks, Valley Springs, Highway 168, 429-5855. Have not been.
National Guard Museum, Lloyd England Building, Camp Robinson, North Little Rock 501-212-5100. Just opened in Sept. 99, NGM chronicles Arkansas militias from frontier times to the present, emphasizing the role of Camp Pike and Camp Robinson in mobilization and training. Some of it's pretty dry, this unit activated here fought an engagement there, deactivated such-a-date. Some material is more adventurous, the story of Archibald Yell, for one. Weapons and uniforms exhibits (Spanish American War through Desert Storm) are in excellent condition as you might expect. Open Wed, Fri, Sat, 9-2. Last visited 9/29/99.
National Park Aquarium, Hot Springs, 209 Central Avenue. 501-624-3474. Live fish, reptiles, aquatic crustaceans and amphibians. About half the museum is devoted to local varieties, the other half is exotic. Convenient steps front the walls so little kids can see more easily. Six bucks to get in. Last visited 5/16/08.
Natural Bridge Museum, 3 miles north of Clinton off highway 65, 870-***-****. They've got a mountain cabin set up with a still and some pioneer artifacts. The museum isn't all that impressive, but it's kind of a bonus when you visit the Natural Bridge attraction. Last visited 4/23/98.
Nevada County Museum, Prescott, 400 West 1st, 870-***-****. Have not visited.
New Rocky Comfort Museum, Foreman, 3rd Street at Schuman, 870-542-7887. Housed in an old jail (whose first inmate was the man who built it), this museum is like most in that it mainly memorializes local events, families and characters. P.S.--Foreman is the hometown of country singer Tracy Lawrence and Broadway performer Lawrence Hamilton. Last visited 9/18/98.
Old Crossett Company House, hwy 133-T, 870-364-6591 or firstname.lastname@example.org, by appointment. Have not visited.
Old Davidsonville State Park Visitors' Center, Pocahontas, highway 166 south, 870-892-4708. Visitors center has display of artifacts found within the park. Last visited 4/17/98.
Old Fort Museum, Fort Smith, 320 Rogers Avenue, 501-783-7841. Conventional museum primarily relating to history of the fort for which Fort Smith is named. Have visited, and by the way, I'm really tempted to list this as "Old Fart Museum."
Old Independence Regional Museum, Batesville, Ninth and Vine Streets, 870-793-2121.
Old Jail Museum, Greenwood, town square. Have not visited.
Old Mill, Mountain View, Main Street. 870-***-****. Have not visited.
Old Randolph County Courthouse, Pocahontas, town square, 892-5617. Photographs and documents of historical importance hang on the walls of this old courthouse, which is now the Chamber of Commerce building. Tin ceilings--very sharp. Last visited 4/17/98.
Old School Museum, Winthrop, across the street from the new school. Open Mon 8-3, Wed 8-2, Sun 9-4 and by appointment. For appointment call Jo Sharp, 870-381-7574 or Kenneth Kutz, 870-381-7713 or Leeona Overturf, 870-381-7405. Last passed by there 10/27/2007.
Old State House, Little Rock, Markham and Center, Arkansas First Lady's Gowns on permanent exhibit. See Bill Clinton's saxaphone. Also, a little lurid Arkansas trivia, during the very first legislative session back in 1836, the speaker of the house killed one of his colleagues with a bowie knife on the floor of the state congress. -- RTJ--6=29/02)
Old Washington State Park, Hwy 4 north of Hope, 870-983-2684, 870-983-2733. The whole town is a museum and is made of museums. Locked in a blockhouse, they have a gun collection that I am told is one of the top ten private gun collections in the world. There's also a printing museum I found interesting along with the old confederate state capitol building and a reconstruction of an 1840's blacksmith shop on the site of the spot where the first bowie knife was made. Much, much more, including special events dealing with period arts and crafts. Been there, but haven't taken all the tours.
Orphan Train Riders Research Center and Museum, Springdale, 614 E. Emma Ave. #115. 1-501-756-2780. Between 1854 and 1929 over 150,000 orphaned, abandoned and homeless children from the east were placed with families in the west. Have not visited.
