We were moving to Arkansas in the middle of our Military Unit back in the early part of the school year (October) 2005-6. We didn’t get very many field trips done for that unit (and that was a shame because there were plenty of military bases and places to see near Little Rock). It took us until the very end of the school year to make up one of these planned field trips: the trip to McArthur Miltary Museum.
We finally visited the museum on a day when Daddy was off work. It was the only good thing about his schedule there (evenings and weekends on duty) – the fact that he was able to accompany us on many of our field trips. This museum, while not “spectacular” was very interesting (the building alone was worth going to see). I love old buildings… the smell of real wood and polish… the milky glass and beautiful trim… and metal door-knobs… it takes you back in time.
This particular building, with its striking octagonal tower, is an old arsenal for a frontier fort –
“Fort Roots” (built in 1840). The arsenal was an area which supplied ammunition to the frontier before the Civil War and it was also used during the war by the Confederate Army. The post was captured along with Little Rock by General Frederick Steele of the Union Army in September of 1863. There are many interesting Civil War items inside the museum (which was delightful because I am a history nut and that is one time-period that fascinates me).
After the war, Douglas MacArthur was actually BORN inside this building in 1880 because his father was stationed there as an Arsenal officer. The fort was closed in 1892 when the land was traded by the government with the condition that its grounds be “forever exclusively devoted to the uses and purposes of a public park.”
The federal government traded the fort for land in North Little Rock and renovations began in the 1930’s. The museum opened to the public as a history museum, before finally becoming what it is today in 2001. Exhibits change often, so be sure to check with the website under the title of this post to see which exhibits are available. When we went, we enjoyed seeing a photo exhibit from World War 2.
From the website:
“Exhibits feature artifacts, photographs, weapons, documents, uniforms and other military items to vividly portray Arkansas’s military history, at home and abroad.”
Next door to this museum is a small art museum and a park where you can stop and eat a picnic lunch (what we did). Don’t miss out on visiting here if you are in town. Admission is free and with a few other stops in the same area of down-town Little Rock, it makes for a very nice day trip.
Department of Arkansas Heritage
Arkansas Roadside Travelogue
Visit my other field trip reviews through my Homeschool Series Post
Stuff I’ve posted previously which has something to do with the military
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