Museums offer respite for the visiting and the bored

Northwest Arkansas enjoys museums that collect and interpret art, history, politics, retail and more. Here are some things that might be fun for kids out of school or visitors in town for the holidays.

Bella Vista

Bella Vista Historical Museum

The Bella Vista Historical Museum, operated by the Bella Vista Historical Society with an all-volunteer staff, features exhibits representing the past 103 years of Bella Vista history from the time Lake Bella Vista was created in 1915. The museum's gift shop is the only place in Bella Vista offering a variety of Bella Vista souvenir items from postcards to jigsaw puzzles, the newest among them depicting the popular "Bella Vista rocks."

WHEN -- 1-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday

WHERE -- 1885 Bella Vista Way, next door to the American Legion

COST -- Free

INFO -- 855-2335;

ALSO NEW -- Hundreds of vintage salt and pepper shakers were donated to the gift shop in December to sell as a fundraiser for the museum.


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened to the public on 11-11-11 and was founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation as a nonprofit charitable organization for all to enjoy.

WHEN -- 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday & Sunday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; closing at 2 p.m Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day; regularly closed Tuesday

WHERE -- 600 Museum Way

COST -- Admission to the permanent collection is always free

INFO -- 418-5700;

CURRENT EXHIBITS -- In addition to "Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices -- 1950s to Now," currently on show at Crystal Bridges are these focus exhibitions: "Amy Sherald," through Dec. 31; "In Conversation: Will Wilson and Edward Curtis," through February; and "Personal Space," through March.


Museum of Native American History

The Museum of Native American History invites visitors to walk through America's past. From the woolly mammoth skeleton that greets guests at the front door, to rare Mississippian head pots, to art and artifacts from the early reservation period, the museum's authentic collection gives a glimpse into the richly diverse cultural history of the first Americans.

WHEN -- 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day

WHERE -- 202 S.W. O St.

COST -- Free

INFO -- 273-2456;


Peel Mansion Museum

The Peel Mansion Museum is all decked out for the holidays in Victorian Christmas-past decor. The Carriage House and Conservatory are decorated in Christmas present and future themes. And the museum store in the historic Andy Lynch cabin is freshly stocked.

WHEN -- 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday for the museum and gift shop; 7 a.m.-4 p.m. for the grounds; closed Dec. 25 & Jan. 1

WHERE -- 400 S. Walton Blvd.

COST -- Free

INFO -- 254-3870;


Walmart Museum

Located on the downtown square in Bentonville, the museum features Walton's 5&10, a world-class exhibit gallery and The Spark Cafe Soda Fountain.

WHEN -- Regular hours are 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday; special holiday hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 24; closed Dec. 25; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 31; noon-9 p.m. Jan. 1

WHERE -- 105 N. Main St.

COST -- Free

INFO -- 273-1329;

BONUS -- The Spark Cafe Soda Fountain serves Spark Cream, custom-made ice cream in Walmart colors of blue and yellow.


Scott Family Amazeum

The Scott Family Amazeum is a hands-on, interactive museum for children and families.

WHEN -- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday; closed Tuesdays and Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & New Year's Day

WHERE -- 1009 Museum Way

COST -- $9.50 all ages

INFO -- 696-9280;

CURRENT EXHIBITS -- "Eat Well, Play Well," through Jan. 20, and "Magnificent Me," through May 12.



Rogers Historical Museum

Completely revamped in its new space in the Hailey Ford Building at 313 S. Second St. in Rogers, the Rogers Historical Museum includes exhibits on the Van Winkle Mill; Coin Harvey's Monte Ne; the creation of Beaver Lake; and especially for kids, a hands-on section.

WHEN -- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & New Year's Day

WHERE -- 313 & 322 S. Second St.

COST -- Free

INFO -- 621-1154


Daisy Airgun Museum

The Daisy Airgun Museum is a nonprofit corporation which preserves and promotes vintage products and artifacts of the historic Daisy company while serving as a national tourism destination for Daisy fans and collectors.

WHEN -- 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Dec. 25-26 & Jan. 1

WHERE -- 202 W. Walnut St.

COST -- $2 for ages 16 and older

INFO -- 986-6873;



Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History is a regional history museum focusing on the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks. The museum takes its name from the pioneer community of Shiloh, which became Springdale in the 1870s.

WHEN -- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

WHERE -- 118 W. Johnson Ave.

COST -- Free

INFO -- 750-8165 or

CURRENT EXHIBITS -- "Selected," items chosen by guest curators to celebrate the museum's 50th birthday; and "Fifty From Fifty," 50 objects, one from each year between 1968 and 2018.



Arkansas Air & Military Museum

Follow the colorful history of aviation in Arkansas and American military conflicts through numerous displays of original artifacts and aviation memorabilia. The historic aircraft in the Arkansas Air & Military Museum are unusual among museum exhibits, because many of them still fly.

WHEN -- 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday-Friday; 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday; closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1

WHERE -- 4290 S. School Ave.

COST -- $5 ages 6-12; $9 seniors & military; $10 adults; family rate of $25

INFO -- 521-4947;

BONUS -- The vast, all-wood white hangar, which houses the museum, was headquarters for one of the United States' many aviator training posts during World War II.


Clinton House Museum

The Clinton House Museum, designed to interpret the lives of President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton during the time they lived in Fayetteville, hosts Winter Break through Jan. 6. Activities include a story time, hot chocolate and cookies, scavenger hunts and other fun for children of all ages.

WHEN -- 1-5 p.m. Dec. 23; closed Dec. 24-25; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 26-31; closed Jan. 1; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 2-5& and 1-5 p.m. Jan. 6

WHERE -- 930 W. Clinton Drive

COST -- Donations welcome

INFO -- 444-0066 or


Fort Smith

Fort Smith Museum of History

During the holidays, "the museum's old-fashioned soda fountain is always fun," says executive director Leisa Gramlich. "We offer hand-mixed fountain drinks, ice cream sodas, floats and sundaes featuring Arkansas made Yarnell's ice cream. [And] animated dolls from Hunt's Department Store on Garrison Avenue in downtown Fort Smith are on exhibit around the Christmas tree through the holidays."

WHEN -- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday & 1-5 p.m. Sunday; closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day

WHERE -- 320 Rogers Ave.

COST -- $2 children; $5 military; $7 adults

INFO -- 783-7841;

BONUS -- Established in 1910, the museum is housed in the 1906 Atkinson-Williams Warehouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum is a nonprofit organization charged with the responsibility of fostering art appreciation in the community through diverse exhibitions, educational programming, dynamic events, and cultural partnerships.

WHEN -- 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays, Christmas Day & New Year's Day

WHERE -- 1601 Rogers Ave.

COST -- General admission is always free

INFO -- 784-2787;

CURRENT EXHIBITS -- "Timothy J. Clark: Masterworks on Paper," through March 31; "Modern Master David Hayes: The Ventana Series," through Jan. 27; and "The Touch Gallery," an assortment of real art sculptures and a painting that are created with various materials like bronze, carved wood, marble, resin and acrylic paint that visitors, especially children, are encouraged to explore with their hands.

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26 Dec 2018

By Becca Martin-Brown

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