Sunday, June 23, 2024

Two Top 10 Museums in the Aux Arcs

 Location: Hickory Creek Campground (COE); Northwest Arkansas

I didn't list a town for this campground because there are so many that are close by that I just listed the location as Northwest Arkansas. I originally had reservations in a campground about 30 miles north of here but the Corps had to close that campground because a tornado hit it a few weeks ago causing severe damage. I was lucky in two ways. One by not being in the campground when the storm hit, and two, by being able to find a vacancy at this campground on such short notice. 

Over the last few weeks, I have grown used to having a water view at my campsite but this one, although near the water, doesn't have nice watery view. This is also the first of my campground where I've stopped for four days instead of three. I did this on purpose because I've learned over the years that I routinely need a longer stay about every three weeks to "let time catch up".  Think about that for a second. When was the last time that you spent a day seeing everything for the first time. Now multiply that by three weeks. When moving every three days and seeing all new stuff, it takes a while for my mind to categorize and file away all of the new memories (silent echoes).

This picture is for all of the RV travelers out there who have visited (explored?) a campground dump station. This is from my last campground as I was leaving. The weather wasn't too hot, there wasn't a waiting line, no one was behind me so I wasn't rushed, there was water from the black tank flush, there was pavement instead of dirt or rock. I know non-RV'ers are going to think I'm crazy. I'm OK with that because I've learned over the years, I may be, just a little though.
My current campsite. Nice morning and evening shade. Today is moving day.
The view out my back window. That is a road in the distance going to the marina, but still nice. 

This area is on the southern edge of the Ozarks. Remember, earlier this year, when we explored the Arkansas River through the state, we learned the Ozarks are generally north of Interstate 40 and the Ouachita Mountains are south of the interstate. It's interesting in how the Ozarks got their name. As the French trappers where exploiting/exploring the lands of the Illini Indians of Illinois, they were told about the Quapaw Indians which the Illini called the "Arcansas's" which meant "people of the south wind". The French didn't like the Indian word so they changed it to "Arkansas". That word came to represent this entire region and became the name of the major river. They established a trading post near the junction of the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers called "The Arkansas Post". We explored that area earlier this year. Lots of circles being completed, uh? The official French documents in the late 1600's and early 1700's used the term "Aux Arcs" to describe this area of the Quapaws. Along came the English and whenever they heard or read the words Aux Arcs, they would pronounce it as Ozarks. The name stuck and carries on till today.

I only did a minimal amount of exploring because it was supposed to be more of rest stop but I was rewarded with two great museums. 

Yeah, you read that last sentence correctly. After not finding a really good museum in a while, I got lucky (get your mind out of the gutter, not that kind of lucky). I found two museums that rank in the top 10 of the museums I've explored. I haven't counted them up recently, but I would estimate the number being greater than 100. Over the years I've become jaded to museums but can never resist exploring one that sounds interesting. 

I believe these two were way above average because their subject matter covered thousands of years. Too many museums are focused only on one thing and usually one time frame. You would think that would make it easier to drill down deeper in what they are showcasing. I guess if I had lots more time to spend studying the subject, I may like it more. But, moving quickly like I do, I only need a surface view. These two museums gave me an option to dig deeper or not. Life is always easier if you have options. I dug deeper in some areas and not so much in others. I spent about 2 hours in each of the museums and came away feeling about right. With most museums, it seems I either feel disappointed and at other times I'm blown away. Uhhmmm,,,, I wonder if it's me or the museums? In terms of ranking, I would rate both about an 8 1/2 to 9 out of a possible 10.

The first one was the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. It is a very nice city-owned museum that covers this entire area going back thousands of years. 

I could have stayed at this one for a lot longer but school buses of children began showing up which encouraged me to move on down the road. The children were very orderly so that wasn't a problem. It was just time to move on.
This is the best geographical representation of the Ozarks that I've found over the years. Wow, I can still spit out weasel words when I need to,,,,lol

They had some nice and interesting things. This represents of the prehistoric things found in the Ozarks. I also got a new "thinking bench" to try out. A little uncomfortable, but OK.

The same bench. I include this picture because of the picture in the background of the elephant/mammoth. 

The second great museum was the Museum of Native American History. Surprisingly, it is a privately owned and operated museum using things mostly from a person's private collection. Like the other museum, it covers things going back thousands of year as well as places in Central and South America. If you're into arrowheads, this is the place for you. There must be at least a couple thousand of them on display. They are grouped by name and locations. Very impressive. 

The sign at the door warns people that mammoth sounds are ahead. 

This is what you're greeted with as you enter the door. It a recreation of a wooly mammoth skeleton complete with sounds. Of course they are just guessing at the sound since no one knows for sure. 

The museum also includes several paintings. I liked this one of some plains Indians. It must have been an important place they were going to because of the highly decorative headdress and lance. If it was simply a hunting party, they would have been dressed more simply.

Everything was displayed perfectly and had excellent descriptions. You also carried a listening device that would give you more information by pressing a number shown near the display.

This one was interesting. It is decorative, maybe useful, things from the Mayans of Central America.

This takes us back to North America. It is a calendar made by an Indian names Lone Dog. He would ask the elders of the tribe what event should be used to represent the current year. He would then draw a image to represent it onto a bison hide. It begins in the center and spirals outward. The time frame is from 1800 to 1870. 

This is the legend key to the symbols used by Lone Dog

just some of the elaborate headdresses.

I got this picture as I was heading out. To me, it represents books, sculpture and painting. Three pretty good things.

Today is moving day and with only one campground in the state this time, I'll be leaving Arkansas behind. I'll be heading into the heart of the Ozarks to another COE campground, this one in Missouri. It looks like it will be kind of rural and remote so I hope there is a good cell signal so I can have internet. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road. 

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