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Museums

Learn Arkansas pioneer history at the Plantation Agriculture Museum.

Plantation Agriculture Museum tells the story of cotton in the "Old South."

Travel through time from the present back to prehistory in the museums of Arkansas State Parks. From archeological discoveries including effigy vessels to oil field technology; from Arkansas pioneer history to a turn-of-the-century train depot; from cotton agriculture to one of the South's finest repositories of guns and Bowie knives, there is so much for you to explore and experience. Each artifact will forge a connection between you and the people and events of Arkansas's past.

Admission to Arkansas State Parks museums is free. [NOTE: The exceptions are the historic residences and other structures at Historic Washington State Park, Arkansas's premier 19th-century museum village.]

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1886 Frisco Depot (Mammoth Spring State Park)

Discover Arkansas pioneer history at the Frisco Depot in Mammoth Springs.
Mammoth Springs
Mammoth Springs,AR (click for map)
(click for map)

In one of the most unique museums in Arkansas, take a step back in time to the 1900s as you stroll through the oldest railroad station in Arkansas, the circa 1886 Frisco Depot at Mammoth Spring State Park. This restored, turn-of-the century Victorian depot features custom-sculpted lifelike figures that portray the train crew, depot crew and train passengers of the early 1900s period. Hear the stories that each one shares. Two short videos tell the history of Mammoth Spring. The baggage room includes exhibits of railroad artifacts. A Frisco caboose parked just outside is open for touring, too. The park is on U.S. 63 in Mammoth Spring.View the Calendar of Events for Arkansas History State Parks!

Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources

Exhibits and programs tell of the industrial and social history surrounding the 'black gold rush' of Arkansas's oil fields. Walk the rutted streets of a 1920s oil boom town, then go on a journey inside the earth to see formation of the oil strata. Follow the trail through the museum's Oil Field Park and see full-size operating equipment used from the 1920s to the modern era, including a 1920s standard oil rig and a 112-foot wooden derrick. The museum is on Ark. 7 two miles south of Smackover.Arkansas Post: the perfect Arkansas kids museum.

Arkansas Post Museum

Early travelers used the Arkansas River as a highway. Just north of the waterway lay a land of tall grasses filled with elk, buffalo, and deer. Explorers such as Audubon, Schoolcraft and Washington Irving were startled at the expanse of land in this region. Stroll through this museum's complex of five buildings and explore Arkansas pioneer history on the Arkansas Grand Prairie. The museum is six miles south of Gillett at the junction of U.S. 165 and Ark. 169.View the Calendar of Events for Arkansas History State Parks!

B. W. Edwards Weapons Museum (Historic Washington State Park)

James Black, a local blacksmith, is credited with creating the legendary Bowie knife. Today's park visitors can visit a reconstructed blacksmith shop and nearby weapons museum featuring one of the South's finest collections of guns and Bowie-style knives.

Historic Washington, Arkansas's premier 19th-century village, is home to the one of the South's most complete collections of guns and Bowie-style knives. Washington was site of the blacksmith shop where gifted silversmith James Black made a weapon for Jim Bowie that would become famous as the "Bowie Knife," and symbolize the spirit of the pioneers who settled the frontier. Take Exit #30 off I-30 at Hope and travel eight miles northwest on U.S. 278.

Crouch House (Historic Washington State Park)

Discover 19th-century artifacts at the Washington State Park Museum

This restored Greek Revival home, located within Historic Washington State Park, serves as a museum of construction methods used during the 19th century. Learn about hand-hewn timber framing and brace-frame cottage construction. View cut-away sections of walls and fireplaces, along with examples of graining, marbling and laying plaster. And, see window sections and a variety of tools used by craftsmen to build the historic structures you'll visit on your tour of historic Washington. Take Exit #30 off I-30 at Hope and travel eight miles northwest on U.S. 278.

Hampson Museum (Hampson Archeological Museum State Park)

Nodena Red and White pottery from the Hampson collection

The James K. Hampson Collection presents an engaging look at the decorative arts of the late-Mississippian people from the Nodena Site. Notable pieces in this nationally renowned collection include a large collection of the famed "Nodena Red and White" pottery, Nodena type site points, and a variety of effigy vessels, including a remarkable human head effigy. The park is in Wilson at the junction of U.S. 61 and Lake Drive.