Ozark Heritage Arts Center and Museum, Leslie, 870-447-2500. Three-in-one facility. Museum, art gallery and performing arts center. Museum is pretty typical pioneer stuff, primarily of interest to locals. Art museum focuses on Ozark painters and sculptors. Exhibits change monthly. Theatre hosts community productions and concerts. 300+ seat house would be the envy of many professional regional theatre companies in much larger cities. Last visited 9/99.
Parkin Archaeological State Park, Parkin, off highway 64, 870-755-2500. Based on the discovery of a seven-layered chevron trade bead and a Spanish falconer's bell, this mound city is thought to be the location of Casqui, the capital of a collection of late Missippian culture tribes contemporary with the Nodena culture. The interpreters here seem pretty well-informed. As at Toltec Mounds, they offer classes in primitive technologies (flint-knapping, for example). If you're willing to commit for a whole day, they'll let you join in their supervised archaeological digs during the summer months. It's also fun to try to say, "PARKin ARKansas ARCHaeological pARK" ten times fast. Last visited 12/13/97.
Pea Ridge National Military Park, Hwy 62 east from Rogers,501-451-8122. Museum at visitors' center features artifacts from the War of Northern Aggression. Battlefield tours. AV presentation concerning the battle. Been there.
Peel House Museum and Historical Garden, Bentonville, 400 South Walton Blvd, 501-273-9664. Restoration of a big Victorian house. Professionally done and well-appointed though it is, if you've been to many museums around the state you've seen it before. The main event is the gardens, not historically accurate to the grounds, but carefully researched and authentic to the period and the region. Seeds of "heritage varieties" available in the gift shop. Gift shop also sells antiques on consignment. Last visited 9/15/99.
Petit Jean State Park Visitors' Center, Petit Jean State Park, 501-727-5431. They've got exhibits of local flora and fauna you're likely to see, as well as explanations of local cave pictograms and geology. Been there.
Phillips County Museum and Library, Helena, Pecan Street at Perry, 870-338-3537. They've got lots of great stuff, considering this is a county museum in a small town. My favorite exhibit was an army blanket on which were sewn hundreds and hundreds of WWII unit patches. Also a very good exhibit on Edison including something I've never seen anywhere else, a home kinescope. Last visited 1/25/2000.
Pine Bluff and Jefferson County Historical Museum, Pine Bluff, Hwy 65 South, 870-541-5402. Housed in an old railroad depot, as lots of county museums are, this museum has a large duck hunting display, extensive doll collection and an excellent roomful of military artifacts. My favorite exhibit is a large collection of stereoscopic photographs from the first World War. They have a few things mislabelled, though. Keep that in mind when you see the "cotton gin" that looks like a cotton cleaner. Last visited 1997.
Pinnacle Mountain Visitors' Center, Pinnacle Mountain State Park, 501-868-5806. Nature exhibits.
Pioneer Village, Mockingbird Lane, Rison, 870-325-7289. Open June-August. Have not visited.
Planetarium, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Campus, 2801 South University, 501-569-3259. Have not been, but I've talked on the phone with John Williams, the guy who runs the place, and he's always been enthusiastic and helpful.
Plantation Agriculture Museum, Scott, hwy 165 east of North Little Rock, 501-961-1409. State-funded museum all about cotton, plantations, and boll-weevils. Been there.
Potts' Inn, downtown Pottsville, 501-968-5404. Well-preserved stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail route from Memphis to Texarkana, trading post, tavern and post office. Each room is furnished in a historically coherent style. For instance, one room is furnished as a guest room when the building was used as an inn--six beds to a room, two guests to a bed. Highlights of the inn are porcelain and furniture. There are also a number of collections housed in several outbuildings. The Inn itself is great, but the collections housed in the outbuildings are works-in-progress. For instance, there is an extensive collection of ladies' hats gathered into a milliner's shop, but as of my visit they had not been arranged into any kind of context. Last visited 1997.
Powhatan Courthouse State Park, Powhatan, Hwy 25, 870-878-6794. Beautiful old courthouse that was the seat of the "Mother of Counties." Good historical exhibits with lots of interesting pioneer history, particularly the old jail. Also, they display a "viking runestone" which was found locally. Last visited 4/17/98.
