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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

You Can Find Anything You Want at the Grant County Museum in Sheridan.

Dolls from the 19th and 20th century are collected in
this exhibit that includes a turn-of-the-century writing desk.
There are museums that focus on a single subject, and there are museums that focus on a single time period.  The Grant County Museum, located on the southwest side of Sheridan, focuses on an entire county and everything that's ever happened within it -- everything from
The courthouse exhibit includes the original clock from the
tower, as well as a desk and shelves from the
building, photographs and election paraphernalia.
prehistory to modern times, the Civil War to Operation Desert Shield, politics to domestic life and everything in-between.

The ten acre compound features one gallery after another, organized in a massive building that's seen several expansions; and within a village created from original buildings organized to give children and adults a like a working knowledge of everything Grant County.

The old general store shown here was once home
 to the Grant County Museum.
The Grant County Museum was originally located in an old general store near the heart of Sheridan. Grants and donated land allowed a new facility to be built, and as the collection has grown, so has the museum. The main building consists of several galleries that include everything from
A full-sized replica of a mule is decked with 19th century tack.
clothing from the early 19th century, to displays covering commercial traffic along the Saline River.  Like classic cars? A fine selection of automobiles dating back to the 1920s crowd one large room, with delivery trucks, fast cars and even
Vehicles from several decades are on display in a large room
that also displays signs and bottles from local eateries
and gas stations.
a fire engine. Enjoy taxidermy? There’s an entire hall that showcases critters from the area’s forests, rivers and fields. Dig military history? An entire series of galleries covers local participation from the Civil War to the Persian Gulf.

An entire exhibit is dedicated to ARKLA, the Arkansas-Louisiana Gas Company, which serviced most of the state. Within, you’ll see an original ARKLA truck, various gas-powered appliances over the ages and the desk of Witt Stephens.

A selection of different appliances powered by natural gas
on display in the ARKLA gas exhibit.

Flags overhead in the Jenkins Ferry room are from different
regiments of the Confederate Army.
A downtown Sheridan barber shop is partially preserved within the largest gallery. The entire mirrored wall from one side of the old building is accompanied by an array of different barber and dental chairs. Nearby, a “scoundrel’s gallery” documenting different infamous crimes that took place in
Items brought back from the second World War are on display
 in this hall.
Grant County, offers stories within wood and glass cases.

The northwest wing of the facility hosts a collection of Civil War memorabilia, including items showing what life was like back during the conflict. A special section commemorates the Battle of Jenkins
Vehicles and memorabilia from the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Ferry, the last significant battle of the Red River Campaign. Other galleries nearby contain items donated by Grant County servicemen and women who served in World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam conflict, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

These vehicles are part of the collection donated to the
museum by Richard G. Harrison.
Out back, you’ll find a large hangar packed with military vehicles. This is the Richard G. Harrison Military Vehicle Collection, which may be the largest privately-owned collection of U.S. military vehicles on display anywhere. Harrison, a Little Rock native, drove a Jeep and delivered secret
documents while serving during World War II in Hawaii. He donated the collection in 2002-2003. The selections include Big Bertha, a tank retriever and artillery vehicle; a Navy communications bunker; a Jeep similar to the one that Harrison drove while in Hawaii; and a monolithic camera that enlarged photos taken by planes to use for troop maneuvers and battle plans.

The Hilltown Café, once the Donaldson Café, still contains a
kitchen and different advertisements for cola and sweets.
There’s also the Heritage Square, a collection of buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries that include a blacksmithy and old schoolhouse; the 1935 Toler Chapel; a townhome built in 1904; the 1872 McCool House (a dogtrot cabin); the town’s former Masonic Chapel; the Edward F. McDonald House (which
Visitors can see what a post office looked like in the early part
of the 20th century inside the Edward F. McDonald House.
now houses displays for the town’s post office and doctor’s office) and the Hilltown Café, which was once Donaldson’s Café opened in 1927 on the outskirts of town. The collection also includes the old general store in which the original museum was once housed.

New to the property is a boardwalk that takes visitors out on an elevated walk through a forested section of the land.

This wide selection of preserved animals showcase the
fauna of Grant County.
Exploring the entire museum could take most of a day. School groups are encouraged. Visiting the museum is free for Grant County residents and a donation of $3 for non-residents ($1 for students).

Grant County Museum
521 Shackleford Road
Sheridan, AR 72150
(870) 942-4496
Open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

1 comment:

  1. One thing that impressed me when I visited the museum a few years ago is that they have the cornerstones of a good number of buildings that have been torn down or burned down. As I recall, they have cornerstones from school, church, and government buildings that once served the county, all respectfully displayed so that those places are not completely lost to history.


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