New Kid On The Block: Prairie Grove Heritage Museum opens, seeks artifacts

New Kid On The Block: Prairie Grove Heritage Museum opens, seeks artifacts
Special to TFW

The excitement of youthful exuberance and the newness of a recently established history museum are flourishing these days along the main street of Prairie Grove.

Mollie Hutchins of Prairie Grove is the volunteer manager for the new Prairie Grove Heritage Museum on Buchanan Street. She has been interested in history since she was 9 years old. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Lynn Kutter)

“We opened April 17th,” Molly Hutchins, the 19-year-old museum manager, says in a recent interview. “And we have already had people calling about including some of their artifacts or giving the items to us to display in the museum collection.”

Hutchins, a part-time library assistant at Prairie Grove Public Library and college student at nearby Ecclesia College in Elm Springs, graduated from her homeschool studies a year ago.

She has been an enthusiastic and faithful worker for the Prairie Grove Historical Society since its inception two years ago. She is also a tireless volunteer for the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale and the Washington County Historical Society in Fayetteville.

This scale from Dr. Bagget’s medical office in Prairie Grove can be seen at the new Prairie Grove Heritage Museum on Buchanan Street. (Courtesy Photo/Maylon Rice)

A two-bedroom, white frame home at 311 E. Buchanan St. is the home of the new history museum. The house, which once contained a resale shop, stands next door to Harps. The building, owned by the city, was used most recently as a used bookstore for Friends of the Prairie Grove Library.

While the home stood vacant for the last year to 18 months, the transition into a new museum, “The Prairie Grove Heritage Museum,” was quickly put together. The transformed vacant farmhouse now offers a fast-growing collection of photos, old newspapers and other items to view – all items uniquely local to the Prairie Grove area.

“We (the Prairie Grove Historical Society) moved quickly after getting this building for our use,” Hutchins says. “We are excited to take in many photos and other display items of history inside the building and hear of each piece’s relevance to Prairie Grove and Northwest Arkansas history.”

Items also have been offered that won’t fit, physically, into the building, Hutchins says.

“Maybe, later on, we can see about such display items that we can’t get through the front door.”

The new Prairie Grove Heritage Museum at 311 E. Buchanan St. is open from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Lynn Kutter)

Already, the initial collection of photographs, newspapers and framed items such as a paper kite from the “Leaders of Tomorrow” promotion/contest from almost 40 years ago graces the walls of the museum.

There is a display of a local Masonic ceremonial sword and other Masonic memorabilia and some old zippered bank deposit bags from the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Prairie Grove and Farmington, a forerunner of one of the major banks in Washington County. Also in the bank display case is a canceled business check from Prairie Grove Motor Company, Ford Dealer, dated March 1, 1947, to a customer for $10.26. There are more than two dozen framed black and white images from a bevy of decades in and around Prairie Grove – most are identified.

These old bank bags from the former Farmers & Merchants Bank, once located in downtown Prairie Grove, can be seen at Prairie Grove Heritage Museum. Farmers & Merchants Bank was purchased by Arvest Bank in 1992. (Courtesy Photo/Maylon Rice)

Hutchins also serves as vice president of Prairie Grove Historical Society, a group which began two short years ago with an ambitious goal of helping collect and preserve the items in the Prairie Grove area. Hutchins is quick to point out this is not a duplication of the Prairie Grove Battlefield Museum, found in Hindman Hall, but hopefully a growing collection of items from the city of Prairie Grove and surrounding area. Hutchins says the best way to make donations is to email the museum describing the items one may wish to donate. The address is The museum does not pay for items, buy items or guarantee any items loaned against theft or loss, Hutchins says.

Other officers of the Prairie Grove Historical Association are president and treasurer, Michael Dillingham; secretary, Kerrie Logsdon; Hutchins and board members Rick Ault, Marsha Phillipak-Chambers, Marvin Rice and Libby Dillingham.

Dues for membership are $25 a year, per calendar year. Other levels of membership are $40 per calendar year per family; $100 per year as a corporate sponsor; or an individual lifetime membership for $250.

Prairie Grove Heritage Museum includes these copies of the former Prairie Grove Enterprise newspaper. This is the issue that was published when the city water tower crashed. (Courtesy Photo/Maylon Rice)


Prairie Grove Heritage Museum

WHEN — 9 a.m.-noon every Saturday

WHERE — 311 E. Buchanan St. in Prairie Grove

COST — Free, but donations are welcome

INFO — Email

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