Prarie County Museum, Des Arc, hwy 38, 870-256-3711. Exhibits focus on the river and river economy which is so important to the locale. Indian artifiact exhibits, mussel harvesting and buttonmaking gear, working pump organs and victrolas. Next door to Log Cabin Museum. Last visited 9/12/97.
Prarie Grove Battlefield State Park, Prarie Grove, Hwy 62 west from Fayetteville, 501-846-2990. Immaculate grounds, good museum at visitors' center. First week in December every other year there is an historical reenactment. Been there.
Reader Railroad, Reader, from Prescott take hwy 24 to hwy 368, 870-337-9591. Weekends only. Have not seen.
Resettlement Village, near Walnut Ridge, off hwy 67 South, 870-***-****. Have not visited.
Rock and Mineral Museum (Ocus Stanley and Son), Mount Ida, turn south off highway 270 and Pine Street (by the Dairy Bar). 870-867-3556. The bad news is that there is nothing at all labelled in this "museum." The good news is that there is shelf after shelf after shelf jam packed with rare, colorful, unusual, beautiful mineral specimens gathered over a lifetime. If you appreciate minerals and gems, you'll love this place. If you're untrained, it's still fun to look at the pretty rocks. Last visited 12/18/97.
Rogers Historical Museum, Rogers, 322 S. 2nd, 501-621-1154. Historical museum focusing on Benton County history. Exhibits mostly aimed at school-aged crowds, but there's plenty to keep grownups interested, including a particularly fine restoration of the 1895 Hawkins House. Last visited 2/22/99.
Rush Historic District, take highway 14 south from Yellville, turn east at the brown sign that says "Rush Buffalo River Access." It's on federal land in the Buffalo National River reserve. Ghost town comprised of several buildings that once made up one of the many Ozark communities that mined plentiful zinc deposits from the 1880's to the 1920's. Wooden structures are roped off, but stone and cement structures can be examined closely. There are trails to various points of interest and explanatory plaques posted. Last visited 4/22/98.
St. Charles Museum, St. Charles, where highway 1 crosses the White River, site of "the Deadliest Shot of the Civil War." Have not visited.
St. Francis County Museum, Front Street, Forrest City. Housed in restored home and office of doctor. Excellent collection of local indian artifacts. Also mammoth and mastadon teeth and bones, giant clam and antique medical instruments, including the examination table on which Reverend Al Green was born. Last visited 12/99.
Saunders Memorial Museum, 113-115 East Madison, Berryville, 870-423-2563. Guns, guns and more guns. Half this museum is handguns, almost 400 of them. It must be one of the premier private handgun collections in the world, and includes guns once owned by historical personages both famous and infamous. The other half of the museum is amazing, luxurious, world-class cool stuff. World-travelers, Colonel and Mrs. Saunders had high-taste by the bucket and enough cash to indulge those tastes. For example, Saunders, a renowned big-game hunter and globally competitive crack shot, won a shooting match with an Arab shiek, who paid off his bet by presenting Saunders with a tent, hand-sewn by his many wives. This huge tent is propped up semi-furled in one corner, and it looks like one of those tents from a Rudolph Valentino movie. At first, I was doubtful about some of the stuff. Sitting Bull's vest from Little Big Horn? Pancho Villa's spurs? Come on, now, pull the other one. But then as I went through the museum, I saw that this guy had access by the boatload, and he hobnobbed with the rich and powerful. He was perhaps more like Teddy Roosevelt than was T. R. himself. If he set his mind to getting Pancho Villa's spurs, I reckon he ended up with Pancho Villa's spurs. Been there.
Sawdust Junction Museum and Mud Race Track, Highway 49 between Paragould and Marmaduke, 870-***-****. Alongside a mud race track and some flea market shops are a few log buildings in which are collected displays mainly of tools (emphasis on lumber and timber industry, including a Perils-of-Pauline style buzz saw) and household articles. Precious little is labelled, and there isn't much order or meaningful context provided. If you're driving by and need to stretch your legs, or if you want to watch buggies race on a mud track, then this is an adequate timewaster, but I wouldn't plan a special trip for this one. Last visited 11/18/97.
