Uh oh...

It appears that you're using a severely outdated version of Safari on Windows. Many features won't work correctly, and functionality can't be guaranteed. Please try viewing this website in Edge, Mozilla, Chrome, or another modern browser. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused!

Read More about this safari issue.
Northwest Bentonville Fayetteville Fort Smith Lincoln Rogers Springdale Van Buren
Northwest Travel 0

Museum Experiences in Northwest Arkansas


While Northwest Arkansas is known for world-class bike trails, great coffee, outdoor adventures and fine dining, nearly 50 museums draw visitors annually.

After staying local for spring break and seeing the variety of activities to do in Northwest Arkansas with children, I realized I am a nerdy mom. There, I said it. We love to visit museums in our backyard and explore and revisit them often.

Did you know:

…Bella Vista once had an underground nightclub?

…a Bentonville doctor was certified to practice medicine on the Choctaw reservation?

…Walmart Store #100, across from the original home office, sits atop a former apple orchard?

…Arkansas was once called the “Land of the Big Red Apple,” producing more apples than anywhere in the country.

…the Buffalo River preserved by the efforts of an OBGyn from Bentonville?

…the bones of the official dinosaur of Arkansas are stored in Fayetteville?

…many farmers in the 1920s had an egg incubator in their kitchen?

…a factory in downtown Rogers used to produce 250,000 sets of hosiery annually?

…the world’s largest can of spinach sits in Alma?

…a turning point in the Civil War happened on Dickson Street?

Image provided by Shiloh Museum of Ozark History.

Uniquely Northwest Arkansas Museums

Shiloh Museum of Ozark History | Springdale

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


  • FREE Admission
  • A comprehensive collection of artifacts representing the history of the entire Ozark region – provides a place for children to learn about history with visual artifacts telling the story of Native Americans, early settlers, the Industrial Revolution, and the resurgence of historic preservation
  • Exhibits change often, so there are many reasons to come back
  • Walk the grounds and see changing foliage and native plants
  • Early settler cabin
  • Online exhibits
  • On-site research library for genealogy and Ozark History

My kid’s favorite thing: learning about pioneer life, playing dress up, and using homestead tools and the early days of the poultry business that started in Springdale.

Arkansas Country (Rural) Doctor Museum | Lincoln

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Socials


  • Seeing medical equipment from different genres
  • An iron lung
  • Early optometry tools – like lenses and glass contacts
  • Surgical tools used on nearby Civil War battlefields
  • Neal Compton gynecological office equipment collection
  • Exploring a medicinal garden
  • Funeral carriage and Studebaker buggy

My family’s favorite thing: looking at the early glasses and optometry testing tools and seeing an iron lunch up close.

Daisy Airgun Museum | Rogers

Website | Facebook | Instagram


  • Antique gun collection
  • Red Ryder memorabilia, made exclusively for Daisy
  • A Christmas Story memorabilia, including the leg lamp!
  • Exploring downtown Rogers historic district
  • You can buy a Red Ryder BB gun!

My dad’s favorite thing: reliving memories from his childhood and viewing the gun collection, which dates back to the 1600s.

Clinton House Museum | Fayetteville

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


  • Preserved 1930s Tudor style home
  • Site of the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton
  • The center of Arkansas politics in the 1970s
  • First Ladies Flower Garden
  • Replica of Hilary Clinton’s wedding dress she wore in the living room ceremony
  • Memorabilia from Bill Clinton’s Arkansas campaigns and career

My favorite thing: by visiting in spring, I enjoyed sitting in the garden and seeing all the first ladies’ favorite flowers blooming. It’s a beautiful, serene space.

Drennon – Scott House | Van Buren

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


  • FREE Admission
  • Antebellum home continually owned by the same family until 2005, therefore furnished with original artifacts dating back to the first owners
  • Working laboratory for UAFS students
  • An original 1840s key opens the front door.
  • Memorabilia from the Arkansas exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair
  • 1740s grandfather clock
  • 1860 Steinway piano
  • Butterfly Garden and heirloom flowering garden for pollinators

My favorite thing: while I was mesmerized to see original family furniture and china service in the only home it had ever known, a quiet fall afternoon walking around the blooming garden and watching birds was eye-opening as I discovered new flowers I’d never seen.

University of Arkansas Museum | Fayetteville

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


  • Outside of special exhibit days, tours are by appointment only
  • Over 7 million objects that explore geology, zoology, ethnography and archeology
  • Houses the bones of the state’s official dinosaur, Arkansaurus Fridayi
  • Connected to the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
  • 1934 meteorite that fell near Fayetteville
  • University’s first computer
  • Online exhibits

Niche Museums in Northwest Arkansas

U.S. Marshall’s Museum | Fort Smith

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


  • National representative museum
  • Full historical context of US Marshals
  • Artifacts from historic moments in modern history
  • Lighthorse statue
  • Interactive Marshal Scenario experience
  • Decision Room Learning Center
  • Fireside chat with Marshals from different decades

My favorite thing: the view of the river from the museum’s lobby and connecting the historical context of Arkansas on a national level.

