There are museums in Arkansas on just about every topic!
Do you want to learn more about how Walmart got started? Arkansas has a museum for that!
Do you want to experience some of the most amazing American art in the entire nation? Arkansas has a museum for that!
Do you want to see local artists creating the old-time crafts, folk art, and music of the Ozark Mountains? Yep, you guessed it. There’s an Arkansas museum for that!
For history buffs, or art lovers, or something to do on a rainy day…here are 39 of the many and varied museums in Arkansas.
Amazing and Interesting Museums in Arkansas
This list of museums in Arkansas is in alphabetical order. The city location is listed beside the museum name.
Arkansas Air and Military Museum (Fayetteville)
The Arkansas Air and Military Museum covers the colorful history of aviation in Arkansas through various displays. You will find original artifacts and memorabilia. When you visit you can even climb inside a few of the aircraft.
The large wooden hanger is even part of the history as it was once a training post for WWII aviators.
Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum (North Little Rock)
An inland naval museum? Yes! The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is located on the Arkansas River in North Little Rock.
Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts (Little Rock)
Once called the Arkansas Arts Center the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts is opening in a brand new modern and gorgeous building on April 23, 2023.
The permanent collection has over 14,000 works spanning 7 centuries. There are also various rotating exhibitions as well as a number of interesting classes.
Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources (Smackover)
The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources is a state park that explores the history of the 1920’s Arkansas oil boom.
It is such a fun museum where you can see a reproduction of a boom town, old oil equipment, vintage trucks, old gas pumps, and exhibits all about this era in the state of Arkansas.
Arkansas Railroad Museum (Pine Bluff)
The Arkansas Railroad Museum features many historic trains and railroad memorabilia, including a restored steam locomotive.
It is situated in the old and vast Cotton Belt Route machine shop and is one of the must see museums in Arkansas for anyone who loves trains and train history.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville)
When Crystal Bridges was built it immediately became one of the premiere art museums not only in Arkansas but also in the United States.
Crystal Bridges features American art throughout the centuries and the structure itself is a work of art. It is free to enter the main part of the museum. You only have to pay for the rotating special exhibits.
You will also want to explore the gorgeous grounds and gardens.
Daisy Airgun Museum (Rogers)
Did you know that the Daisy Airguns were made in Arkansas?
The Daisy Airgun Museum will give you the history of this iconic item. Stop in and learn how Daisy became, well, Daisy. Oh, and you can also take your picture with the World’s Largest Daisy BB Gun!
Delta Cultural Center (Helena-West Helena)
The Delta Cultural Center explores the heritage of the people of the Arkansas Delta. This is a fascinating region with its own rich history.
You will learn more about the unique music, food, and culture of this area through award-winning interactive exhibits, beautifully restored historic buildings, and interpretive outdoor sites. This is one of the most interesting and cultural museums in Arkansas.
Esse Purse Museum (Little Rock)
The Esse Purse Museum features a collection of purses and their contents through the decades. This isn’t just a museum about purses but about the history of the women who carried those handbags through the generations.
Eureka Springs Historical Museum (Eureka Springs)
The Eureka Springs Historical Museum gives you the history of this town “where misfits fit.”
From the original indigenous people who first discovered the healing springs, to the Victorians who transformed it into a renowned resort, to the counter cultural movement, this is where you can learn all about this quirky and amazing town.
Fort Smith Museum of History (Fort Smith)
This Fort Smith Museum chronicles the history of Fort Smith and the surrounding area, including exhibits on the U.S. Marshals and the Indian Territory.
One special aspect of this museum is the working 1920s-1940s era old-fashioned soda fountain. It is like stepping back into the past while you enjoy a handmade ice cream sundae or a root beer float.
The Gangster Museum of America (Hot Springs)
The Ouachita mountain town of Hot Springs was a favorite haunt of gangsters during the prohibition era. In fact, the oldest bar in the state, the Ohio Club, kept operating behind the scenes in large part due to the gangsters in collusion with local law enforcement.
This Gangster Museum of America, located right on the Hot Springs main street, explores the history of some of the most notorious criminals in America who co-existed for years with the common people of this little town.
