Plantation Agriculture Museum - Scott, Arkansas - Museum

The Plantation Agriculture Museum is located at the junction of U.S. 165 and Arkansas 161 in Scott, Arkansas. Anyone travelling by car should take Exit 7 off Interstate 440 then go south on U.S. 165 and carry on for five miles to get to the museum. The opening hours are 8am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and 1pm to 5pm Sundays, whilst staying closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Day and New Year's Day.

The building was originally constructed in 1912 and started life as a general store and post office until the early 1960s, when local planter Robert Dortch changed it to a plantation museum. The museum has several exhibits and displays providing visitors with a detailed history of cotton agriculture practices between 1836 through to World War II. Visitors can wander round the museum to view the exhibits by themselves, although hour long guided tours and interpretive programs can be arranged by booking in advance.

The exhibits tell many stories from this hundred year period including that of Scott Bond, who gained freedom from slavery aged 13 and worked hard to become one of the most prosperous farmers in Arkansas. Visitors will also learn of the lifestyles of the farmers and their families, including how they produced dairy products for themselves and the locals and there is also a 1920s version of a farm kitchen. The year of 1927 saw a terrible flood in Arkansas and one of the exhibits has photos from this time and tells the story of how it impacted the people in the area.

Around the time of the Second World War farming here became more mechanized and this is illustrated by the exhibit on the steam powered traction engines. The museum also provides an insight into how cotton was grown and picked using manual labor and animals, with some of the equipment of the time displayed here too. The Dortch Cotton Gin Exhibit Building shows how the ginning process worked with detailed explanations of each piece of equipment that was used.

Special programs can be arranged for school groups and set to meet specific needs with a special reduced admission price offered to the student groups. There is a gift shop at the museum where visitors can purchase souvenirs such as farm toys, games and t-shirts. It also features a bookshop with literature covering a number of topics such as cookery, tractors, crafts, the Civil War, slavery and the history of Arkansas.

Another attraction in Scott is the Toltec Mounds State Park on Toltec Mounds Road, which is approximately eight kilometers from the Plantation Agriculture Museum. Here visitors can see the tallest Native American mounds in Arkansas and it also has a visitor center with exhibits and guided tours along two trails. There are a couple of restaurants in Scott should visitors be looking for somewhere to dine including Cotham's Mercantile on Highway 161 and the B & B Grill & Bar on Highway 165.

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