Hindman Hall (Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park)

Hindman Hall, the battlefield museum at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
Prairie Grove
Prairie Grove,AR (click for map)
(click for map)

Identified by the American Battlefield Protection Program as one of the most intact Civil War battlefields in the nation, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park provides a view of a major Civil War battle site just as Union and Confederate troops saw it during a day of fierce fighting on December 7, 1862. Hindman Hall serves as the park visitor center and museum. Exhibits and artifacts interpret and detail the Battle of Prairie Grove. The interactive exhibits share stories about the battle, how the landscape affected and shaped the strategic decisions made by both armies, and the Civil War's devastating local effect. The stories of this last battle for the highland route to Missouri are also brought to life along the park's walking tours and driving tours, during monthly events, and at a dramatic reenactment of the battle held biennially on even numbered years. The park is on U.S. 62 in Prairie Grove.Prairie Grove makes for a great Arkansas kids museum, as many attractions are located outdoors.

Jacksonport Courthouse Museum (Jacksonport State Park)

When you visit Jacksonport State Park, you stand in a place that was a thriving river port in the 1800s. The town became the Jackson county seat in 1854, and in 1869, construction began on a stately, two-story brick courthouse. The structure was completed in 1872; however, when bypassed by the railroad in the 1880s, the town of Jacksonport began to decline. In 1891, the county seat was moved to nearby Newport, and Jacksonport's stores, wharves and saloons soon vanished. Today the restored courthouse serves as a museum where exhibits themed "If These Walls Could Talk" incorporate first-person dialogue audio, court records, and vintage photos to tell Jacksonport's story. The park is on Ark. 69 in Jacksonport.

Lower White River Museum (Lower White River Museum State Park)

Lower White River Museum

Two centuries ago, the White River was the highway to the American frontier of north Arkansas. Through exhibits and programs, the Lower White River Museum tells the story of early Arkansas pioneer history of the exploration and settlement of the lower White River from 1831 to 1931. The museum is in Des Arc at the western end of Main Street.Lower White River Museum

Parkin Archeological State Park

This state park/archeological research station preserves and interprets the best preserved village site from its time period in northeast Arkansas. Many scholars believe that Parkin is site of the American Indian village of Casqui visited by the Hernando de Soto expedition in the summer of 1541. All the features found at Parkin fit the description of Casqui in the expedition's journals. The village was surrounded by a moat, or ditch, which is still visible today. The large earthen mound that remains is siutated near the St. Francis River. Explore the exhibit gallery in the visitor center and learn about the prehistoric ancestors of the American Indians who occupied this site from A.D. 1000 to 1550. Then, take a guided tour of the mound site. The park is in Parkin at the junction of U.S. 64 and Ark. 184 north.

Plantation Agriculture Museum

Pulleys and belts run the restored 1920s cotton gin.

Located just 20 minutes east of Little Rock, this museum interprets cotton agriculture in Arkansas from statehood in 1836 through World War II, when agricultural practices quickly became mechanized. Learn about growing and picking cotton, as well as ginning and storing the seeds. Tour the 1912 museum building, Dortch Gin Building, and Seed Warehouse #5. The museum is in Scott at the junction of U.S. 165 and Ark. 161.

Powhatan Historic State Park

In the 1800s, this busy river port on the Black River was the chief shipping point for a large territory. In 1888, atop a hill overlooking the busy riverfront, a Victorian courthouse was built from bricks made on site. This courthouse is the park's dominant feature. Explore exhibits that interpret the commerce, politics, and lifestyles that shaped north Arkansas and illustrate the history of Lawrence County, the mother of north Arkansas counties, from its beginning to the early years of the 20th century. Take a guided tour through five buildings that share the stories of domestic and commercial life here in the 1800s. Visit the historic Powhatan Courthouse, Powhatan Jail, Ficklin-Imboden Log House, Commercial Building, and Powhatan Male and Female Academy, a two-room schoolhouse. The park is on Ark. 25 in Powhatan.

Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park

Just 16 miles southeast of North Little Rock, this state park/archeological research station museum preserves and interprets the remains of a large group of ancient earthworks known as the Toltec Mounds. Here you can experience one of the largest and most complex archeological sites in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Three mounds are visible where 18 mounds once stood at this ceremonial and govenmental complex. Tour the mound site. Watch archeologists at work. Explore the exhibit gallery that includes artifacts from the site. From Scott, travel four miles south on U.S. 165, then go 1/4-mile west on Ark. 386.

Washington Print Museum (Historic Washington State Park)

The print museum is one of many museums and historic homes in Historic Washington.

The town of Washington, Arkansas, which dates to 1824, had the second newspaper in the state. The Washington Telegraph was printed here from 1839 into the 1950s. The park's Print Museum interprets an 1800s newspaper business, exhibiting hand presses, machine presses and linotype machines from the early 1800s through the mid 1900s. Take Exit #30 off I-30 at Hope and travel eight miles northwest on U.S. 278


Arkansas History & Heritage State Parks
Arkansas State Parks Arkansas History & Heritage State Parks