Monday, September 24, 2007

Boone County Heritage Museum: Harrison, Arkansas

The Boone County Heritage Museum is located at the corner of Central Avenue and Cherry Street in Harrison Arkansas. It’s open from 10-4, Monday through Friday, March –November. Winter hours are Thursdays only from 10-4, December-February. Admission is $2.00 for ages twelve and over.

This museum is a must see when planning your Ozark vacation. There are three floors of exhibits. On the first floor you’ll find the Railroad Room. It houses hundreds of items, including a lantern collection, antique telegraph equipment, railroad maps, and antique model trains. Old Model Railroader and Railroad Modeler Magazines are for sale at .25¢ each.

The Boone County Heritage Museum also has an impressive collection of information about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Harrison is the place they originated from. There is an abundant amount of genealogical information for the area as well. If you are going with the intent of doing research you may want to call ahead of time. The collection is housed inside a meeting room and you’ll want to make sure it isn’t occupied. Call 870-741-3312 for information. They do have a copy machine available and copies are .15¢ each.

Copies of the Boone County Historian which contains genealogical and general information and Oak Leaves which reports historical Missouri and Arkansas Railroad information, are available in the gift shop for $3.00 each. You can search their table of contents online.

The Heritage Room has an outstanding clock collection, a hotel switchboard, Dogpatch memorabilia, and tons of other items, is located on the first floor as well. Get ready to see some unique items here. The Sons of the Confederates exhibit includes guns and bayonets, an inventory of Boone County Confederate gravesites, and much more.

The second floor contains an extensive collection of medical paraphernalia. There is a Civil War sawbones kit used for amputations, caskets, an operating table and hundreds more items. The Post Office insert from Zinc, Arkansas is in the Old House and Store Room along with many other unique period pieces. Check out the twine holder on the standup desk in the second floor hallway.
Everything about the history of Harrison schools is located in the School and Band room. Vintage uniforms for cheerleaders, band instruments, photo albums and much more. Don’t miss the parking meter display in the meeting room.

The third floor holds even more treasures. One thing I’d only ever seen on television. An antique permanent wave machine. Those ladies must have wanted curly hair really bad to be hooked up to one of those. There’s a portable embalming table and something else you probably haven’t seen in a while, a cigarette machine.

The War room displays uniforms, even a nurses Red Cross uniform. There’s a collection of personal photo albums and scrapbooks from veterans of WWII and the Vietnam War that were assemble by the students of Harrison schools. They include interviews, photos and copies of correspondence. It’s worth taking a little time to browse a few of these even if you’re not a researcher.

The Records room contains an exhaustive collection of photo albums, public records, scrapbooks, and family bibles. It would take weeks to go through it all.

Keep in mind, this is a three story building. There is no elevator. The bathrooms are on the bottom floor. No food or drinks allowed. This is probably not a place for very small children. These items are not behind velvet ropes and very few of them are behind glass. Many things are priceless. While they do not have an age limit, I’d suggest well behaved children of at least school age would benefit the most from a visit here.

You should allow a couple of hours to tour this incredible facility. Planning on doing research? Maybe you should make a day of it. There are a couple of good cafes on the square which is within walking distance when you get ready for a break. If you have any questions their staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The collection is constantly growing so don’t plan on visiting the Boone County Heritage Museum just once.

Have a great trip!

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