FAYETTEVILLE MUSEUM INDEX

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The following is a list of museums within forty miles of Fayetteville.

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

Abundant Memories Heritage Village, Eureka Springs, hwy 23 north of town. 1-479-253-6764. 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.

Airgun Museum, 202 West Walnut Street in Rogers, (479) 986-6873. World's largest collection of non-powder firearms. Have not visited it at its new home. It's a must see for anybody who owned an air rifle as a kid.Official Website.

Arkansas Air Museum, Fayetteville airport, Hwy 71 on the south end of town, 479-521-4947. 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.

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.

Bella Vista Historical Museum, Bella Vista, hwy 71, 1-479-855-2335. Open afternoons daily. Have not visited.

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.

Blue Spring Heritage Center, Eureka Springs, hwy 62 west of town, 479-253-9244. Botannical gardens centering on Blue Spring, one of the headwaters of the White River at the upper end of Table Rock Lake. Formerly Eureka Springs Gardens. Haven't visited since management change. Here's a link to their website.

Castle Museum at Inspiration Point, US 62 west from Eureka Springs

College Museum, on Campus of old Arkansas College, Cane Hill. By appointment, call Roy Rinehart 479-824-3794 or Mary Jean Manhall 501-824-5015. Have not visited.

Country Doctor Museum, Lincoln, 107 North Star Avenue, 479-824-4307. 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.

Decatur Library Museum, Decatur, highway 59 downtown, 479-***-****. Visited when closed, 11/5/98, so I only got to see the outdoor exhibits, antique tractors, railroad locomotive.

Eureka Springs Historical Museum, 95 S. Main, Eureka Springs, 479-253-9417. History of Eureka Springs. 'nuf said. Last visited 10/6/98.

Frog Fantasies Frog Museum, Eureka Springs, 151 Spring Street, 479-253-7227. 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.

Gay Nineties Button and Doll Museum, Eureka Springs, at Onyx Cave, hwy 62 east of town. 479-253-9321. 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.

Headquarters House Museum, Fayetteville, 118 E. Dickson. Used as headquarters for both Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Haven't seen it.

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, my favorite, 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.

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.

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.

Miles Musical Museum, Eureka Springs, highway 62 west, 479-253-8961. Have not been. There was a "For Sale" sign in the lot last time I drove through Eureka Springs.

Miracle Mansion, Eureka Springs, hwy 62 east of town, 479-253-9744. They say they have the world's oldest bug collection. Have not been.

Museum of Earth History, Eureka Springs, on the grounds of the Great Passion Play off highway 62. Presents creationist view of history. Displays include a dozen or so dinosaur fossil casts. Last visited 10/2005.

Orphan Train Riders Research Center and Museum, Springdale, 614 E. Emma Ave. #115. 1-479-756-2780. 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.

Peel House Museum and Historical Garden, Bentonville, 400 South Walton Blvd, 479-273-9664. 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.

Prarie Grove Battlefield State Park, Prarie Grove, Hwy 62 west from Fayetteville, 479-846-2990. Immaculate grounds, good museum at visitors' center. First week in December there is an annual historical reenactment. Been there.

Rogers Historical Museum, Rogers, 322 S. 2nd, 479-621-1154. 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.

Saunders Memorial Museum, 113-115 East Madison, Berryville, 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.

Shiloh Museum, Springdale, Johnson and Main. 479-750-8165. 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, 479-524-4011. 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 479-253-5008. 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.

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.

Tontitown Historical Museum, Tontitown, Take highway 412 west from Springdale, then 68 west at Tontitown, 479-361-2498. 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.

University of Arkansas Museum, Fayetteville, Garland Avenue, 479-575-3555. Natural history and traveling exhibits. Last visited 8/12/97.

Wal-Mart Visitors' Center, Bentonville Town Square, 479-273-1329. 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.



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