A Stranger in America Fort Smith Museum of History Part 1
By : Hatem Dhouibi
For some reason I decided that my next article will be about Fort Smith’s Museum of History. I went, got a ticket, and I started exploring what is inside. There was nothing special actually during my tour inside the museum, or it is better to say that I did not find what I was expecting or what I was looking for, but only in the beginning. To be fair, the museum as a world of history is perfect. It contains different aspects of different historical eras of different nations.
First, let me give you readers a glimpse of the things that got my eyes open in the museum then I will tell you how the story has changed.
The most attractive thing on the first floor was the Fort Smith’s First Professional Fire Engine. This steam pumper was a symbol of Fort Smith’s growth as a city like it was said. Pulled by horse and later by a truck, first Engine was purchased in the early 1900’s. it was designed for city fire stations that employed men on a full-time basis, because its large boiler (the source of the power used to spray water onto fires) required daily heating.
Right next to the Fire Engine lays a beautiful black bell. This bell was purchased in 1888 for use in the second Sebastian county courthouse. Measuring approximately fifty inches in diameter and weighing slightly over 2500 pounds. The bell is made of eighty percent copper and twenty percent tin. Horse manure and fire sand were also used in the casting process. The bell was poured in October, 1888, by the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, Maryland.
I then took the elevator to the second floor. As I love everything about photos, videos and sounds, I just found myself walking toward the Tv and Radio stations exhibitions. The ACTS Television Camera is a KY19 model studio camera that was used in ACTS cable station studios at First Baptist Church starting in 1985 primarily for the Fort Smith Alive talk program that ran for 24 years. Also there was a black and white GE Studio camera that went into service July of 1953 when KFSA TV Channel 22 signed on the air. It stayed in operation until KFSA went color in 1969, isn’t that amazing?
On my way down, I decided to take the stairs. Before I stepped out to the first floor, I have noticed that the stairs can still lead down apparently to a basement or something. It was so dark and creepy just to look at that place. Being nosy is sometimes not a bad thing. I walked to the front desk and asked the receptionist if I can go downstairs. She turned left and right then said: “it’s creepy downstairs and you don’t want to do that, unfortunately we can’t let the public go there.” I told her that I am a writer so she can tell me what’s going on. She told me that some weird incidents have been happening. She said that she once heard someone knocking on the walls when there was no one there.
She also told me to go back and speak to her college if I am interested in some ghost stories because her co-worker had seen a lot happening in the Museum of History.
This story will be continued in History of Museum Part 2…..