Prairie Grove Heritage Museum opens and searches for artifacts – The Free Weekly
The excitement of youthful exuberance and the novelty of a newly established history museum flourish these days along Main Street in Prairie Grove.
“We opened on April 17,” said Molly Hutchins, the 19-year-old museum director, in a recent interview. “And we’ve already had calls to include some of their artifacts or give us the items to display in the museum’s collection.”
Hutchins, a part-time library assistant at the Prairie Grove Public Library and a student at nearby Ecclesia College in Elm Springs, graduated from home a year ago.
She has been an enthusiastic and loyal worker of the Prairie Grove Historical Society since its inception two years ago. She is also a tireless volunteer for the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale and the Washington County Historical Society in Fayetteville.
A two-bedroom white frame house at 311 E. Buchanan St. houses the New History Museum. The house, which once housed a resale store, is next to Harps. The city-owned building was recently used as a second-hand bookstore for the Friends of the Prairie Grove library.
While the house sat vacant last year at 18 months, the transition to a new museum, “The Prairie Grove Heritage Museum”, was quickly put in place. The converted vacant farm now offers a rapidly growing collection of photos, old newspapers and other must-see items – all items uniquely local to the Prairie Grove area.
“We (the Prairie Grove Historical Society) moved quickly after we got this building for our use,” says Hutchins. “We are delighted to take many photos and other historical artifacts inside the building and to hear about the relevance of each piece to the history of Prairie Grove and Northwest Arkansas.”
Items have also been offered that do not fit, physically, into the building, says Hutchins.
“Maybe later we can see such display elements that we can’t go through the front door.”
Already, the initial collection of photographs, newspapers and framed objects such as a paper kite from the “Leaders of Tomorrow” promotion / competition of almost 40 years ago adorns the walls of the museum.
There is a display of a local Masonic ceremonial sword and other Masonic memorabilia and old zippered bank deposit bags from the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Prairie Grove and Farmington, forerunner of one of the major banks in the Washington County. Also in the bank window is a void business check from Prairie Grove Motor Company, Ford dealership, dated March 1, 1947, to a customer for $ 10.26. There are over two dozen black-and-white framed images from a multitude of decades in and around Prairie Grove – most of them are identified.
Hutchins is also vice president of the Prairie Grove Historical Society, a group that started just two years ago with an ambitious goal to help collect and preserve artefacts in the Prairie Grove area. Hutchins is quick to point out that this is not a duplication of the Prairie Grove Battlefield Museum, located at Hindman Hall, but, hopefully, a growing collection of city artifacts. from Prairie Grove and surrounding areas. Hutchins says the best way to donate is to send an email to the museum describing the items you may wish to donate. The address is [email protected] The museum does not pay for items, does not purchase items, and does not guarantee any loaned items against theft or loss, Hutchins says.
Other officers of the Prairie Grove Historical Association are President and Treasurer Michael Dillingham; secretary, Kerrie Logsdon; Hutchins and Board members Rick Ault, Marsha Phillipak-Chambers, Marvin Rice and Libby Dillingham.
Membership fees are $ 25 per year, per calendar year. Other membership levels are $ 40 per calendar year per family; $ 100 per year as a corporate sponsor; or an individual lifetime membership for $ 250.
Prairie Grove Heritage Museum
WHEN – 9 am-12pm every Saturday
O – 311 E. Buchanan Street in Prairie Grove
COT – Free, but donations are welcome
INFO – Send an email to [email protected]