100 Things to Do in Rogers #1: Visit Rogers Historical Museum

Rogers Historical MuseumToday I give you your first assignment. I am kicking off the 100 Things to Do in Rogers series with the Rogers Historical Museum. Get ready to jot down a few important things (like how to get there and when it's open) because you'll want to promptly complete your task after you hear all the fun factoids about this place.

I feel like I need to get something off my chest. I love history. There, I said it. Whew. But you don't have to love history to love the Rogers Historical Museum.  That's why I think you'll love assignment #1. Here's why:

  • It's family-friendly with lots of hands-on displays for kids (and adults)
  • Perfect outing for a cold, rainy, snowy and/or hot day (which can all happen within the same week... thank you Arkansas)
  • If your kids act up, just lock 'em up!
  • You can actually take a trip back in time when you tour a beautifully-preserved home from 1895! 
  • It's free!
  • It's history that's real, true, and fun!

First, a little history, if you will. The museum opened in 1974 and is located in d1890s Jail Cellowntown Rogers. It has more than 30,000 items in its collection, ranging from tiny salt dishes to large jail cells from the 1890s. Oh, yes, you heard me right parents...there are actual jail cells at the museum! Kids and adults can live like an outlaw in the Benton County Crime Stories exhibit. I just hope this is the only time my kid is in the slammer! The museum has thousands of historic photos to peruse and tons of hands-on exhibits. Here are a just a few of the highlights...

The Hawkins House

"Where are all of the toys?" "Where did they watch tv?" "No bathroom?!?" You can imagine the fun questions your kids will ask when touring the Hawkins House, which offers a glimpse of how a middle-class family lived in middle America at the turn of the 20th century.  Just ask for a guided tour through its six period rooms to learn about the Hawkins family and their way of life. *Historical Fun Fact* When the historic house was built in 1895 Rogers didn't have running water and sewer service to homes, but they did have a new electric light plant so the house was wired for overhead lights.

The Attic

I loved the Attic almost as much as my kids loved the Attic. Watching thOld-time Funem try to figure out how to use a washboard and that big cash register-looking machine with letters (aka the typewriter) was priceless. The Attic is a hands-on area in a replica of the upper story of a Victorian house. Kids can try on old clothing and explore books, toys and household items like a sewing machine and crank telephone. Just outside of the Attic, there's an area where you can test your plumbing skills by assembling pipes for your new house (once there was running water anyways, remember, this is the late 1800s!). All of the hands-on features here are amazing and I appreciated the life skills my kids were learning while "playing"... washing clothes, unclogging a sink, etc. I'm putting these kids to work as soon as I get home tonight!

First Street

First Street recreates a bank, barber shop and general store reminsent of what you would find in the late 1800s in Rogers. You can check out some of the modern interiors that were popular at the turn of the 20th century. They say everything comes back in style, so you never know, you might just get a few ideas for your home! The kids can play checkers or touch some of the artifacts from the shops while you enjoy some of the photos from historic First Street from back in the day or watch the video showing downtown Rogers in the 1910s and 1950s.

Updates

​The Rogers Historical Museum has been working toward an expanded museum through reuse of several historic buildings in Downtown Rogers. In July 2016 the Rogers City Council approved the purchase of the Old Hailey Ford building at 313 South Second Street and its designation to be used as part of the Museum’s expansion. The museum will also be reusing the old Masonic Lodge at 300 West Poplar. Since 2016 the museum has been working closely with their architects DeLeon & Primmer Architecture Workshop and Hight-Jackson, as well as Nabholz Corporation to finalize designs and construction plans.

The final step toward construction was the approval by Rogers City Council at their July 12th, 2017 meeting approving City funds upward of $2.5 million to be used toward the project.  These funds will be used in conjunction with the $3 million already secured through grants and private donations made to the Rogers Museum Foundation. The Foundation continues to raise funds for the expansion project; therefore, it is expected the Museum will not request the full $2.5 million from the City. With all the funds secured for the overall $5.5 million project, the museum expects to open by Christmas of 2018.

Hours and Location

Don't let the possibility of bad weather keep you at home this or any weekend. Get out of your house and head to the Hawkins house! The museum is located at 322 South Second Street in downtown Rogers. It's open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it's FREE! Hours of fun (and learning) at a price you can't beat!

Now, I know that discovering history can work up quite the appetite, so stick around downtown for lunch or dinner or if you just need a snack, do yourself a favor and stop in for a cupcake at either Kirby's Kupcakes. You won't regret it! Comment below and let me know what you think of your first assignment for 100 Things to Do in Rogers! Have a great weekend!

Jenn