Arkansas State University Museum

Arkansas State University Museum

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Arkansas State University Museum, located on the Arkansas University campus, offers a range of exhibits and collections looking at the natural history and cultural heritage of Northeast Arkansas.

Arkansas State University Museum serves both the university and the general public. Permanent exhibits include Native American collections, early European exploration and settlement as well as collections from World War Two and the Vietnam War.

The museum also offers a number of relevant temporary exhibits, online exhibits and even iPod tours of Old Town Arkansas in English and Spanish.

Arkansas State University Museum history

Established in 1933, the museum examines the history of the state, stretching from pre-historic times to early European settlement and beyond. It was one of the first museums in the Southeast to be accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM), it is the largest and most comprehensive museum in northeast Arkansas.

When it first opened in 1933, the museum was called the Arkansas State College Historical Museum and was a creation of the Arkansas State College History Club.

In 1948, the museum was incorporated under the name Arkansas State Museum and Historic Library, and the first director, Sudie Barnett, was appointed.

Over time, the museum collection grew, with both strategic and opportunistic acquisitions.

The museum came into national recognition in 1973, when it was accredited by the AAM. As a prerequisite for accreditation, the ASU Board of Trustees legally recognized the museum as an integral part of the university and issued a statement of permanence on June 8, 1973.

Arkansas State University Museum today

The museum offers permanent exhibits, online exhibits and temporary exhibits. Admission is free to the public. Permanent exhibits feature fossils going back 300 million years ago, a fully articulated Mastodon skeleton replica based on actual bones found in Northeast Arkansas, prehistoric Native American life and culture, early settlement in Northeast Arkansas. There are also exhibits highlighting shops typical of regional towns dating 1880–1920, a military gallery, decorative arts, and more.

Getting to Arkansas State University Museum

ASU Museum is located on the A-State campus in Jonesboro in the west wing of the Dean B. Ellis Library building.

The Museum is best accessed by taking Aggie Road off Red Wolf Boulevard followed by a left on to University Loop East, and then continuing around the south perimeter of campus until you reach the south parking lot directly south of the Museum.

List of museums in Arkansas

This list of museums in Arkansas is a list of museums, defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included.

To use the sortable table, click on the icons at the top of each column to sort that column in alphabetical order click again for reverse alphabetical order.

Historic Arkansas Museum celebrates the tomato in second History is Served dinner

Tickets are sold out for the Historic Arkansas Museum’s second dinner in the 2021 “History is Served: Arkansas Foodways Dinner Series” from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 17. This year’s dinner series celebrates iconic foods of Arkansas, with the upcoming dinner highlighting tomatoes.

This is the fourth year of the dinner series. The first meal of 2021 featured strawberries with a menu prepared by Trio’s owner Capi Peck.

Scott Rains of Table 28, located in the Burgundy Hotel at 1501 Merrill Drive, will be curating the second dinner. Guests will pick up dinners curbside from 4-6 p.m. at Table 28. Participants are invited to join a special Zoom program that explores the tomato’s place in Arkansas history and culture.

Corn will be the featured iconic Arkansas food for the third dinner in August. On October 21, Jonathan Arrington and Jack Sundell of The Root Cafe will highlight the apple. To buy tickets and get information about where to pick up meals, sign up for Historic Arkansas Museum’s newsletter.

The dinner series is a program of HAM’s Arkansas Foodways Initiative, which was created by the museum’s Foundation Board. Building on the museum’s past foodways efforts, the initiative supports programming related to Arkansas’s food heritage and dovetails with Division of Arkansas Heritage’s emphasis on Arkansas’s food heritage as seen in the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

Arkansas State University Museum - History

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas includes a barn studio associated with Ernest Hemingway and the family home of his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. Pauline’s parents, Paul and Mary Pfeiffer, were prominent citizens of Northeast Arkansas and owned more than 60,000 acres of land. During the 1930s the barn was converted to a studio to give Hemingway privacy for writing while visiting Piggott. Portions of one of his most famous novels, A Farewell to Arms, and several short stories were written in this studio. Both the home and the barn studio were named to the National Historic Register in 1982. The properties have been renovated, focusing on the 1930s era. Areas of emphasis for the Museum and Educational Center include literature of the period, 1930s world events, agriculture, family lifestyles and relationships, and development of Northeast Arkansas during the Depression and New Deal eras.

