Frequently Asked Questions

Read on to learn about some of our most frequently asked questions, including more about the museum’s history. 

How did the Shiloh Museum get its name?

This is possibly our most frequently asked question. In 1840, a small settlement was established around a log church known as the Shiloh Regular Baptist Church. The community became known as “Shiloh,” although Civil War records refer to the fledgling settlement as “Holcomb’s Spring,” after the pioneering John and Dorothea Holcomb family. By 1872, Shiloh had grown big enough to need a post office. However, Arkansas already had a town named Shiloh. Due to the abundant local springs, “Springs in the Dale” was suggested by Shiloh resident Sarah Reed Meek. The town was incorporated officially as Springdale in 1878.

How did the Shiloh Museum come about?

In 1965 the City of Springdale purchased a collection of more than 10,000 Native American artifacts from Judge Guy W. Howard, a retired municipal judge. A museum committee was established in 1967, and by 1968 they had converted the old city library into the Shiloh Museum. The name honors the original name for the city of Springdale. 

What is the museum's purpose?
The Shiloh Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Northwest Arkansas. In addition to preserving artifacts, the museum provides programs, exhibits, research materials, and other information on the six counties of Northwest Arkansas: Benton, Boone, Carroll, Newton, Madison, and Washington.  Our mission statement:

The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History serves the public by preserving and providing resources for finding meaning, enjoyment, and inspiration in the exploration of the Arkansas Ozarks. Adopted by the Shiloh Museum Board of Trustees on February 11, 2016.

Who supports the museum?

The City of Springdale is the museum’s main source of operating support. It also receives financial assistance through donations, grants, memberships, and fundraising projects. The museum membership currently numbers more than 600.

How was the current building built?

In the early 1980s the Shiloh Museum had grown so much that it no longer fit comfortably into the space that was available. The Board of Trustees realized that a new building was essential and set this as a goal. The board acquired the necessary land, hired an architect to design a plan for the site, and spent around five years raising the necessary money. The construction of the new museum began in 1990 and it opened on September 15, 1991. The building cost $1.1 million. The money was raised by the Board of Trustees, and $350,000 was contributed by the City of Springdale. The building was totally paid for before construction began in May 1990. New roofs and insulation were added to the museum building in 2008.

How large is the museum?

The museum building has about 22,000 square feet of space, much of it devoted to the care and storage of its large collections. About a quarter of the space is devoted to exhibits. Six historic buildings on the campus include more than 4,500 square feet of additional space. The museum collections total more than 100,000 artifacts and the research library’s historic photo collections, the largest in the state, total well over half a million images.

Who can I talk to regarding donating items to the museum?

Our collections manager, Carolyn Reno, is in charge of caring for and adding to our collection. Along with historic artifacts for our museum collection, we also appreciate donations of “for-use” items.

Can I bring food and drink into the museum?

Food, drinks, and candy are not allowed in the exhibit hall. Food may be allowed in the meeting room, the Steele General Store, and the Shiloh Meeting Hall during special events. There are picnic tables on the grounds available for use. Also, no smoking is allowed in any of the museum buildings.

Is there a charge to see the museum?

There is no admission charge, but donations are gratefully accepted!