LITTLE ROCK MUSEUM INDEX

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The following is a list of museums within thirty-five miles of downtown Little Rock.

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

Aerospace Education Center, near Little Rock National Airport, 399-9401Arkansas' 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.

Arkansas Arboretum, Pinnacle Mountain State Park, take hwy 10 west from Little Rock, then hwy 300 north, 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, 372-4000.

Arkansas Territorial Restoration, (see Historic Arkansas Museum) Little Rock, 2nd and Scott, 501-324-9531.

Bauxite Museum, Bauxite, find the post office on hwy 183 and take the turnoff south, 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.

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.

Clinton Presidential Center, 1200 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72201. 501-374-4242. 9-5 M-Sat, 1-5 Sun. Admission $7 and under. Have not visited.

Conway County Historical Museum, downtown Morrilton in the old railroad depot, Call for hours.

Decorative Arts Museum, Little Rock, 7th and Rock St., 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.

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.

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.

Game and Fish Museum, Little Rock, #2 Natural Resources Drive, 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.

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.

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.

Greathouse Home and Museum, courthouse square, Conway, 501-329-6446 by appointment. Have not been.

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.

Jacksonville Museum of Military History, 100 Veterans Circle (a connecting street between the north and south-running lanes of Main Street near the Post Office) 501-982-6556. Jacksonville being a military town, this is a museum run by professional military people. The exhibits tend to be on local subjects. For instance there's a room dedicated to the Civil War in Arkansas, one dedicated to the Arkansas Ordnance Plant (88% of all bombs dropped by the U.S. were detonated by devices from this facility), one wall about the missile silos that were built across north-central Arkansas. There are also general exhibits from the Civil War to Vietnam. It's all in a pretty tight space right now, but I'm told there's lots of gear in storage and expansion is planned. Well-researched and informative. Last visited 6/13/2005.

Lonoke County Historical Society Boxcar Museum, Lonoke, next to depot, hwy 270, 501-676-6633. Have not visited.

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.

Marisgate Plantation, Scott, Bearskin Lake Road, 501-961-1307. Antebellum mansion. By appointment. Have not been.

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.

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.

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.

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)

Pinnacle Mountain Visitors' Center, Pinnacle Mountain State Park, 501-868-5806. Nature exhibits.

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. Last visited 2/26/04.

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. Last visited 2/26/04.

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.

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.

Whitehall Museum, Whitehall (northwest of Pine Bluff), highway 365 behind the police station. Last Visited 1996.


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