Dog with Camera
Dog with camera, 1902. Johnie Bassett Collection

About the Photo Collection

Caring for Your Photos
Conducting Research
Photo and Document Reproduction Fees
Gift Information for Photograph Lenders

Photo of the Month
Photo of the Month Archive

In 1978, the Shiloh Museum's photographs collection consisted of a single box of assorted pictures. Today it is a massive collection of over 500,000 images documenting life in Northwest Arkansas. It is the largest public image archive in Arkansas.

Longtime museum assistant director Mary Dudley Parsons was responsible for developing the collection, and in 1993 the museum board of trustees honored her for her accomplishments by naming the collection after her. The collection represents the six counties of Northwest Arkansas—Benton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton, and Washington—with images dating from the area's early years up to the present day.

Along with hundreds of photos of specific people and places, the collection includes subjects such as

Agriculture Health Public Buildings
Barns and Outbuildings Medicine Residences
Businesses Military Rodeo of the Ozarks
Celebrations and Parades Mills Schools
Churches Natural Resources Sports
Communication Organizations Towns
Construction Parks Transportation
Disaster Poultry Industry  

There are several large photograph collections of note, including

  • The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas (formerly The Springdale News) Collection. Events and people collected by the daily newspaper as it covered local news, ca.1950-1996.
  • Northwest Arkansas Times Collection. Events and people collected by a daily newspaper as it covered local and regional news, ca. 1950-1996
  • Washington County Historical Society's Dollie Sitton Bentley Collection. Mostly Washington County people, places, and events, circa 1870-1970
  • Otto Bennett Collection. Madison County life, circa 1930-1970
  • Howard Clark Collection. Springdale people, events, and businesses, 1944-1964
  • Jay Dee Studio Collection. Madison County people and events, 1976-1989
  • Madison County Genealogical and Historical Society Collection. People, places, and events in Madison County, circa 1870-1970
  • Wayne Martin Collection. People and places in and around Pettigrew (Madison County), 1920s-1930s
  • Marion Mason Collection. People and places in and around Johnson (Washington County), 1900s-1910s
  • Ada Lee Shook Collection. Fayetteville people, construction projects, events, family and neighborhood life, circa 1920-1955
  • Mary Vaughan Image One Studio Collection. Portraits primarily of Springdale people, 1970-1997
  • Ray M. Watson Collection. Springdale (and surrounding areas) people, events, and businesses, 1957-1980

A few of the museum’s many images can be found on this website via Photo of the Month, Photo of the Month Archive, and Online Exhibits. These pages will be enhanced and expanded over time, so please check back! In addition, over 200 of our photos can be found at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

We have limited funds for purchasing objects. The majority of its photo collection has either been either generously donated outright or loaned to the museum for copying. With a loan, museum staff make and retain a negative and file print for each of the lender’s photos before returning the originals.

Although loans are very much appreciated, donations of photos and negatives are preferred because they allow the museum to preserve and share the original image in a safe and accessible way. A copy of a loaned photo will never be as clear and informative as the original image.

Persons who loan photos to the museum are asked to sign a “Photo Loan Receipt & Reproduction Permission” form which outlines gift information for photo lenders. Signing this form allows us to make the images available to current and future researchers.

To learn more about the our collecting areas or how to go about donating or lending historic images, contact photo archivist/research librarian Marie Demeroukas.

Photo of the MonthArtifact of the Month