History, Mystery, Plenty Of Fun

History, Mystery, Plenty Of Fun

Museums offer something new all the time


Northwest Arkansas enjoys museums that collect and interpret art, history, politics, retail and more. Here are some of the things going on there right now.

Courtesy Photo
Bella Vistans entertained themselves and visitors in 2018 by painting rocks and leaving them for others to find. Now the Bella Vista Historical Museum has a puzzle available in its gift shop depicting some of the “Bella Vista rocks.”

Bella Vista

Bella Vista Historical Museum

The Bella Vista Historical Museum, operated by the Bella Vista Historical Society with an all-volunteer staff, features exhibits representing the past 103 years of Bella Vista history from the time Lake Bella Vista was created in 1915. The museum’s gift shop is the only place in Bella Vista offering a variety of Bella Vista souvenir items from postcards to jigsaw puzzles, the newest among them depicting the popular “Bella Vista rocks.”

WHEN — 1-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday

WHERE — 1885 Bella Vista Way, next door to the American Legion

COST — Free

INFO — 855-2335; bellavistamuseum.org

ALSO NEW — Hundreds of vintage salt and pepper shakers were donated to the gift shop in December to sell as a fundraiser for the museum.


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened to the public on 11-11-11 and was founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation as a nonprofit charitable organization for all to enjoy.

WHEN — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday & Sunday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; closed Tuesday

WHERE — 600 Museum Way

COST — Admission to the permanent collection is always free

INFO — 418-5700; crystalbridges.org

CURRENT EXHIBITS — “Men of Steel, Women of Wonder,” the first major exhibition to examine art world responses to Superman and Wonder Woman, just open; “In Conversation: Will Wilson and Edward Curtis,” through February; and “Personal Space,” through March.


Courtesy Photo
The Museum of Native American History knows kids love dolls, and these are from the Southern Plains and from the Lakota Sioux. Both are from the late 1800s and are made from leather, decorated with fringe and glass beads.

Museum of Native American History

The Museum of Native American History invites visitors to walk through America’s past. From the woolly mammoth skeleton that greets guests at the front door, to rare Mississippian head pots, to art and artifacts from the early reservation period, the museum’s authentic collection gives a glimpse into the richly diverse cultural history of the first Americans.

WHEN — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

WHERE — 202 S.W. O St.

COST — Free

INFO — 273-2456; monah.us


Peel Mansion Museum

The Peel Mansion Museum and Heritage Gardens preserve the Col. Samuel W. Peel House, constructed in 1875. The house remains a remarkably good example of the Italianate style of architecture, in spite of the later covering of the main body of the house with stucco. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 4, 1995.

WHEN — Museum tours & museum store, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; Bentonville History Day weekly on Wednesdays

WHERE — 400 S. Walton Blvd.

COST — Free

INFO — 254-3870; peelcompton.org


Walmart Museum

Located on the downtown square in Bentonville, the museum features Walton’s 5&10, a world-class exhibit gallery and The Spark Cafe Soda Fountain.

WHEN — 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday

WHERE — 105 N. Main St.

COST — Free

INFO — 273-1329; WmtMuseum@Walmart.com

BONUS — The Spark Cafe Soda Fountain serves Spark Cream, custom-made ice cream in Walmart colors of blue and yellow.


Scott Family Amazeum

The Scott Family Amazeum is a hands-on, interactive museum for children and families.

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday; closed Tuesdays and Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day

WHERE — 1009 Museum Way

COST — $9.50 all ages

INFO — 696-9280; amazeum.org

CURRENT EXHIBITS — “Magnificent Me,” through May 12.



Rogers Historical Museum

Completely revamped in its new space in the Hailey Ford Building at 313 S. Second St. in Rogers, the Rogers Historical Museum includes exhibits on the Van Winkle Mill; Coin Harvey’s Monte Ne; the creation of Beaver Lake; and especially for kids, a hands-on section.

