The museum’s collections reflect and support the museum’s mission to educate the public about the history and traditions of Rogers and the surrounding area of Northwest Arkansas. The collections have been developed over the years to meet the expanding needs of both the public and the staff. A collections management policy (PDF) contains guidelines for each collection.
The Permanent Collection contains over 50,000 objects which are used for in-house exhibits, research, and loans. Objects from this collection include:
- A crown from the 1920s Apple Blossom Festival, a tremendous promotional celebration for the area in the era of large apple harvests
- A desk, photos, magazines, and other memorabilia of local author Tom Morgan, humorist and friend and contemporary of Will Rogers
- The death mask of William Hope "Coin" Harvey, promoter of the free silver standard, presidential candidate, and developer of a local resort town
- The effects of Rogers’ native Betty Blake, wife of Will Rogers, including her printer’s stick, mandolin, and suitcase
Every year hundreds of wonderful items are generously donated to the Permanent Collection of the Rogers Historical Museum. Whether noteworthy or everyday, these objects help us understand the rich history of Benton County and give us insight into her people and their way of life, both yesterday and today. Each month we'll feature a donation and provide a bit of historical context for it. View our Donation of the Month page for more information. Enjoy!
The Permanent Collections’ major categories include:
- Business items, armaments, toys, and examples of various folk arts made in this area
- Furniture and household items, the majority of which create the scene of early Rogers middle-class home life in the Museum’s historic 1895 Hawkins House
- Paintings, drawings, and posters, many depicting Rogers subjects and scenes, including a large collection produced by local artist Elsie Mistie Sterling
The Teaching Collection consists of objects which are either reproductions, duplicates of objects in the Permanent Collection, or objects without historical documentation or local significance. Objects in this collection are used by visitors in the hands-on exhibit The Attic, and are displayed in the period stores of the First Street exhibit, or are used for in-house and outreach educational purposes, including Discovery Boxes, programs, and tours.
The Research Collection consists of magazine and newspaper articles, books, research manuscripts, maps, and photocopies of historical documents and local directories, as well as museum-generated research reports and oral histories. Objects in this collection are frequently used for public and staff research. Also includes modern prints, slides, and negatives of present-day or historical scenes either created by, donated to, or loaned to the museum. These images can be, with permission, used for programs, publicity, research, publications, and exhibits.
The museum archives consists of posters, programs, and props that document the museum’s history.
How to Donate
The museum collects historical objects that document the rich and unique history of Rogers and Benton County from 1819, when the Arkansas Territory was formed, to the present. Photographs, costumes, documents, and memorabilia are just a portion of what the museum collects. The museum also collects objects from the late Victorian period that represent turn-of-the-20th-century life in Benton County.
If you have an object or a collection of objects which you would like to donate to the museum, please call first to ascertain whether or not we can accept the donation. Contact our collections manager Jennifer Kick via email or at 479-621-1154.