To learn more about the Pfeiffers and Ernest Hemingway, click here for an Interactive Timeline.


Read the latest HPMEC newsletter and access newsletter archives here!

In the News

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Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center.

Writers’ Retreats

Find out more about our Writers' Retreats and make plans to join us!

Arkansas Heritage Sites
Arkansas State University
P. O. Box 2050
State University, AR 72467
Telephone: 870-972-2803
Fax: 870-972-3201


The Dyess Colony was established in 1934 as a federal agricultural resettlement community under the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The colony was named for Mississippi County native and Arkansas’s first WPA administrator, William Reynolds Dyess.

Born in 1894, Dyess moved to Arkansas in 1926 to take a job as superintendent of construction for a company engaged in levee work. In 1930 he bought a farm near Osceola, and was named to the Mississippi County Election Commission. Dyess promoted his plan for a colony of small subsistence farms to federal relief administrator, Harry Hopkins, and located “Colonization Project No. 1,” on 16,000 acres of land in Mississippi County. The colony was laid out with a town center at the hub and farmsteads stretching out from the center. The first 13 families arrived in October 1934. On May 22, 1936, an official dedication was held on the second anniversary of the colony. The project was renamed Dyess Colony in honor of its founder, W.R. Dyess, who died in a plane crash earlier that year.

Several weeks after the official dedication, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (at right of podium) visited Dyess and addressed the colonists from the front steps of the colony’s centerpiece, a large Greek Revival Administration Building.

After Dyess’ death, Floyd Sharp became director of the WPA in Arkansas and reorganized the administrative body as “Dyess Colony Incorporated.” Up to this point many colonists had not been advised what financial obligations they had incurred by occupying their homes and working the land. Sharp undertook an appraisal of the properties and set up a system of contracts with colonists to codify their obligations and the process by which they repaid loans and took title to property.

Ray and Carrie Cash were among the nearly 500 colonist families recruited from all over Arkansas to the historic Dyess Colony. The Cashes moved to Dyess in March 1935 with their five children, including Roy, 13 Louise, 11 Jack, 5 J. R., 3 and Reba, 1. Two additional children, Joanne and Tommy, were born in Dyess. The Cash home is one of the few houses remaining in the former New Deal-era colony. Johnny Cash lived in Dyess until he graduated from high school in 1950. His music was greatly influenced by his experiences in Dyess, including such songs as “Pickin’ Time” and “Five Feet High and Rising.”

In 2009, the Arkansas legislature directed Arkansas State University to determine the feasibility of developing the town as a heritage tourism site, focusing on its agricultural heritage and native son Johnny Cash. To carry out this mandate, a Dyess Colony Redevelopment Master Plan was completed in 2010, and the city donated the Administration Building, along with the adjacent Theatre center shell, to Arkansas State University. The restored Administration Building houses exhibits related to the Dyess Colony, the Cash family, and the impact of Dyess on Johnny Cash and his music.

In 2011, Arkansas State University acquired the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, restored through proceeds from an annual Johnny Cash Music Festival. The Master Plan also calls for placing historic markers at appropriate locations and creating a walking/biking trail from the Colony Center to the Cash Home.

University of Arkansas Museum

The University Museum staff develop and maintain extensive collections totaling 7 million objects in the fields of archeology, ethnography, geology, history, and zoology. The collections are available for exhibition, research, education, and loan.

Our collections are housed at the University of Arkansas Collections Facility, which is located at the University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station in Fayetteville. It is an administrative unit of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and seeks to serve the campus, the community, and research scholars.

University faculty may request loans of specimens for their classes, or arrange to bring their classes to the University Collections Facility for a visit. Specimens and their associated documentation are available for comparative and research purposes by faculty, qualified students, and visiting scholars. We also fulfill our public service and outreach mission through community engagement programs and loans to other institutions for exhibits.


The World War II Japanese American Internment Museum periodically offers professional development workshops for teachers in cooperation with McGehee Schools. Participants travel to the Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center site for a more indepth understanding of the camp and receive three hours of professional development credit. Contact the museum for the next scheduled workshops.

The museum also is developing a lending library of books about the Japanese American experience and would be happy to accept donations!

