On Armed Forces Day, visit the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

Today is Armed Forces Day.

The third Saturday of May is designated each year as a day to celebrate the men and women who serve in the various branches of the United States armed forces.

On Saturday, May 19, 2001 (which was Armed Services Day that year), the City of Little Rock opened the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.  Tomorrow, the museum celebrates its 18th birthday.

Though the museum is only 18 years old, the building in which it is located, is 171 years old.  Last year, the building was closed for several months as it received a much needed refurbishment.

Today, the Museum’s exhibits include

  • Vietnam, America’s Conflict
  • Fiction and Fantasy
  • From Turbulence to Tranquility: The Little Rock Arsenal
  • Capital In Crisis: Little Rock and the Civil War
  • Alger Cadet Gun
  • Camden Expedition
  • David Owen Dodd Story
  • First Call: American Posters of World War I
  • The Sun Never Sets on the Mighty Jeep: The Jeep During World War II
  • Through the Camera’s Eye: The Allison Collection of World War II Photographs
  • Conflict and Crisis: The MacArthur-Truman Controversy
  • Duty, Honor and Country: General Douglas MacArthur
  • By the President in the Name of Congress: Arkansas’s Medal of Honor Recipients

Visitors to MacArthur Park today can also interact with the various outdoor memorials and monuments which pay tribute to various phases of Arkansas’ military history.

Armed Forces Day in Little Rock – Birthday of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

Today is Armed Forces Day.

The third Saturday of May is designated each year as a day to celebrate the men and women who serve in the various branches of the United States armed forces.

On Saturday, May 19, 2001 (which was Armed Services Day that year), the City of Little Rock opened the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.  Today, the museum celebrates its 17th birthday.  However, it is temporarily closed to the public for renovations.

Though the museum is only 17 years old, the building in which it is located, is 170 years old.  It is undergoing a much-needed renovation and restoration in order to continue to serve for at least 170 more years.

Visitors to MacArthur Park today can still interact with the various outdoor memorials and monuments which pay tribute to various phases of Arkansas’ military history.

Heritage Month – U.S. Arsenal Tower Building

MacPark ArsenalToday is Armed Forces Day.  It is an appropriate day to look at the U. S. Arsenal Tower Building.  Construction on the Little Rock Arsenal began in 1838 and was completed in 1840.  The complex grew to include more than thirty buildings. The arsenal building itself was a two story brick building with an unusual central octagonal tower between two wings. The tower was actually used to move munitions between floors of the building. Other buildings included office buildings, a storehouse, a magazine, a guardhouse, a hospital and other service structures. The hospital and service structures were built of wood.

On 25 Jul 1873 the Little Rock Arsenal became the Little Rock Barracks and remained that until the facility was abandoned 25 Sep 1890. The tower building was converted into married officer quarters. Douglas MacArthur was born 26 Jan 1880, in the tower building at the Little Rock Barracks to then Captain Arthur MacArthur, Jr. and his wife.

The site was turned over to the city 23 Apr 1892, stipulated for use as a city park. In return, the City of Little Rock gave the U.S. Government 1,000 acres  on which Fort Logan H. Roots was established by the U.S. Congress on the same date, 23 Apr 1892. All of the remaining buildings on the original site were sold or destroyed except the Arsenal Tower building.

The land became known as City Park and later MacArthur Park.  The Tower Building remained empty and in deteriorating condition until the late 1930s, when the City of Little Rock renovated the building.  For many years, the Aesthetic Club met in the building as the only tenant.  When others refused to pay the utilities, the Aesthetic Club members did.  The organization continues to meet in the building.

In 1942, the Museum of Natural History and Antiquities opened in the building; it had previously been located in Little Rock’s City Hall. The name of the museum changed in 1964 to the Museum of Science and Natural History, and again in 1983 to the Arkansas Museum of Science and History. In 1997, the museum moved to a new location in the River Market, where it now is known as the Museum of Discovery.

In May 2001, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History opened in the building.

The structure was listed in National Register of Historic Places on July 28, 1970.  It was designated a National Historic Landmark on April 19, 1994.

Armed Forces Day – Visit the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

macmusToday is Armed Forces Day.  It is a good day to visit Little Rock’s museum devoted to Arkansas’ military heritage.  Located in the historic Arsenal Tower in MacArthur Park, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History honors the Arkansans who have served in the armed forces.  Exhibits feature artifacts, photographs, weapons, documents, uniforms and other military items that vividly portray Arkansas’s military history at home and abroad.

The exhibits include:

  • From Turbulence to Tranquility: The Little Rock Arsenal
  • Capital In Crisis and Celebration: Little Rock and the Civil War
  • Alger Cadet Gun
  • Camden Expedition
  • David Owen Dodd
  • Through the Camera’s Eye: The Allison Collection of World War II Photographs
  • By the President in the Name of Congress: Arkansas’ Medal of Honor Recipients
  • Conflict and Crisis: The MacArthur- Truman Controversy
  • Duty, Honor and Country: General Douglas MacArthur
  • The Sun Never Sets on the Mighty Jeep: The Jeep During World War II
  • War and Remembrance: The 1911 United Confederate Veterans Reunion
  • First Call – American Posters of World War I
  • Undaunted Courage, Proven Loyalty: Japanese American Soldiers in World War II
  • Vietnam, America’s Conflict

The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is a museum of the City of Little Rock.  It is led by executive director Stephan McAteer who works with the MacArthur Military History Museum Commission.  The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 4pm, Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm.