Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Exploring the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources.

Hunter and I are exploring Scenic Arkansas Highway 7 from end-to-end this week. Watch my Twitterfeed @TieDyeTravels for updates each day on where we've been and where we're headed.

The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources, formerly the Arkansas Oil and Brine Museum, is located in Smackover.  It's a facility that shares the history of oil and brine in the region, and the story of the 1920s oil boom that put Smackover on the map and got El Dorado dubbed "Boom Town."  It's a neat museum... and Hunter agrees.  Here's a quick photo essay about our visit to the museum.

There's a temporary exhibit right inside the front of the Arkansas Museum of
Natural Resources called Shaping Our World.  Hunter loved this chance to
get her hands into a little science.

She was especially enamored with the magnetic globe and iron filings, which
created "hair," as she called it.

You enter the main part of the museum by passing through a globe that shows
where oil is drilled all over the earth.  There's a tunnel that shows what each
layer of the Earth's crust looks like, then an explanation of how oil is made.

But this is what Hunter was really interested in... the time traveling elevator
that takes its passengers back 200 billion years in time.  She loves time travel.

When the doors opened, we were in a reconstruction of 1920s Smackover, complete
with a depiction of oil workers and the noise of striking oil.  This was a little
startling the first time.

Hunter headed straight into the town to look around.

This odd looking contraption was a mobile home made special for a local woman.
That's right -- she actually lived in this rolling home! It was found in the woods
and donated to the museum and now it's a historical curiosity.

Hunter got to see how the oil workers lived, with sleeping quarters in a small hotel.

She also saw where they slept when they broke the law.

This informational video incorporated historical photography and film to share
the story of the oil boom.  This is where Hunter learned how the mules would get
so tired of slogging through the thick mud in the streets, they'd just lay down and

The town of Smackover grew from 95 people to more than 12,000 very quickly,
as folks came in to strike oil themselves. Those individuals needed places to sta
and food to eat, and restaurants and hotels popped up.

There's a sign on the wall that shows some of the things these oil workers
might have eaten.

For people who like classic gas station memorabilia, there are a lot of old,
restored pumps and signs.

Hunter even learned how oil is pumped from the Earth.

But by far her favorite thing in the entire museum was this Tinkering Studio.
She didn't know what to do at this station at first,

But it didn't take long for her to figure out how to make great marble runs on a
pegboard from pipes, hoses and funnels.

If you're interested in the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources, check out this Arkansas State Parks website or visit the museum at 3853 Smackover Highway (that's Scenic Arkansas Highway 7).

1 comment:

  1. Glad you made it to my hometown, Kat. The museum is a great place with many interesting programs, not the least of which is the Natural State Chautauqua every June. The "mobile home" you pictured is actually a 1915 Model T circus/medicine show truck, the only remaining one. Ford Motor Company doesn't even have one in their collection. For more information about the "Goat Woman" who owned and lived in it, here is a link:


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