The WWII Japanese American Internment Museum opened in April 2013 and is housed in the renovated south building of the McGehee Railroad Depot.

Arkansas State University Museum - History

(870) 972-3056
fax (870) 972-3693

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Museum exhibit explores history of ancient navigation, modern GPS and geocaching

September 28, 2010 -- A special grand opening and meet-and-greet will kick off the “GPS Adventures Arkansas” exhibition opening Oct. 9 at the Arkansas State University Museum. The exhibition is free to the public and refreshments will be served at 10:30 a.m.

“GPS Adventures Arkansas” highlights the history and current uses of GPS (global positioning system) technology. Geared toward ages six through adult, this exhibit highlights the popular sport of geocaching, a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. Visitors can learn the basics of traditional and modern navigation and about the sport of geocaching. Find Rocky, the ASU Museum’s geocache, and help get Mona the Mastodon back to the Bering Straits. Play with the hands-on exhibits and wander through the maze.

"The hobby of geocaching is enjoyed by people from around the world,” said Dr. Lenore Shoults, assistant director, of the ASU Museum. “This newest geocaching exhibit makes it fun to learn about GPS technology, while offering a great way for families to get outside and enjoy a sport together. After exploring GPS Adventures Arkansas, we encourage families to discover the geocaches hidden in our regional Arkansas State Parks.”

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment. There are over one million active geocaches around the world and the information hub for the sport is

GPS Adventures Arkansas, part of the Arkansas Museum Road Trip collection, was developed by Groundspeak and Minotaur Mazes with development support from the National Executive Committee of Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing and technological contributions from Magellan and Spatial Solutions in cooperation with the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources and the Arkansas Discovery Network, funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Schools and other organizations interested in group reservations to visit GPS Adventures Arkansas should call Jill Kary at 870-972-2074 for more information. School tours and general admission to ASU Museum are free. Regular hours are Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, 1𔃃 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and University holidays. For more information, contact Lenore Shoults, 870-972-2074, [email protected] .

The Arkansas Discovery Network, funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, works to strengthen partner museums by sharing resources and expanding discovery learning opportunities throughout the state. Member museums include the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff, Texarkana Museum System in Texarkana, Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover, Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro and the University of Arkansas Center for Mathematics and Science Education in Fayetteville. Visit the website at .

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, headquartered in Las Vegas, is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. The Foundation is one of the 50 largest private foundations in the world.

Open year-round! • Lakeport Plantation Hours & Visitor Information

Lakeport was gifted to Arkansas State University by the Sam Epstein Angel family in 2001. The five-year restoration of the Lakeport Plantation house into a museum and public historic site has been funded through grants from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Save America’s Treasures program.

The Lakeport Plantation
601 Hwy 142
Lake Village, AR 71653
Telephone: 870-265-6031

Arkansas Heritage Sites
Arkansas State University
P. O. Box 2050
State University, AR 72467
Telephone: 870-972-2803
Fax: 870-972-3201

We now offer a combination tour with Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Southern Tenant Farmers Museum at 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Standard tours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are also available by reservation and on the hour Thursday – Saturday, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Please call 870-487-2909 or 870-764-2274 for pricing and reservations or purchase your tickets online at STFM Marketplace .

The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum enhances knowledge and understanding of tenant farming and agricultural labor movements in the Mississippi River Delta, in an effort to preserve the history and promote the legacy of sharecropping, tenant farming and the farm labor movement. The museum is located in the historic Mitchell-East Building in Tyronza, Arkansas, with the restoration of this building and development of the museum made possible through grants from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council and a “We the People” Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To learn more about the history of tenant farming in Arkansas and the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, click here for an Interactive Timeline.

Share Your Stories

Share your memories and help preserve the past for future generations.


Read the latest STFM newsletter and access newsletter archives here.

In the News

The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum is often in the news. Click here to read more.

Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum.

Southern Tenant Farmers Museum
117 S. Main Street
P.O. Box 195
Tyronza, AR 72386
Telephone: 870-487-2909
Fax: 870-487-2910

Arkansas Heritage Sites
Arkansas State University
P. O. Box 2050
State University, AR 72467
Telephone: 870-972-2803
Fax: 870-972-3201

Watch the video: Meet the Locals - Arkansas State University - Jonesboro, Arkansas


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