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

WHERE — 313 & 322 S. Second St.

COST — Free

INFO — 621-1154


Daisy Airgun Museum

The Daisy Airgun Museum is a nonprofit corporation which preserves and promotes vintage products and artifacts of the historic Daisy company while serving as a national tourism destination for Daisy fans and collectors.

WHEN — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

WHERE — 202 W. Walnut St.

COST — $2 for ages 16 and older

INFO — 986-6873; daisymuseum.com



Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History is a regional history museum focusing on the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks. The museum takes its name from the pioneer community of Shiloh, which became Springdale in the 1870s.

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

WHERE — 118 W. Johnson Ave.

COST — Free

INFO — 750-8165 or shilohmuseum.org

CURRENT EXHIBITS — “Stand Up, Speak Out,” photos chronicling protests in Northwest Arkansas, through May 18; “Instruments of Faith: The Life and Work of Ed Stilley,” musical instruments made by an Ozark artisan in Hogscald Hollow, through 2019.



Arkansas Air & Military Museum

Follow the colorful history of aviation in Arkansas and American military conflicts through numerous displays of original artifacts and aviation memorabilia. The historic aircraft in the Arkansas Air & Military Museum are unusual among museum exhibits, because many of them still fly.

WHEN — 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday-Friday; 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE — 4290 S. School Ave.

COST — $5 ages 6-12; $9 seniors & military; $10 adults; family rate of $25

INFO — 521-4947; arkansasairandmilitary.com

BONUS — The vast, all-wood white hangar, which houses the museum, was headquarters for one of the United States’ many aviator training posts during World War II.


Clinton House Museum

The Clinton House Museum interprets the lives of President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton during the time they lived in Fayetteville.

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday; closed Wednesday

WHERE — 930 W. Clinton Drive

COST — Donations welcome

INFO — 444-0066 or clintonhousemuseum.org


Photograph of The Cornbread album courtesy of Mark Potter
“From Spiro to Liverpool and Back Again: Hepcats, Stingers, Cornbread and R.C. Gamble,” a new exhibit at the Fort Smith Museum of History, will feature a collection of memorabilia loaned by museum volunteer Mark Potter and by the Gamble Family. Bee Bumble and the Stingers were a Fort Smith based band, headed by R.C. Gamble, known for “taking classical songs and messing them up.” The exhibit includes an original hand painted poster, original 45 records, sheet music, a Beatles jacket from the 1964 U. S. Tour (courtesy of Chris Carter), costumes, recordings and a saxophone loaned by Gamble’s daughter, Adria Hanson, and much more. It will run through March 30.

Fort Smith

Fort Smith Museum of History

Established in 1910, the museum’s exhibits illustrate the contributions of Fort Smith’s citizens to the cultural, political, and economic development of the area. The museum is housed in the 1906 Atkinson-Williams Warehouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday & 1-5 p.m. Sunday

WHERE — 320 Rogers Ave.

COST — $2 children; $5 military; $7 adults

INFO — 783-7841; fortsmithmuseum.org

BONUS — Enjoy a treat in the old-fashioned soda fountain and experience a 1920s-1940s pharmacy.


Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum is a nonprofit organization charged with the responsibility of fostering art appreciation in the community through diverse exhibitions, educational programming, dynamic events, and cultural partnerships.

WHEN — 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day

WHERE — 1601 Rogers Ave.

COST — General admission is always free

INFO — 784-2787; fsram.org

CURRENT EXHIBITS — “Timothy J. Clark: Masterworks on Paper,” through March 31; “Bold Improvisation: Searching for African-American Quilts,” through May 5; and “The Touch Gallery,” an assortment of real art sculptures and a painting that are created with various materials like bronze, carved wood, marble, resin and acrylic paint that visitors, especially children, are encouraged to explore with their hands.


Please send additions to this list to bmartin@nwadg.com.

Categories: 'Tis the Season