In the 1920s, nationwide attention focused on south Arkansas when the Smackover field was ranked first among the nation's oil fields. For five months in 1925, the 40-square-mile Smackover field was the focal point of one of the wildest mineral booms in North America. Today, south Arkansas's oil fields produce petroleum throughout a 10-county area.
Columbia and Union counties also stretch over one of the largest brine reserves in the world. Bromine is derived from brine, or saltwater, and local companies play an international role in the commercialization of bromine and its many applications
The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover, featuring state-of-the-art indoor exhibits as well as working equipment on display outside in its adjacent Oil Field Park, shares the fascinating stories of this region’s natural resources, with emphasis on petroleum and brine recovered for bromine extraction. The museum features a 25,000-square-foot main exhibition/research building that includes a 10,500-square-feet exhibit hall, orientation theater, exhibit work area, research center, and museum store/gift shop.
Explore the museum and walk the streets of a 1920s Arkansas boom town or travel back 200 million years ago to discover the origins of oil. Take a chance drilling and see if you will become an oil tycoon, or go flat broke. Learn how 95 percent of the products we use daily are made of or with oil and brine, two of Arkansas's natural resources.
Tour the Oil Field Park adjacent to the main building. Walk along its paved trail past full-sized operating examples of vintage derricks and equipment used from the 1920s to the modern era. See a re-creation of a 1920s standard rig and a 112-foot wooden derrick.
The museum staff offer a wide variety of year-round educational and interpretive programs. Choose from guided tours of the museum and the Oil Field Park, films, lectures, field trips, special demonstrations, and other activities. The museum's research center includes a special collection of library, archival, and photographic materials that emphasize the history of this region. Computerized data of Arkansas’s petroleum and brine development are available to researchers and members of the oil and brine industries. Custom-fit educational programs are also available for students of all ages. The museum's education center is located behind the main building. Two shaded picnic areas are on the museum grounds within walking distance.
Admission to the museum is free.
The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources is on Ark. 7 two miles south of Smackover.
Museum Meeting Areas
(100-person capacity each)
Indoor Meeting Room $260/use
Outdoor Group Area $75/use
Library Meeting Room $80/use