Over 550,000 objects make up the museum collections. These items cover the prehistory and history of Northwest Arkansas, including Benton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton, and Washington counties. Three-dimensional objects include Native American artifacts. The collection includes textiles, costumes, and accessories; tools and equipment. It also displays product packages and advertising media; household and recreational items; and original art. Archival materials include books, maps, documents, and scrapbooks. Photographic images cover topics such as people, events, agriculture, industry, buildings, and railroads. Altogether these items tell the story the regional history of the area.
Over 550,000 objects make up the museum collections, covering the prehistory and history of Northwest Arkansas, including Benton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton, and Washington counties. Three-dimensional objects include Native American artifacts; textiles, costumes, and accessories; tools and equipment; product packages and advertising media; household and recreational items; and original art. Archival materials include books, maps, documents, and scrapbooks. Photographic images cover topics such as area people, events, agriculture, industry, buildings, and railroads.
Seven historic buildings are part of the museum’s collections: Ritter-McDonald Log Cabin (1850s), Shiloh Meeting Hall (1871), Searcy House (1870s), Steele General Store (1870s), Dr. Carter’s Office (1880s), Cooper Barn (1930s), and Cartmell Outhouse (1930s). The Searcy House and Shiloh Meeting Hall sit on their original sites. The other buildings were moved from nearby locations. The research collection consists of 45 file drawers of clippings, pamphlets, and papers, as well as books, letters, newspapers, directories, maps, and ephemera. The museum also has archival records documenting family histories, businesses, organizations, and politics. Furthermore, our collection contains an oral history collection of more than 150 recorded interviews. Contact our collections manager, Carolyn Reno, for more information.
Berry-Braun Family Collection
Items from the family of Millard Berry (Washington County judge, 1901–1904). The collection includes clothing, jewelry, letters, artwork, photographs, and a trumpet; 1850s–1900s.
William H. Chenault Collection
Farm and family items from the Burkett and Elzey families of Marble, (Madison County). The collection includes clothing, quilts, farm bell, and family papers; 1880s–1940s.
Orville and Susan Hall Jr. Collection
Toys and games from the 1930s–1940s. This collection includes hand-painted china, clothing, and household items from the Hall family of Fayetteville.
Lucy Cartmell Leming Collection
This collection contains household objects, handmade tools, paper items, and an outhouse from the Cartmell family. The Cartmell’s farm was moved to the museum campus from its original location near Brentwood (Washington County); 1920s–1950s.
Mooney-Barker Drugstore Collection
Retail items and business, community, and family papers from a drugstore in Pettigrew (Madison County). Pettigrew became a timber boom-town in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Morris Family Collection
Family, farm, and school papers and World War I items from the Emmett and Emma Morris family who lived in Elkins and Lincoln (Washington County).
Searcy Family Collection
Items from the Searcy family, a prominent Springdale family. The collection includes 1800s almanacs, domestic objects, textiles, tools, and family records. The Searcy House is on the museum campus.
Photography equipment including early studio cameras and darkroom equipment, almost every Kodak camera, lantern-slide projectors, movie cameras, and digital cameras.