Welcome to the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources!
The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources opened to the public in 1986 and sits about a mile south of the oil rich town of Smackover in southern Arkansas.
In 1925, the town of Smackover grew from a population of 100 to 25,000 during south Arkansas's oil boom. The forty-square-mile Smackover oil field was the focus of one of the fastest mineral booms in North America with 1,000 wells drilled and a yearly production of sixty-nine million barrels in 1925. For five months, the Smackover Field ranked first among the nation's oil fields.
However, due to a lack of conservation laws, the natural gas that provided the pressure necessary to remove the petroleum escaped, the saltwater that rose with the oil polluted the landscape, and by the early 1930s, the oil boom was over.
The south Arkansas oil fields expanded throughout a ten-county area and though the boom is over, theyare still producing petroleum today. Bromine is derived from brine, or saltwater and Columbia and Union counties stretch over one of the largest brine reserves in the world. In fact, 95 percent of the products we use daily are made of or with oil and brine, two of Arkansas’s natural resources.
The museum holds a 25,000 square feet main exhibition center where you will learn where oil and bromine are located throughout the world, walk through a simulated core shaft and take a trip 200 million years back in time to the Jurassic Period. Stroll the streets of Boomtown and pay a visit to the jail or stop off at the circus truck and meet the famous Goat Woman. Kids won't want to leave the do ityourself Tinkering Studio.
The museum also contains a 10,800 square foot collection and archive center with vintage gas pumps and memorabilia, a research center, as well as a museum store and gift shop.
When you step outside and walk the paved ADA accessible trail, you’ll see working oil field equipment used in the area, including a replica of a 112-foot wooden derrick. You'll also find two shaded picnic areas on the museum grounds, perfect for a lunch break.
The museum staff offer a wide variety of year-round educational and interpretive programs, field trips and teacher guides, along with special events like Tinker Fest and Holiday Lights. The best part...admission to the museum is free!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources and we encourage you to get out and experience The Natural State! For more information on the park, visit ArkansasStateParks.com
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