As befits the state's capital city, you will certainly find several Little
Rock museums, and several are internationally respected. But, perhaps the
most unique of all museums in Arkansas is actually one of the state
parks. The Ozark Folk Center State Park is located just outside the little
town of Mountain View,
and is a living history village
with craft demonstrations, traditional folk music performances, and much more.
There are scores of other Arkansas museums that chronicle and preserve the
state's fascinating history and culture. Many are little hidden gems you can
discover as you traverse the scenic roads in the state, including the beautiful
and historic Talimena
Scenic Byway. One of these museums in Arkansas is the Delta Cultural Center,
located on the Mississippi River in Helena, site of one of the state's premier
Blues and Heritage Festival.
Several towns boast beautiful nineteenth-century mansions, simple homesteads, and historic old buildings that today are Arkansas museums showcasing the history of particular regions in the state. Many County Historical Societies are headquartered in these. Bentonville has the 1875 Peel Mansion with its lovely gardens. The 1896 Rexall Drug Store and Soda Fountain in Rogers houses the fascinating Daisy Airgun Museum.
The spas of Eureka Springs have been drawing visitors since the Spanish conquistadors stopped to enjoy the curative waters in 1541. The city's entire historic downtown is a living museum, and the Eureka Springs Historical Museum is housed in the lovely 1889 Calif House. One of the Little Rock museums is similar to this, and includes the entire Quapaw District of the city, full of fine old ante bellum mansions and buildings, and cemeteries dating to pre-Civil War times.
Arkansas museums also chronicle the history and heritage of the state's natural resources. The impact of the White River is preserved both in the Prairie County Museum in Des Arc as well as in the Lower White River State Park. The museum at Crater of Diamonds State Park helps you explore the geology of this area that produced the only diamond mine in the United States.
The best and most sophisticated museums in Arkansas will be located in the capital city. Among the Little Rock museums are the William Clinton Presidential Library, a state-of-the-art complex opened in 2004 and including archives related to the 42nd president, his life, presidency, and times. The Little Rock Central High School is also one of the Little Rock museums and is dedicated to the nine black students who historically took the first steps to integrating public schools in 1957. Here also you will find the state's superb Historic Arkansas Museum. This is actually a complex of five restored nineteenth-century houses located in downtown Little Rock. It includes the oldest building in the city, the Hinderliter Grog Shop built by a German immigrant in 1826. Other buildings are the Brownlee House, built in the late 1840s; the McVicar House, a prime example of mid-nineteenth-century log and peg construction; the Plum Bayou Log House and Farmstead; and the Old State House, a magnificent example of Greek Revival architecture and the oldest surviving original state capitol building west of the Mississippi River.