Hampson Archeological Museum State Park (Wilson)
This museum contains artifacts from the early mound building inhabitants of this Mississippi Delta region. They were called the Nodena People and we know that they farmed as well as traded with other cultures.
Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum (Piggott)
I know that it sometimes seems as if Ernest Hemingway spent time everywhere in the world. However, one of his many haunts was Arkansas. His second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, was from northeast Arkansas where her parents, Paul and Mary Pfeiffer, were prominent citizens and owned more than 60,000 acres of land.
Her parents converted a barn into a writing studio for Hemingway to use when he and Pauline were visiting. Several short stories as well as parts of his novel, “A Farewell to Arms” were written there.
Now the house and barn and gardens comprise the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum!
Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock)
The Historic Arkansas Museum covers an entire city block and features a variety of historic buildings including the oldest building in Little Rock which is a farmstead from the 1850’s. Among other buildings you will see a print shop, a grog shop, and other homes.
This museum is also the primary collector of items representing frontier Arkansas. You can see exhibits that include many of these early treasures.
Historic Dyess Colony / Johnny Cash Boyhood Home (Dyess)
One of my favorite museums in Arkansas is the Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash.
The home is located in the town of Dyess which is in some ways a museum itself. This town was one of the “colonies” to which impoverished people, including the Cash family, were relocated during the dust bowl and depression era.
Japanese American Internment Museum (McGehee)
During WWII Japanese Americans were forced to relocate to detention camps. This began in 1942 and two of the camps were in Arkansas. More than 16,000 displaced people were housed here.
The Japanese American Internment Museum will help you to understand what happened during this time in both American and Arkansas History. Very little is left of the actual camps themselves although you can see where they were located.
Ka Do Ha Indian Village (Murfreesboro)
This ancient archeological site is unique because it has the only open mounds in the US. At the Ka Do Ha Indian Village Museum you can see ancient native American artifacts such as pottery and stone tools.
Best of all you can search the field for arrowheads and crystals and actually keep what you find!
Lakeport Plantation (Lake Village)
The Lakeport Plantation is one of the premiere historic structures in Arkansas. It was built in 1859 and because it managed to escape remodeling during the 20th century it retains many of the original architectural features.
The plantation’s stories of slavery, sharecropping, and the family who lived there are told through guided tours and exhibits.
Little Rock Central High School Historic Site (Little Rock)
A visit to the capitol city of Little Rock would not be complete without a tour of Little Rock Central High School. This school represents some of the worst history of the city of Little Rock, but it is always important to understand and learn from our past.
You will need to make a reservation to take a tour to learn about the sacrifice and struggle of the Little Rock Nine and others during this time in US and Arkansas history.
MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History (Little Rock)
The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History explores the state’s military heritage from the territorial period to the present. Here you will find all kinds of photographs and artifacts such as weapons, documents, uniforms and much more.
The museum is named after one of the most famous Arkansans, General Douglas MacArthur, who was actually born in the building that now houses the museum which was once military barracks.
Mark Martin Museum (Batesville)
You can learn all about his career at the Mark Martin Museum. Here you will see 8 of his race cars as well as his many personal racing items and trophies.
Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs)
This Mid America Science Museum is a children’s science museum with over 100 fun and educational hands on exhibits both inside the expansive building and out on the grounds.
Kids and adults can learn about space, physics, and chemistry, renewable energy, environmental sustainability and so much more.
The Momentary (Bentonville)
The Momentary is a satellite of Crystal Bridges. It is a venue for both visual and performing arts.
Located in a decommissioned cheese factory with a focuse on contemporary art, this is a unique place to experience various exhibitions and art projects, have a bite to eat, and even listen to some music.
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (Little Rock)
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center preserves, interprets and celebrates African American history and culture in Arkansas through both traveling and permanent exhibits.
One of the permanent exhibits is a children’s gallery for ages 0-9 that encourages children to celebrate how we are “Same. Different. Amazing.”
Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie (Stuttgart)
Do you want to learn more about the prairie pioneers in the state of Arkansas?
The Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie is the place to go. This museum has over 10,000 artifacts from the people who tamed, farmed, and lived on the prairies of Eastern Arkansas from the 1800’s to the 1920’s.
Museum of Discovery (Little Rock)
This Museum of Discovery has been ranked as the 6th best science museum in the US. It is geared toward children and offers more than 90 hands on exhibits about various aspects of science, technology, math, engineering and more.
My favorite part of the museum is the tornado house simulator.
Museum of Native American History (Bentonville)
This Museum of Native American History offers a 24,000 year journey through the history and culture of the Native American peoples in Arkansas through exhibits and over 10,000 of the finest Native American artifacts.
The museum was founded by David Bogle who is a registered member of the Cherokee Nation and was raised in the town of Bentonville.
Old State House Museum (Little Rock)
The Old State House was the original state capitol building of Arkansas. It is also the oldest standing state capitol building west of the Mississippi River.
It now serves as a museum with both permanent and traveling exhibits. My favorite is the permanent collection called, “First Ladies of Arkansas: Women of Their Times.” This exhibition includes many gowns originally worn by the first ladies’ of Arkansas.
Ozark Folk Center State Park (Mountain View)
The Ozark Folk Center is a state park that is a must see for anyone visiting the Ozark Mountains. The folk center is a living museum that showcases the folk art, music, and culture of the Ozarks.
You can listen to mountain music, watch a blacksmith use traditional methods, see pottery being thrown, candles being made, quilts being pieced, and so much more.
Peel Museum and Botanical Garden (Bentonville)
You will learn about the Peel family and even see many of their original furnishings and personal items. There is even a bit of a ghost story associated with the family.
Plantation Agriculture Museum (Scott)
The Plantation Agriculture Museum preserves and explains the farming history of Arkansas. There are several buildings that make up the museum including a general store and a seed warehouse.
This is a very interactive museum where you can explore where and how crops were grown and harvested in Arkansas from the time of statehood in 1836 through World War II.
Rogers Historical Museum (Rogers)
The Rogers Historical Museum has five permanent galleries where you can learn about the history of Northwest Arkansas from the pioneers to the present. It is a fun and interesting museum for both kids and adults.
Scott Family Amazeum (Bentonville)
Looking for a place where fun, arts, and science combine? Check out the Scott Family Amazeum. Bring your child and your child-like curiosity to this 50,000 square foot building which is chock full of hands-on activities to inspire creativity and discovery.
Shiloh Museum of Ozark History (Springdale)
If you want to know more about the ordinary people who shaped life in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History is the place.
This museum features exhibits on the history and culture of the Ozarks including pioneer life, farming, and music. There are also 6 historic buildings on the property to explore.
Southern Tenant Farmer’s Museum (Tyronza)
The Southern Tenant Farmer’s Museum will help the visitor to understand the struggles of tenant farming and sharecropping.
The museum is found in a historic building which in 1935 served as the first headquarters of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. This was a rare interracial agricultural union that fought for the rights and security of all sharecroppers and tenant farmers.
Sultana Disaster Museum (Marion)
Most people have never even heard of the Sultana, yet it was the greatest maritime disaster in the history of the US.
On April 27, 1865, the steamboat Sultana exploded into a fiery blaze on the Mississippi River, eventually drifting and sinking near the Arkansas banks. The Sultana Disaster Museum tells the stories of the disaster and the people who experienced it
The Walmart Museum (Bentonville)
Sam Walton, one of the richest people in the world and one of the most famous people in Arkansas began his business, Walmart, in the town of Bentonville.
The Walmart Museum tells the story of Sam Walton and how he grew Walmart from a little five and dime in small town Arkansas to the giant business it is today.
Note: This museum is currently in temporary housing while the original Walmart is being restored.
William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum (Little Rock)
The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum houses exhibits that cover the presidency of Bill Clinton, including the history of his administration, the White House, and the policy issues he faced.
My favorite part of the museum is an exact replica of the oval office in Washington. It is much smaller than I had imagined.
I hope that you have enjoyed this extensive list of some of the museums in Arkansas. Let me know if there is one that I’ve missed.
Thanks for stopping by!