It appears that you're using a severely outdated version of Safari on Windows. Many features won't work correctly, and functionality can't be guaranteed. Please try viewing this website in Edge, Mozilla, Chrome, or another modern browser. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused!Read More about this safari issue.
Arkansans with an interest in history have a wide range of historical sites and museums to choose from, but some are a little more familiar than others. Since Spring Break is just around the corner and we’re all looking for reasons for a day out of the house when it’s warmer, here are a few museums in Arkansas that feature little-known facts about Arkansas you should get to know.
The mission of the Historic Arkansas Museum is to communicate the early history of Arkansas and its creative legacy through preserving, interpreting, and presenting stories and collections. It’s a combination museum and historic site that has on its historic grounds a pre-civil war neighborhood, including the oldest home still standing in Little Rock. Help it celebrate its 75th birthday with a visit this year.
The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum in North Little Rock admits that they are one of central Arkansas’ “best-kept secrets”, but they made news recently when the USS Hoga, a tugboat that was in Pearl Harbor during the fateful attack on our country in 1941. There is also a submarine, the USS Razorback, available to tour – and your group can even reserve a date to spend the night!
The Delta Cultural Center in Helena is, as its name implies, “a museum dedicated to the heritage of the Arkansas Delta”. The museum staff and volunteers preserve, interpret and present the cultural heritage of this legendary 27-county region where agriculture was king, and The Blues was (and is) the sound of life. In fact, you may have listened to its broadcasts of the Peabody-winning “King Biscuit Time,” the nation’s longest-running blues radio program, which began over 70 years ago on Helena radio station, KFFA. The Center also sponsors a several yearly music festivals in Helena that are presented free to the public.
The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale focuses on the colorful history of the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks region. Rather than fancy artifacts or famous names, the museum features what they call “the real shapers of Ozark history—the everyday men, women, and children who lived in our towns and rural communities.” There are also historical buildings and garden areas on the grounds to explore, and the 37-mile Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway can be accessed from the property, so bring your bike.
The Arkansas Air & Military Museum is housed in a huge, all-wood hangar that once served as the headquarters of one of the country’s aviator training posts during World War II. Located on the grounds of Drake Field in Fayetteville – once the only major airport in Northwest Arkansas, the displays inside depict the history of aviation in Arkansas and include a large collection of original artifacts and memorabilia. There are also aircraft to get up close to, including Vietnam-era Army helicopters and a Navy carrier fighter jet. Read more about the Arkansas Air & Military Museum here on OnlyinArk.com.
At the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources you’ll learn things you probably don’t already know about the history of oil in Arkansas, like the fact that for five months in 1925, the 40-square-mile Smackover field was the focal point of one of the wildest mineral booms in North America. At the museum today, you can tour the oil field itself, or participate in a number of different interactive exhibits inside the 25,000-square-foot main building.
The Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff building includes over 70,000 square feet of floor space and 17 tracks, and houses two display rooms and many displays. The project began in 1983 with a few folks who were interested in bringing Steam Locomotive 819 back to Pine Bluff where she had been built by the Cotton Belt Shops. It was the last steam engine built in the facility – which now houses the museum – and what began as a single effort grew into the museum it is today. Read more about railroads in Arkansas here on OnlyinArk.com.
Include these museums in Arkansas on your spring break itinerary this year. We can’t wait to hear all about your trips!
Sign up for our weekly e-news.
Get stories sent straight to your inbox!