States Of Preservation: Fort Smith Museum Of History In Fort Smith Arkansas
The 1908 Buick displayed in the lobby of the Fort Smith Museum of History was owned by a prominent local citizen, Carl Wortz, Jr. On Christmas Eve for many years Mr. Wortz would drive his son and daughter and friends in the Buick with Degan Bells, which were operated from the cars battery, to the orphanage to sing carols for the children.
This feature is part of a series we call 50 States of Preservation, in which we are touring small and mid-sized museums, libraries, historical societies, and other repositories across the country to show how they are helping to preserve the nations cultural heritage. Read other entries in the series here.
Museum of History. The pumper was the first professional fire engine purchased by the Fort Smith Fire Department in the early 1900s. Manufactured by the American Fire Engine Company of Seneca Falls, New York, the pumper was later rebuilt by the American LaFrance Company in Elmira, New York. The fire engine features hand painted wood wheels and metal decorative pieces that were fading with the light from the large windows. The shades have decreased UV light to 0.0 and visible light to 90.7 lux.
The Fort Smith Fire Department have told the staff that in the event of a fire at the museum, they will get the steamer pumper first!
Image courtesy of the Fort Smith Museum of History
This photograph was taken near the end of Isaac C. Parker’s life.
National Park Service
Exterior of the Fort Smith Museum of History.
Can I Rent Houses Near Fort Smith Museum Of History
Yes, of course. Vrbo has 43 Houses near Fort Smith Museum of History. Our other popular types of vacation rentals near Fort Smith Museum of History include:
- Cabins: 3 rentals available
- Condos/Apartments: 7 rentals available
- Cottages: 2 rentals available
But you can also enjoy a great stay in one of our other vacation rentals including Studios and more.
Fort Smith Museum Of History
Fort Smith Museum of History strives to preserve approximately 40,000 artifacts chronicling the citys history as well as care for the 1907 Atkinson-Williams Warehouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which houses the museum.
Permanent exhibits include the first-floor timeline that carries the visitor through growth and development of the city that grew around the 1817 military fort. The William O. Darby Memorial Room tells the story of the founder of Darbys Rangers in World War II, todays Army Rangers. William Orlando Darby was born in Fort Smith in 1910, graduated from Fort Smith High School and attended West Point.
The Boyd Gallery offers temporary exhibitions utilizing the museums vast artifact collection, as well as traveling exhibitions.
The second floor offers furnishings from the court of Judge Isaac C. Parker an exhibit on the history of the building, Progress in a Small Frontier Town an excellent collection of 19th century woodworking tools On the Air, an interactive display depicting the regions broadcast history and an exhibit on African-American history in Fort Smith.
Admission: $7 Adults $5 Veterans/Military $2 Children FREE for children under 6.
Don’t Miss: Special Forces Museum Gift Shop
Celebrating 150 Years: The Story Of First National Banka Partnership Between First National Bank And The Fort Smith Museum Of History Allows Us To Present The Fort Smith Museum Of Historys Newest Exhibition:
Celebrating 150 Years: The Story of First National Bank
The exhibition runs July 16, 2022 January 14, 2023
The history of First National Bank is interwoven into the history and progress of Fort Smith.
In February 1872, Fort Smiths First National Bank was organized as The National Bank of Western Arkansas. Men including Bernard Baer, a German immigrant, former Congressman Logan H. Roots and others familiar with the constraints and potential of the city secured a charter from the Comptroller of Currency to commence business on March 22, 1872. Soon thereafter, bank Directors Samuel McLoud, George T. Sparks, and James Vaile established McCloud, Vaile, and Sparks – the first large furniture factory in the area. The thriving bank and burgeoning town were growing together. By 1888, the bank had outgrown its facilities, and a new brick building was constructed at So. Sixth Street and Garrison Avenue. It became the banks new home, and soon, a new name would grace the institution First National Bank of Fort Smith.
The existing eight-story, white brick building at Sixth and Garrison was completed after three decades of steady growth. The landmark building and storied institution have operated at that location since January 31, 1910. A strong, involved, and constant supporter of the Fort Smith community, FNB remains one of the largest banks in both the city and the state of Arkansas.
Fort Smith Museumof History
The mission of the Fort Smith Museum of History is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of Fort Smith and the surrounding region.
The mission of the Fort Smith Museum of History is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of Fort Smith and the surrounding region. Our regional area is Sebastian, Crawford, and Franklin counties in Arkansas and Sequoyah and Leflore counties in Oklahoma.
Our exhibits illustrate the contributions, impact, and progress of the cultural, political, and economic development of the area. Long term exhibits include a highlighted timeline that carries visitors through the growth and development of the city that grew out from the 1817 military fort. Our exhibitions feature the story of William O. Darby, founder and commander of Darbys Rangers, a collection of vintage vehicles that includes the 1911 J.J. Little, Fort Smith’s first fire engine, and an 1857 Napoleon Cannon used by the Union forces during the Civil War. Other exhibitions include a revised display of the 1998 exhibition “In the Shadow of the Gallows”, which includes original furnishings from the court of Judge Isaac C. Parker “On the Air”, an exhibit featuring the history of radio and television broadcast in Fort Smith and the region, beginning in 1922 an impressive collection of 19th century woodworking tools and a depiction of the well-known Goldman Hotel in downtown Fort Smith.
Masks are recommended for visitors inside the museum.
Don’t Miss: Field Museum Shedd Aquarium Tickets
Fort Smith National Historic Site
At Fort Smith National Historic Site you can walk where Mexican War & Civil War soldiers drilled, pause along the Trail of Tears, and stand where justice was served to some of the most vile outlaws of The Wild West. The park includes:
Belle Point : Established in 1817 at an area overlooking the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers that had been named Belle Point, French for “beautiful place,” by 18th-century French fur trappers. Visitors will enjoy a scenic view of the two rivers and are able to walk the foundation remains of the first Fort Smith .
Trail of Tears Overlook: Walk along the mighty Arkansas River and enjoy exhibit panels that tell the story of the five civilized tribes that were forcibly removed to Indian Territory. The 3/4 mile paved walking trail begins from the parking lot and follows along the Arkansas River to Belle Point.
Commissary, Fort Smith Gallows & Second Fort Smith Grounds: The oldest building still standing in Fort Smith is the Commissary. During the federal court period, Judge Parker’s chambers were located upstairs. Today, you can visit it as it looked in the 1850s when it supplied military troops with food items. On the grounds of the park, you can also see a replica of the Fort Smith Gallows where a surprisingly large number of Wild West outlaws met their fate at the end of a rope.