Museums for History, Science and Culture
Discover a Wealth of Knowledge throughout the Land of Legends
Eight enormous drive wheels propelled the storied Engine 819, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and housed at the Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff.
ARKANSAS ENTERTAINERS HALL OF FAME
This venue showcases the careers of The Natural State’s sons and daughters who have made their marks on the entertainment world.
Collections include everything from the works of best-selling author John Grisham to musical instruments owned by the likes of Levon Helm, Jimmy Driftwood and Art Porter, Jr. You’ll be dazzled by the costumes of famous Arkansans such as Jim Ed Brown, Charlie Rich, Collin Raye, Tracy Lawrence and others. Movie and TV fans will be fascinated by memorabilia from Jerry Van Dyke’s work in “Coach,” Harry Thomason’s “Designing Women,” and “Slingblade” starring Oscar-winner Billy Bob Thornton.
The hall is open Monday through Friday, 9:00AM until 5:00PM (except holidays). Weekend hours are seasonal. Call 870.536.7600 for more information.
ARKANSAS RAILROAD MUSEUM
Steam engine 819, a 4-8-4 Northern-type locomotive was the last built at the Pine Bluff yard. Along with the 1909 Baldwin-built 336, both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and both are housed at the Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff. The collection includes several rare diesel locomotives, a complete steam wrecker train, cabooses, a snow plow and other examples from the railroad era of yesteryear.
Also housed in the vast structure are collections of railroad memorabilia and a working scale-model railroad layout.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 9:00AM until 2:00PM. (Hours may be curtailed during extreme outdoor temperatures.) Call ahead for special guided tours. Location is 1700 Port Road, just off U.S. Highway 65B. Phone 870.535.8819 or visit the
ARTS AND SCIENCE CENTER FOR SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS
ASC was founded in 1968, made a commission of the City of Pine Bluff in 1971, and accredited with the American Alliance of Museums in 2001. ASC presents programming in the visual arts, performing arts, and the sciences through exhibits, performances, classes, and local partnerships.
Education programming occurs on and off site and area schools are encouraged to visit for free exhibition tours and hands-on activities. Classes are offered for children, youth, and adults with scholarships available. Gallery admission, hands-on programming, and school field trips are all free – athanks to sponsors, successful grant writing, and the generosity of the local community.
ASC is located at 701 S. Main Street in Pine Bluff. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00AM until 5:00PM and Saturday, 1:00 until 4:00PM.
For more information, call 870.536.3375 or visit the .
GRANT COUNTY MUSEUM
Established in 1963, its original collections were housed in Sheridan and Prattsville schools. In 1994, the museum moved into its present home and subsequently added seven additional galleries. Today, visitors and view a collection of Arkla gas company artifacts in the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company Gallery; military memorabilia related to local wartime efforts in the World War II Gallery; antique automobiles and vintage advertising; artifacts from nearby historical battles in the Jenkins Ferry Civil War Gallery; eighteen World War II vehicles housed in the Richard Harrison Gallery; artifacts reflecting local participation in the Vietnam/Korean War Gallery; memorabilia from Grant County participants in the Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom Gallery.
The facility incorporates a collection of historical Grant County structures that were moved to the museum’s so-called “Heritage Square,” including a Depression-era church building, a 1920s diner, a Masonic lodge, an 1870s “dogtrot” house, a 1900s Victorian home, an office, a working blacksmith shop and a Civilian Conservation Corps fire tower.
The museum is open Monday through Friday, 9:00AM until 5:00PM.
521 Shackelford Road, Sheridan. 870.942.4496.
GRANT COUNTY VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK
On March 12, 1943, a U.S. Army Air Corp B-17 aircraft departed Salina, KS, bound for Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, Florida. At 3:40PM, the aircraft went down in a field near Grant County Road 51 just outside Sheridan. All nine crew aboard were killed.
Less than a year later, the crash site was marked with a stone, but it soon became overgrown and was forgotten for decades. In 2011, a concerted volunteer effort gave birth to a new memorial park featuring a full-scale replica of the ill-fated B-17. A memorial wall honors the lives of the crewmen who were killed in the crash.
The park is open to the public and guided tours are available by calling Gary (870.942.5518), Don (870.917.9517) or Nelson (501.425.1827). The park is located at 1846 Grant County Road 51, Sheridan.
PINE BLUFF-JEFFERSON COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Glimpse our past, from the earliest settlements to cotton, lumber and rice plantations. Recall the transportation age and explore post-war commercial growth of local industries.
The Hall of Honors pays tribute to those who served our country from Jefferson County, in WW I through the Iraq Conflict. Call 870.541.5402 for information about changing exhibitions.
The museum is open Wednesday through Friday, 10:00AM until 4:00PM. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
UAPB MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER
The UAPB Museum and Cultural Center was established to provide a permanent home for its centerpiece collection titled Keepers of the Spirit: The L.A. Davis Sr. Historical Collection.
Exhibits interpret the history of UAPB via a collection of artifacts such as catalogs, yearbooks, photos and letters to and from the university. The oldest are original pictures dating back to the late 1800s. A prized item is the teaching license of Peter Plunkett Flowers from 1900, signed by Joseph Carter Corbin, founder and first principal of Branch Normal College.
Displays illustrating UAPB life include the Miss UAPB display and The Divine Nine: History of Greek Life at UAPB. The popular Michelle Obama exhibit commemorates her visit to UAPB as commencement speaker in 2010. Other exhibits illustrate life in the Arkansas Delta, including Welcome Home: Things Aren’t What They Used To Be, a collection of kitchen tools from 1900 through 1950.
Also housed at the museum is the Isaac Scott Hathaway Collection, which includes a trove of pottery and several death masks. The collection includes the first coins depicting African Americans George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington.
Although the museum is located on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff campus and its collection is UAPB-focused, the center will appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of the Arkansas Delta.
For more information visit the . Regarding group tours, upcoming classes, events or traveling exhibits, call 870.575.8234.
Photo: Jim Allen