Hot Spring County Museum
aka: Boyle House
The Hot Spring County Museum in Malvern (Hot Spring County) is centered upon the historic Boyle House and includes exhibits dedicated to the history and unique geography of the area.
The Boyle House, a white, two-story-tall building, was built in 1890 on the lot across from where it now sits on East 3rd Street. It was bought by Jacob and Agnus Boyle in 1897. They had come from Hope (Hempstead County) to Malvern to work for the railroad. They had ten children in the home and entertained so much that they had a table that could seat twenty-four people. Today, only four items relating to the Boyle family are in the museum: a couch, the Lena Boyle salt and pepper shaker collection, a dining room table, and a piano.
In 1969, Bruce Foreman returned to Arkansas from teaching in California and decided to established a county museum. In 1981, the Bank of Malvern, which owned the Boyle House, donated the property to Hot Spring County, and the house was moved to its present location in order for the bank to construct a parking lot. In 1990, the Hot Spring County Museum Commission accepted a donation of a 1876 log cabin from Purity George. The Dog Trot–style cabin was moved from the Tigre community in Hot Spring County to the lot on East 3rd Street. The second cabin, built in 1868, was given to the Hot Spring County Museum by the Arkansas Department of Correction, Ouachita Unit, in 2008. This one-room cabin was moved from Walco Road. These two log cabins sit on the property with the Boyle House.
The Boyle House and its surrounding property hold many treasures from the 1800s and 1900s. A war exhibit includes donated uniforms and other materials from twentieth-century wars and the Civil War, including a Liberty Loan Flag donated by the Bank of Malvern, as well as a hospital plaque displaying the names of men lost in action during the Korean War from Hot Spring County. Another exhibit in the museum is the First Lady Doll Collection, including cloth and porcelain dolls. There is a large collection of minerals and rocks from the surrounding area, along with a topographical map of Magnet Cove (Hot Spring County). Native American pottery is included in the collection. The rest of the house shows collections of items donated by community members, including a 1930s refrigerator, several typewriters, a switchboard, several cameras, a large collection of quilts, clothing from the 1800s and early 1900s, and modern pottery.
The Boyle House is open from 12:30 to 4:30 Wednesday through Friday. Annual events at the museum include Arkansas May Heritage Month, Brickfest open house, Christmas tours and receptions, and the Brickfest quilt show. School tours educate children on how Arkansas settlers lived by offering hands-on activities like butter churning.
For additional information:
LeMaster, Jeff. “Hot Spring County Museum: Discovery of the Past.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Three Rivers Edition, October 4, 2009. Online at http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2009/oct/04/hot-spring-county-museum-discovery-past-20091004/ (accessed December 2, 2017).
Henderson State University
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