The Eureka Springs Historical Museum houses a variety of permanent and rotating exhibits, sharing the history and art of this health resort town and its people. Learn how this chaotic tent city of 10,000 souls exploded into a first class Victorian health resort.
We’re thrilled to present our new temporary exhibit showcasing the infamous Baker Hospital! This short-lived venture only operated inside the Crescent Hotel from 1937 to 1940, but left quite the impression with its unconventional medical treatments.
The exhibit features artifacts, images, and rare documents highlighting the life and tumultuous career of Norman Baker and his phoney cancer hospital here in Eureka Springs, PLUS original art by Sean Fitzgibbon from his stunning new graphic novel “What Follows is True – Crescent Hotel."
The Eureka Springs Historical Museum boasts a large collection that captures the history of our city, but equally fascinating is the art work featured in our recently renovated art gallery space. In the 1930´s Eureka Springs had a renaissance as an arts community led by the famed Louis and Elsie Freund. They created work that is now in private collections, the Smithsonian and at the Historical Museum. Their passion for art and growing our arts community can be felt today through our own 200+ artists living in the area.
Over the years Eureka Springs has been the home to hundreds of artists. The Museum has a growing collection of paintings, photographs, prints, art pottery, jewelry and sculptures by artists who have lived in the area and been inspired by its natural beauty and Victorian architecture. Some are known not only regionally, but nationally. They include Louis and Elsie Bates Freund, father and son painters Fred and Glen Swedlun, Miriam McKinnie, Tommy Thomas, Glen Gant, Ken Addington, Bettie Maffei, Gary Eagan, Charlie Stehm, Florence Fish, W.H. Farnum, F. Weatherell, and many more.
Reflecting life in Eureka Springs at the turn of the century, with an active scene of temperance leader Carry A. Nation wielding her infamous hatchet, the Eureka Springs Historical Museum is proud to feature this fully restored 1940 mural by noted WPA artist H. Louis Freund. Featuring popular Eureka landmarks such as Basin Park and Pivot Rock, the mural was originally painted inside the Art School of the Ozarks that operated in Nation's former home, “Hatchet Hall". After the school closed in 1967, the mural was removed and donated to the museum by Louis Freund.
For over 20 years, the Eureka Springs Historical Museum carefully stored the mural, until one day museum volunteer Suzanne Williams requested that the professional art restoration experts at Norton Arts examine the mural and provide an estimate of what it would cost to restore it. The mural had suffered extensive damages before being removed from Hatchet Hall, but project restoration lead Wendel Norton had admired and respected Freund’s work and had several pieces in his personal collection, and was happy to take on the project as his final “labor of love".
With support from Arkansas historian Dr. Diane Gleason, the conservation process began in December of 2018. Dr. Dawn Ward was the museum’s Director of Collections at the time, and was impressed by the efforts of the conservation team, stating, “The expertise of the team led by Wen Norton not only brought the mural back to life, but they also had the vision to re-create the setting by including the doorway and window that the mural was originally painted around.”
The “Carry A. Nation Mural” exhibit was officially opened on December 7, 2019.