Searcy County Museum, Marshall, Center Street, 870-448-5786.
Sevier County Museum, Look for the signs west of the intersection of highways 71 and 41in DeQueen, 870-642-6642. Pretty standard county museum stuff, neat and orderly. See how your parents and grandparents lived. Last visited 9/26/97.
Shiloh Museum, Springdale, Johnson and Main. 501-750-8165. Basically another pioneer museum, but this one is a cut above in that everything is identified and labelled and well-exhibited. They have a collection of buildings as well, a general store, doctor's office, barn, log houses, outhouses, etc. Just about every small museum in Arkansas has one really peculiar exhibit. When you visit this one, ask to see the clock in the Searcy House. It's a grandfather clock with home made cabinetry that looks to be part clock, part bookshelf and part sailing ship. If they ever want to move the thing they'll have to disassemble either the clock or the house. Worth a special trip. Last visited 2/26/99.
Siloam Springs Museum, Siloam Springs, 112 North Maxwell, 501-524-4011. Well-appointed, but pretty standard pioneer museum. Last visited 4/22/99.
Silver Wings Field, Eureka Springs, 542 County Road 2073, Eureka Springs, 72632. Phone 501-253-5008. The Aviation Cadet Museum chronicles the program that produced America's military pilots from the first world war to the mid 1960's. You drive to the place and on the wall next to the door is a phone to the owner's house. Pick it up, push the button and he'll give you a tour for four dollars. He's got an authentic antique WWII dogtag stamping machine, and for seven bucks he'll print you a tag that might as well be the real thing. The museum is phase one of a plan for a fantasy camp recreating air cadet life in the 1940's and 1950's complete with USO shows and military haircuts. Barracks to be reconstructed on the property are genuine army surplus from nearby Fort Chaffee. Here's a link to their website. Last visited 5/02.
Snake World, Eureka Springs, hwy 62 east of town, 870-423-6530. More snakes than the reptile house at the Little Rock zoo, claims owner Dale Ertel; and he does have a bunch of them. To me, one snake exhibit is pretty much like the next, but Dale's infectious enthusiasm and first-person reptile experience make this tour worth the price of admission. Last visited 10/6/98.
South Arkansas Arts Center, El Dorado, 110 East 5th Street, 870-862-5474. Have not been.
Spring Mill, Hwy69 north of Batesville, 501-793-7015 by appointment.
Stone County Museum, off Highway 9, Mountain View, 870-***-****. The old school building has been converted into a museum full of artifacts primarily of local interest. Most of these museums have one or two peculiar and interesting artifacts. This one has a jar which was filled with white cherries in 1870 and sealed with wax by a young bride who hoped to share them with her husband on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Well, the husband didn't quite go the distance, and in 1940 their daughter ate the cherries. Last visited 4/22/98.
Stuttgart Agricultural Museum, 921 East 4th, 870-673-7001. Lots of farm equipment and duck-hunting artifacts, but that's not all. In a display case outside the duck room is one of the wonders of Arkansas, which my tourguide called the "Coat of Many Duckheads." And that's just what it is. The hides and feathers of the heads of 450 green mallards went into making this very green coat. Also, there's an excellent display of fully-functioning antique music boxes, vitaphones, radios, victrolas and player organs and pianos, all of which the tourguide will demonstrate for you. Be warned, though, they've got phonetic song sheets on hand, and before the tour continues, you'll be expected to sing "Lili Marlene." Last visited 8/10/97.
Subiaco Abbey Museum, Subiaco, 501-934-4411, by appointment. Have not been.
Sulphur Springs Mini-Museum, Between Black and White Streets on Duff, next to town library, housed in the old high school in Sulphur Springs. This museum is a "work in progress" in the early stages of progress. It's not really ready for visitors yet, but if you're interested in the town's history (as a resort, healing springs, bottled water source, etc.) then drop in and they'll show you what they've got...essentially a half-room full of interesting old junk. They are raising money to put together displays by serving spaghetti suppers on Sunday evenings. Last visited 11/5/98.
Texarkana Historical Society and Museum, 219 State Line Avenue, 501-214-793-4831. They have a piano that they figure is one that Scott Joplin learned on. It was acquired from a house at 7th and Hazel. Joplin, who as a young boy lived for a time at 618 Hazel, would accompany his mom, who cleaned houses. If there was a piano in the house, and if the owner was willing, young Scott was allowed to practice on it. So, because the age of the piano is right and the location of the house from which the piano was acquired is about 150 yards from Joplin's boyhood home, bingo, Joplin's piano. Last visited 7/25/97.
Toltec Mounds Archaeological State Park, Scott, take hwy 165 south from North Little Rock, 501-961-9442. There's a museum attatched to the visitors' center. Guided tours and self-guided tours. By the way, the first thing they'll tell you is that these mounds were built by the Plum Bayou culture, not Toltecs, as was thought back in the 19th century. Been there
Tontitown Historical Museum, Tontitown, Take highway 412 west from Springdale, then 68 west at Tontitown, 501-361-2498. Akransas' Italian heritage is sparse, but this is some of it. Exhibits mainly of local interest, winemaking, local Catholic clergy. Tontitown is named for Henri de Tonti, the first Italian explorer to come to these parts. Last visited 9/22/2000 (nobody was there, but the door was unlocked).
Trumann Public Library and Museum, Trumann, 1200 West Main, 870-483-7744. Highlight is a collection of wood carvings by a local man. Also various historical materials and archives of local interest. Prominently featured in Trumann's history is the Singer sewing machine plant which for decades employed over a third of the people in the town. Last visited 4/6/99.
Turner Neal Museum of Natural History, Monticello, University of Arkansas at Monticello campus, 870-460-1066. This one seems to be a teaching museum open to the public. In addition to many large mammal mounts (polar bear, elephant, caribou, etc.) from the private collections of a number of big game hunters, this museum has many reference collections of local wildlife. (The drawer of mounted mice is an interesting sight. They look like a rack of furry corn dogs.) The curator pointed to a big jar containing a couple hundred preserved frogs and told me that there was more scientific value in the jar of frogs than in all the large mammal mounts in the museum. Also on hand are paleoindian exhibits, birds, waterfowl, minerals and an extensive collection of local plants. Also on display are a couple of aquariums of indigenous fish and a small planetarium with monthly or bimonthly shows open to the public. Last visited 11/18/98.
Twentieth Century Doll Museum and Doll Hospital, Newport, 2005 Eastern Drive (Off hwy 67 take Brandenburg to Eastern), 501-523-2194. Call to make sure Virginia Arnett is there. Dolls and action figures floor to ceiling, wall to wall, shoulder to shoulder and elbow to elbow. Thousands upon thousands of them. A flabbergasting sight to behold. Also a doll repair shop. Last visited 11/10/98.
Two Rivers Museum, Ashdown, 5-15 East Main Street. Mostly local interest and pioneer artifacts . Lots of photos of the town's early buildings. Last visited 10/27/2007.
University of Arkansas Museum, Fayetteville, Garland Avenue, 501-575-3555. Natural history and traveling exhibits. Last visited 8/12/97.
Van Buren County Historical Society Museum, Clinton, Third and Poplar Streets, 501-745-4066. Pretty typical county museum focusing on local history. They seem to have taken particular care with their military service archives, displaying photos of innumerable local veterans from the Civil War to the Gulf War. Hours 10-4 MTWTF. Last visited 7/24/98.
Veterans' Military Museum, Hardy, in historic downtown, 870-856-4133. This museum, operating in a basement and on a shoestring, is literally a veterans' military museum in that it's comprised of the private collections of things liberated (or looted, depending on your p.o.v.) by local veterans in the service of their country. Artifacts range from Civil war to Desert Storm, including a cobra helicopter and a collection of eight or so jeeps from a 1942 Willys to Korean War and Vietnam variants. Admission is a token buck. If you go trout fishing in the Spring River, it's a good stop before your long ride home. Last visited 7/8/99.
