Two Rivers Museum
Backstory and Context
The Two Rivers Museum is located on the corner of Constitution Avenue and Main Street, in Ashdown, Arkansas. It was opened in 2005 by the Little River Historical Society, to help preserve the history if the surrounding area and the building it’s located in. It got its name from being in-between the Little River and Red River. The museum is running completely by volunteers, who sign up for certain days a week and they must volunteer at least 3 hours a month. All of the exhibit or display items have all been donated by surrounding business, local people, schools, and churches. Everything in the museum was donated by someone.
Before it was converted into the museum, it went through a few different owners to be different stores. “The Two Rivers Museum is located in the Bishop building in the Ashdown Commercial Historic District. The building is a renovated hundred-year-old storefront that was once a pharmacy and, more recently, an antique store. The Bishop building, built in 1908, is a two-story brick structure with a flat roof and a parapet. The structure was part of the American movement commercial style A cornerstone is on the east façade. While the building has had multiple owners, it has maintained its original brickwork and frame. On May 20, 2008, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a part of the Ashdown Commercial Historic District.”1
There are many exhibits and displays inside, you will find time will fly by as you start to take a look around. They have added new displays in the past few years and some of them are listed next. Some of the displays are Porcelain doll collection, Walter Ray Matthews, a horse-drawn hearse, and many other things. This mentions more of the thing you’ll see inside. “The museum has an extensive collection of artifacts, most of which are associated with the history and people of Ashdown, and more broadly with Little River County. Exhibits about individuals involved in the military, Kaufman Seeds, and other primary industries in the area tell the story of the development of Ashdown. The various exhibits display the history of early residents of Ashdown, including the stories of farmers, lawyers, doctors, and railroad workers. Significant portions of the museum are dedicated to war. The military display is titled “Freedom’s Heroes.” Military artifacts emphasize World War I and World War II; uniforms, medals, and guns from citizens of the area are on display. Another exhibit honors the late Henry Kaufman, an immigrant of German-Jewish descent who founded Kaufman Seeds in Ashdown. Some of the large pieces available for viewing include a large black hearse, a wooden embalming table, and an old wooden post office.”1 They also have the annual Christmas at the Museum Land of Trees. This is where different organizations around the county decorate a small Christmas tree that is displayed at the museum.
Little River County’s Two Rivers museum was created to preserve the history of the county. There are displays from events that happened before the museum was opened. The Ashdown Telephone Exchange, the wooden post office, a black horse-drawn hearse, Walt Matthews, and many others. These are the reasons that it was opened, it could display these items from them and others after there over, closed, or retired.
There were many displays when the museum hadn’t been open very long and has been adding displays ever since. The displays range from Civil War era items to famous people who lived or went to school in the county. It’s located in a storefront that has held many different stores and is well over a hundred years old on the corner of Main Street and
1. Eric Nicholson, “Kaufman Seeds, 68-year Fixture in Ashdown, Closing,” Captialpress.com, December 13, 2018, Accessed March 14, 2019, https://www.capitalpress.com/ag_sectors/kaufman-seeds--year-fixture-in-ashdown-closing/article_b52ec3ed-4170-5372-9060-bc98ebfc1854.html.
2. Hannah Wahls, “Two Rivers Museum,” Osage - Encyclopedia of Arkansas, June 16, 2017, Accessed February 22, 2019, http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=5838.