5 roadtrip-worthy museums in Arkansas | Steve Landers Auto Group

It’s springtime, and the world is suddenly bursting with sunshine, flowers and temperatures that make you want to shake off the hibernation and get out there! You’ve got that great new or used car, purchased from one of the six friendly dealerships in the Steve Landers Auto Group, right? If not, come see us for a test drive and the car you deserve today. Once you’re ready to hit the road, read on for five museums in Arkansas that are definitely worth a spring or summer road trip.   


Mid America Science Museum
500 Mid-America Blvd. Hot Springs


Opened in 1979, the Mid-America Science Museum is a fun, hands-on museum that’s all about getting visitors, young or old, to have fun while learning about physics, acoustics, geology, archaeology and all the other scientific ground rules that keep the world spinning and the sun rising in the east. The foundation that runs the museum completed a $7.8 million dollar renovation project in 2015. That project included the installation of over 75 new exhibits and artworks, while refurbishing some of the older exhibits you may have loved when you were a kid. Be sure to check out their giant, lightning-throwing Tesla coil, or, if you love the great outdoors, the Bob Wheeler Skywalk, an elevated trail that allows visitors to stroll through the trees 32 feet off the ground.


The Historic Arkansas Museum
200 E. Third St. Little Rock

Started way back in 1939 as part of an effort to save four crumbling, historic structures which were survivors of the original settlement of Little Rock over a hundred years before, the Historic Arkansas Museum has since grown to encompass almost two full city blocks of restored buildings, a recreated pioneer farmstead, art galleries, a functional blacksmith shop, a recreation of the original print shop of Gazette publisher William Woodruff, and warehouse space for their massive collection of Arkansas-made furniture, paintings, housewares, firearms and more. If you’re a fan of the finer(edged) things, be sure to check out the Historic Arkansas Museum’s very impressive gallery dedicated to the art of the hand-forged Bowie knife, which includes what is purported to be one of the first Bowie knives ever made by blacksmith James Black at Old Washington, Arkansas.  



The Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium Museum
256 Carey Rd, Booneville

Though modern medicine and antibiotics have all but eradicated the scourge of tuberculosis in the United States, there was a time when a diagnosis meant being quarantined far from home and kin. Those days are behind us, thankfully, but it is still powerful for a resident of this future full of medical marvels to go to the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium Museum and consider just how lucky we all are. The museum, opened in 2010, features photos, medical equipment and the like, but the real thing to see is the massive Nyberg Building. Once the main hospital for a sprawling, self-sufficient complex that included produce farms, a dairy, a fire department, an elementary school and even a guinea pig nursery to produce testing animals, the Nyberg, completed in 1941, is a tenth of a mile long and six stories high -- a looming reminder of how blessedly far we’ve come.   


The Arkansas Railroad Museum
1700 Port Road, Pine Bluff

Though the golden age of rail travel in the United States is long gone, that steam-powered age lives on at the Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff. Situated in a circa-1890 brick railroad shed, the place is like a temple to all things steam. A small, air-conditioned room at the front of the museum showcases railroad memorabilia like train timetables, uniforms, engineer pocket watches and toys. The stars, however, are the museum’s fairly incredible collection of over two dozen full-size locomotives, train cars and cabooses, plus fire trucks, handcarts and railroad-related automobiles, all of which you can climb up into and through without many of the velvet rope restrictions most museums place on their exhibits.The main attraction is the awesome St. Louis Southwestern No. 819, a 200-ton steam engine that was the last locomotive built in the state, just at the outbreak of World War II. Restored to her full, operational glory in the 1980s, the engine is occasionally taken out onto the rails for special events.  

The Grant County Museum
521 Shackleford Rd., Sheridan

Though county museums can be hit or miss, full of dusty, old timey stuff that doesn’t seem to have much tying it together other than being old timey, the Grant County Museum is a notable exception. Located on several acres just outside of town, the museum features a number of attractions that will be of interest to those looking to stretch their legs while on their way to or from south Arkansas. Heritage Square, located near the museum, is a compact recreation of a small Arkansas town, featuring relocated and restored buildings brought in from all over Grant County. Inside the museum proper, you’ll find a nice collection of local items, including military uniforms, items related to the Battle of Jenkins Ferry, which happened nearby, and pieces of wreckage from a Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” that crashed in the area during World War II. If you’re a true military buff, be sure to check out the outstanding Richard Harrison Collection of military vehicles, which features over a dozen fully-restored military vehicles, including light tanks, armored trucks, half-tracks, ambulances and even an olive drab military fire engine.

There’s interesting things to do out there in Arkansas, so load up and go! If you need a new or reliable pre-owned car, truck, crossover or SUV to get there, come see us at one of the friendly family of dealerships in the six Steve Landers Auto Group locations in Oklahoma and Arkansas. We’ve got the deals on wheels to get you where you and your family want to go this spring.

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