If you have an interest in Arkansas military history, visiting the Little Rock Arsenal and the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History will be a trip well worth your time. The museum is located in the Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal, which was the birthplace of General Doublas MacArthur. Exhibits include weapons, documents, artifacts, photos, and uniforms that illustrate the military history of the state, both domestically and overseas. Admission to the museum is free and they are open Tuesday through Friday from 9 am until 4 pm, Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm until 4 pm.
The Tower Building is located in MacArthur Park which is in downtown Little Rock. It was constructed in 1840 as part of Little Rock's first military installation. It has since been the site of two museums, including the Arkansas Museum of Natural History and Antiquities until 1997, and the MacArthur Museum of Military History, which it has been since 2001. Aside from museums, the park and building have been used for a variety of different things throughout its existence. It was the headquarters of the United Confederate Veterans Reunion in 1911, when over 100,000 Civil War vets gathered together. The area was also a popular camping destination at this time. The building later became the site of the Arkansas National Guard. In 1912, the top floor was converted to Little Rock's first public library. The Little Rock fire station was built in the park in 1917, and in 1936, a Museum of Fine Arts was created. This building is located south of the Tower Building and is now known as the Arkansas Arts Center.
The Tower Building was renovated in 1942 and renamed MacArthur Park as it is known today. It later became a member of the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. In 2001, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History opened in the Tower Building, creating an environment designed to educate and inform visitors about the state's military history. The museum also intends to preserve the Tower Building, honor veterans of United States Wars, and have an officially dedicated site for the birthplace of General MacArthur.
In addition to the history lessons available in the tower, the site hosts a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre event that is ongoing. This popular activity is a big draw in Little Rock for those who enjoy hijinks, murder, mayhem, and horror, all while dining on delicious food and enjoying social interaction with others. This is one of the most popular murder mystery destinations because the building in which it occurs is thought to be one of the most haunted in the southern United States. Groups of 30 - 100 people are welcome to attend and the cost is $42 per person.
The Little Rock Arsenal is a unique destination filled with history. If you are in the Little Rock area and you have an interest in Civil War history or the history of Arkansas, give the museum a try.