FORT SMITH MUSEUM INDEX

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The following is a list of museums within forty miles of downtown Fort Smith.

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.

ALPHABETICAL LISTING

Altus Heritage House Museum, Altus, 106 N. Franklin, 479-468-1310. 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.

Artist's Point Gift Shop and Museum, Mountainburg, highway 71, 479-369-2226. 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.

Blythe's Museum, Hwy 71 Waldron, 479-637-3730. 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.

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.

Darby House, Fort Smith, 311 General Darby Street, 479-782-3388. 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.

Fort Smith Air Museum, Fort Smith Regional Airport, 6100 McKennon Blvd. 479-785-1839. Have not visited, although some static displays at the airport are noted on the Roadside Military Hardware page.

Fort Smith Art Center, Fort Smith, 423 North 6th. Have not visited.

Fort Smith Museum of History, Fort Smith, 320 Rogers Avenue, 479-783-7841.

Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith, 3rd and Rogers, 479-783-3961. 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, 479-783-5345. 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 9/9/99.

Logan County Museum, Paris, 204 N. Vine, 479-963-3936. 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.

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.

Old Fort Museum, see Fort Smith Museum of History.

Wine Museum, Paris, Cowie Wine Cellars, Highway 22 west of town, 479-963-3990. 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.



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