By BOB PALMER
LRNews Staff Writer
When “Only In Arkansas” magazine listed 16 museums worth a visit in Southern Arkansas, Little River County’s Two Rivers Museum placed first. Perhaps the gothic 1860s black hearse, sans horses, that greets visitors as they enter impressed the writer.
The collection of memorabilia stretching back for more than a century certainly has a wow factor. “All I know is they placed us first,” Carolyn Castleman, museum board secretary, said this week. Keisha Pittman McKinney, author of the piece, revealed the hearse certainly caught her eye.
“The lobby of the museum hosts a Civil War-era hearse used locally throughout the county,” McKinney wrote. An arrangement much like popular boards used to carry casserole dishes to church luncheons impressed the writer.
“The hearse functions using a peg system, an early form of technology to hold the coffin in place on bumpy roads,” McKinney wrote. The article also praised volunteers who man the facility for their knowledge and grace.
The museum is full of surprising marvels and stories. You can see an early operating room with surgical tools and a metal frame perhaps used in setting broken legs. Pictures of early pioneers and events adorn the walls as you wander through a warren of rooms.
You can find the education display, newspaper display, tools and musical instruments including a player organ. Each room, each object has a story, so be sure to take the guided tour and not just go charging around on your own.
You’ll miss more than half the experience.Board President John Finley notes there is a second floor that could include more exhibits, if money were available. Finley also points out places where leaks have damaged ceiling tiles and in one spot a ceiling joist.
Recognition of Two Rivers Museum was timely. The museum does not charge admission, but their major annual fundraiser is only a few days away. The Two Rivers Barn Bash is set for Oct. 5 at Dee’s Barn and Venue.
The $50 ticket gets you prime rib prepared by Darby Neeves (Namaan’s BBQ) and entertainment by the Chasing Rita band. “The band features iconic songs from the 70s to today,” Finley said. Ashdown native Tracy Davis will be featured.
McKinney noted the mural on the side of the building is a hot spot for selfies. Barn Bash says you know Two Rivers Museum is a lot more than that.
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