Exhibits and programs interpret the history of cotton agriculture in Arkansas from statehood in 1836 through World War II, when agricultural practices quickly became mechanized. Learn about growing and picking cotton, as well as ginning and storing the seeds. Tour the 1912 museum building, Dortch Gin Building, and Seed Warehouse No. 5.
The Plantation Agriculture Museum (main building)
The museum building was originally constructed in 1912 as a general store. The smaller north wing, added in 1929, served as the Scott, Arkansas, Post Office. When the store closed and the Post Office moved in the early 1960s, local planter Robert L. Dortch converted the building into a plantation museum. Today, after Arkansas State Parks' complete structural renovation of the structure and the installation of exhibits, the museum interprets Arkansas's legacy of cotton agriculture.
The Dortch Gin Exhibit Building
Housed here is a gin that was operated by the Dortch Gin Company. The gin was first operated by steam in 1919, but by 1922, local planter Robert L. Dortch had changed up the equipment and continued changes until 1930 when this equipment was all in place. In 1938, the Dortch Gin Company had built a new gin and this gin was used on a limited basis.
Seed Warehouse No. 5
This warehouse has been restored to its 1948 appearance and exhibits explain the building's original use, describe Arkansas's main seed crops, and detail how the building works, as well as machinery that cleaned and processed seeds for planting. In 1948, Robert L. Dortch, a prominent local planter, contructed this seed warehouse to accommodate his expanding commercial seed operation. This location was chosen because of access to the highway and to the Cotton Belt Railroad. A railroad spur connected the building to the main track. The warehouse's design included a floor-to-ceiling auger system with improved ventilation and sloping sides to accommodate the shape of huge piles of seeds, consisting primarily of cotton, corn, soybeans, and oats. These seeds were shipped as far away as California. These seeds helped clothe and feed a growing nation.
Interpretive programs, and guided tours for groups and schools, are available here at the Plantation Agriculture Museum on request. Contact the museum for details.
The museum is in Scott at the junction of U.S. 165 and Ark. 161. Take Exit #7 off I-440 and go south on U.S. 165 five miles.
Gallery Pass and Self-guided Tour of Museums: Free
Historic Site Guided Tour:
Adult: $4 each
Child (6-12): $3 each
Adult Group Rates (15 or more with advance notice): $.25 off above fees
Bona Fide School Groups (with advance notice): $3/person
For more information about Arkansas State Parks historic, heritage and cultural parks, go to: http://www.historystateparks.com/