Warm Up With History: The Clark County Historical Museum

It’s cold outside…so why not visit one of The Natural State’s many great museums this winter? During January, our blogs will give you suggestions on museums throughout Arkansas that offer something for the entire family…a great chance to Warm Up with History!

Outside Clark County Historical Museum. Photo by Z. Clift

Outside Clark County Historical Museum. Photo by Z. Clift

Winter is a great time to explore the many museums that can be found in Arkansas. Among them is the Clark County Historical Museum, located in an Amtrak train station in Arkadelphia. Here, you can learn about the history of Clark County from prehistoric times to the present.

The museum has photographs and bios of people who have made the county what it is today, including the impact of the nation’s wars (the Civil War, World War I, World War II ) on the county. A large focus is on the heritage that has shaped the region with displays on Caddo artifacts and country life.

The museum is small but is packed with information that gives a historical overview of Clark County. Many artifacts stood out during my visit including a wooden dugout canoe, known as The Arkadelphia Canoe, which was made and used by early Caddo Indians living in the area. The canoe, which was found in the Caddo River years ago, is displayed out in the open. According to samples of wood submitted for radiocarbon dating, the canoe was built about AD 900-1100.Unfortunately, it was not professionally preserved when it was found so the water-saturated wood broke into pieces as it dried. But it is still neat to see as it shows an important form of transport that was once common to see on the rivers of Arkansas.

There is also a display that shows a bit of the archeological collection of Dr. Thomas Hodges, a country doctor that lived in the region. Hodges and his wife Charlotte both had a deep interest in Arkansas history and had an impressive archeological collection including pottery and stone tools. While there I learned they helped establish the Arkansas Historical Association and also bought an important archeological site, the Menard-Hodges site, now a National Historic Landmark. You can learn more about this landmark site here.

The Arkadelphia Canoe, which was made and used by early Caddo Indians living in the area. According to samples of wood submitted for radiocarbon dating, the canoe was built about AD 900-1100. Photo by Z. Clift.

The Arkadelphia Canoe, which was made and used by early Caddo Indians living in the area. According to samples of wood submitted for radiocarbon dating, the canoe was built about AD 900-1100. Photo by Z. Clift.

You will also learn about interesting local connections such as those of  Dr. “Dee” Brumfield-White, who was an integral part of baseball history as a member of the All-America Girls Pro Baseball League. The film A League of Their Own is based on this and the softball field at Henderson State University is named after her. Here are more details.

If you want to stop by the museum sometime, it is open from 10-3 Wednesday-Friday and from 10-noon on Saturday. The museum is located at 750 South 5th Street and for more details you can call  870-230-1360.

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Posted in Arkansas Ouachitas, Museums, Travel Arkansas

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