Looking for something free to do this weekend? Four Arkansas museums are taking part in the Smithsonian’s Free Museum Day, Saturday, Sept. 29.
All you have to do is go to the Smithsonian Magazine’s website and fill out a request. A ticket will then be e-mailed to your for printing. It must be a printed version to receive the free admission.
The participating Arkansas facilities are the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock and the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, both Smithsonian affiliates; the Old Independence Regional Museum in Batesville, and the Rogers Historical Museum.
The Historic Arkansas Museum preserves portions of Territorial Arkansas in an acclaimed restoration of early homes, including the city’s oldest, the 1827 Hinderliter Tavern. It also hosts major traveling exhibitions which accompany the permanent displays, such as the outstanding collection of Bowie Knives. Don’t be surprised if you encounter historic characters wandering the grounds. Numerous special events are held throughout the year.
Hot Springs’ Mid-America Science Museum offers a wide array of activities along with exhibits, a virtual reality simulator, a nature trail and the world’s most powerful conical Telsa Coil, so named by the Guinness Book of World Records. The new Tinkering Studio is where you can build a flying contraption out of egg cartons and cardboard tubes, create a roller coaster for a marble using everyday items from a hardware store, or use recycled materials to build a hand-cranked toy.
Archival materials from the 12 counties that comprised the original Independence County in Arkansas are preserved and displayed at the Old Independence Regional Museum in Batesville. A 1936 Works Project Administration former National Guard Armory houses the history. Special workshops and programs, permanent and visiting exhibits plus an archival research room make up the facility.
The Rogers Historical Museum features not only the heritage of Rogers but all of Northwest Arkansas as well. The restored 1895 Hawkins House depicts how a middle-class family listed at the turn of the 20th century. Other permanent exhibits are First Street, a recreated downtown Rogers circa 1880-1890s and The Attic where children are encouraged to play with the antique items such as a crank telephone and an old typewriter.