Museum of Native American History (MONAH) | Bentonville

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Socials


  • FREE Admission
  • Self-guided tour audio wands help narrate the experience
  • Over 10,000 Native American artifacts
  • Mammoth bones fossil statue
  • Caddo Indian pottery
  • Buckskin painted map
  • Headdresses and ceremonial clothing

My kid’s favorite thing: digging in the arrowhead pit

Arkansas Air and Military Museum | Drake Field, Fayetteville

Website | Facebook | Instagram


  • Self-guided, three buildings of memorabilia
  • History of Arkansas Aviation and Ozark military roots
  • 1944 hangar built by the govt to support WWII and the U.S. Air Force
  • Vietnam helicopter
  • Naval carrier
  • Gold era jet
  • Military vehicles
  • Accessible military aircrafts

The Walmart Museum | Bentonville

Website | Facebook | Instagram


  • Currently, in a temporary location in the Ledger, they are testing new exhibits in a heritage lab setting
  • Mr. Sam Hologram – where audience members can interact with the Walmart founder in a digital experience
  • “Strange returns” exhibits feature weird customer stories
  • Mr. Sams’s Presidential Medal of Honor
  • The original door of Mr. Sam’s Ben Franklin store
  • History of the founding and growth of Walmart
  • Mr. Sam’s office, as it was the day he left
  • Mr. Sam’s red and white truck
  • Virtually tour the museums’ collections
  • Spark Cafe, currently a mobile truck on the Bentonville square

My kid’s favorite thing: always the blue and yellow ice cream at the Spark Cafe and looking into Mr. Sam’s old office.

Other unique museums to explore:

Regional History Museums

  • Lowell Historical Museum | Lowell | When the museum is not open, plaques around the railroad, downtown area, and First Baptist Church help visitors learn more.
  • Historic Cane Hill Museum | Cane Hill | Highlights: early pioneer life, Cane Hill College story original post office and mail deck, Trail of Tears connections, and the 1945 Shaker Yates Grocery Store
  • Rogers Historical Museum and Hawkins House | Online Exhibits | Rogers | Highlights: children play area, Van Wiinkle Mill artifacts, Frisco Train stagecoach, sports memorabilia, and Monte Ne Inn resort town story and a look at the Beaver Dam
  • Siloam Springs Museum | Siloam Springs | Highlights: Sager family original furniture, the first La-z-boy chair made, railroad industry memorabilia, canny companies processes, and Native American artist Troy Anderson’s collection of sculptures
  • Tontitown Museum | Tontitown | Highlights: located in the home of two original town founders, many artifacts belonged to the Italian families who settled in the area, like wine presses and bottling machines and elements from the Catholic Church, a center for the community.
  • Headquarters House | Fayetteville | Highlights: Colonel Tebbets’s home is near the intersection of Dickson Street and Hwy 71, where a significant Civil War skirmish changed the pattern of the Civil War in the region. The museum serves as a preservation space for the house that served as the headquarters of both the Union and Confederate troops. A bullet still lodged in the wall of the home demonstrates the historical significance of the property.
  • Eureka Springs Historical Museum | Eureka Springs | Highlights:  Resorted 1889 Calif House shares the quirky, haunted, and storied past of Eureka Springs and the healing waters that first dew people here.
  • Fort Smith Museum of History | Fort Smith | Highlights: The oldest museum in the state tells the story of radio stations, industrial roots, military history, and Judge Parker’s famous courtroom.

Many Smaller Towns in Northwest Arkansas also host incredible museums that help us understand more about each town’s founding, what sets it apart, and how it has grown and changed over the years.

Don’t-Miss Obvious Museums in Northwest Arkansas

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and The Momentary | Bentonville

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Spotify


  • Largest collection of American art anywhere in the world
  • Grand hall and open architecture
  • Art trails
  • Frankl Lloyd Wright House
  • Eleven restaurant & Onyx coffee bar

Scott Family Amazeum | Bentonville

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | TikTok


  • Kids-only fun!
  • Hands-on, experiential learning
  • Rotating STEM exhibits make a pass worthwhile
  • Hersey chocolate lab
  • Volunteers and staff around to help answer questions and maximize experience.

Huckabee River Valley Nature Center | Fort Smith

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


  • All the animals on site to view and interact with
  • Indoor educational fishing experience
  • Birdwatching window
  • Wells Lake walking trail and onsite fishing
  • Critter dinner, watch feeding experiences
  • Interactive classroom for learning

Hunt Ozark Highlands Nature Center | Springdale

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


  • Reptiles and fish
  • Kid-led scavenger hunt helps with exploring
  • Free play learning classroom for children
  • Paved walking trail
  • Outdoor climbing center
  • Archery range and practice facilities

Well, that’s a load of possibilities. What three museums are on your list to visit first?

Meet the

Learn more about .

A little about .

Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in Northwest Arkansas with her chicken man and break-dancing son. Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, small business trainer, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now, she is using those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop, which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom! Keisha loves to feed birds, read the stack on her nightstand, do dollar store crafts, cook recipes from her Pinterest boards, and chase everyday adventures on her Arkansas bucket list.

Read more stories by Keisha Pittman McKinney


Visit Keisha Pittman McKinney’s Website

Like this story? Read more from Keisha Pittman McKinney


Join the Conversation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Submit a photo

We select one featured photo per week, but we show many more in our gallery. Be sure to fill out all the fields in order to have yours selected.

  • Accepted file types: jpg, png, Max. file size: 5 MB.

Regions Topics

What are you looking for?

Explore Arkansas

Central Arkansas

Little Rock, Conway, Searcy, Benton, Heber Springs

Northwest Arkansas

Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale, Fort Smith

South Arkansas

Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, Arkadelphia

Explore by Topic