Villa Marre, 13th and Scott, Little Rock, 501-374-9979. If you've seen the TV show "Designing Women," you've seen the front of this house. It was built in 1881 by saloon keeper Angelo and and his wife Jennie Marre (pronounced like "Marie"), and no expense was spared. A couple of things I found interesting: Light fixtures in the house are hybrid gaslight/electric. In the early days of electric light the utilities weren't all that reliable and provisions were made for expected outages. Also, the parquet flooring throughout the house is intricate and expensive, but note the parquetry in the master bedroom upstairs. It's a wooden crazy-quilt patched together from remnants of parquetry from the floors of all the other rooms in the house. There are also some interesting details in the upstairs bathroom--a steel tub with iron legs and a wooden rim, that kind of thing. Three bucks to get in. Pay at the Quapaw Quarter Association building next door. Last visited 3/10/98.
Vintage Motorcar Museum, Hardy, West Main Street (P.O. Box 311), 870-856-4884. You get a lot for the price of admission and it's worth the time it takes to visit. This place houses a constantly changing inventory of some 50 cars, and I do mean inventory. At any given time about a third of the cars are for sale, and as a result the exhibits change from time to time. In some ways this is a better car museum than the one at Petit Jean. Ancillary exhibits include things like a collection of 200+ wagon and car jacks. Last visited 4/17/98.
Wal-Mart Visitors' Center, Bentonville Town Square, 501-273-1329. Walton's first five-and-ten-cent store, opened when Sam lost the lease on his Ben Franklin store. Half the museum focuses on the Wal-Mart enterprise. The other half memorializes the Walton family. Exhibits include Sam Walton's office, preserved exactly as it was on the day he died (Check the titles of the well-thumbed books on the shelf of history's most successful retailer!). There's also a reconstruction of his first office. The contrast is pretty interesting. In the personal section you can view Sam's favorite pickup truck and a bust of Ol' Roy, his favorite hunting dog. Last visited 10/27/97.
Wagon Yard, England. This is a private collection dedicated to preserving the history of one man's family. There are dozens and dozens of wagons, surrey's, coaches, shays, carts, saddles and harnesses displayed along with reconstructions of early rough lumber homes, jails and the like. The highlights for me were the hearse and the yankee mail cart. Plus, the collection is displayed in connection with dozens and dozens of life-sized fiberglass mules and horses, and the draft-animal figures could be a display themselves. Been there.
White County Historical Museum, P.O. Box 8254, Searcy, 501-742-3808. I've gotten them on the phone, and it's unclear whether or not the museum exists.
Whitehall Museum, Whitehall (northwest of Pine Bluff), highway 365 behind the police station. Last Visited 1996.
Whitetail World, Clarksville, take exit 58 off I-40, go up the hill, turn right on the first street after the Best Western, 501-754-8620. This is a store and museum. The store carries hunting books and videos, knives, boots, cammies, and the like. The attatched museum is an amazing collection of replica mounts of what must be all the record whitetail deer for every state in the U.S.; about sixty or seventy in all. If you happen to be cruising past Clarksville on I-40, Whitetail World's museum is a good opportunity to stretch your legs for a half-hour and see some things you won't see anywhere else. Even nonhunters will be impressed. Last visited 4/1/98.
Wiggins Cabin, Crossett, City Park off Hwy 82 south, 870-364-6591. By appointment. Pioneer artifacts and furnishings.
Will Reed Home, Alleene, Highway234. Pick up a key at the Alleene General Store. Pioneer dog-trot cabin, household and farm implements. Check in at the general store and gas station across the street to get your guide. They won't let you go in unescorted. Also, Alleene is the birthplace of Chet Lauck of Lum and Abner. Last visited 9/18/98.
Wine Museum, Paris, Cowie Wine Cellars, Highway 22 west of town, 501-963-3990. The museum is a work in progress that honors the once-thriving Arkansas wine industry, which formerly consisted of well over a hundred wineries. Cowie Wine Cellars is also a working winery, and there's plenty to see in addition to the museum. Most importantly, you can talk about wine with professional winemakers, as opposed to professional tourguides. Last visited on 6/18/97.
Wolf House, highway 5, Norfork, you can see it from the hwy 5 bridge. This is one of Arkansas' many 19th century log-house museums. The staff is more knowledgeable than most and the artifacts are better organized and appear in a more realistic context than you might see elsewhere. Been there.