Local museums prove essential in preserving and sharing the region’s rich history and culture
A Ferris wheel from the 1935 World’s Fair is on display at the Park at West End in downtown Fort Smith. The park is open seasonally from late April through October.
Fort Smith is a community equally concerned with the past, present, and future of its city. Take for example Fort Smith Museum of History, whose mission involves sharing two centuries worth of information about the region. Founded in 1910, the museum is now housed in the Atkinson-Williams Hardware Warehouse building, a structure only slightly older than the institution itself. “We joke and call the building our biggest artifact, but it really is,” says executive director Caroline Speir. A Fort Smith native, Caroline has memories of enjoying and learning from the very museum where she’s worked for the past 15 years. She also has family ties to the role, with an aunt who once served as the museum’s director and a mother who was a Fort Smith history aficionado in her own right.