Desha County Historical Society

Dedicated to the preservation and declaration
of the rich history and culture of
Desha County, Arkansas

Renovated 1906 Courthouse

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 Photo by McGehee Dermott Times-News

                                                                                      
                 
Must See Museums of Desha County

 

 The Desha County Museum, located on Hwy 165 North from Dumas, AR is a collection of memorabilia and buildings that bring the past alive.  The grounds contain an 1828 church, a stocked country store, a building with period farm machinery and equipment, and an 1850 log house.  The log house features authentic furniture and household items in a setting that steps back in time.    The main building houses displays including a school room, a printing office, bank teller windows, a barber shop and a wall of post office boxes.  Display cases feature women's apparel from a wedding gown to nightgowns and period memorabilia.    Uniforms from WWII and Vietnam donated by families of veterans speak of the sacrifice given for their country.  One room displays Dumas High School class portraits, photos, and remembrances.  A large collection of photos documenting the special occasions of Desha County citizens which were captured by Duke Studstill are there for browsing.  The Veterans' Memorial stands on the museum grounds as a solemn reminder of the county's fallen military sons.

The Museum is located on Hwy 165 East from Dumas, AR.  It is open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.  Admission is free. More information can be obtained and special tours arranged by calling 870-382-4222 during museum hours.  Email: deshacountymuseum@yahoo.com
 

    The Jerome-Rohwer Interpretive Museum and Visitor Center is located at 100 S. Railroad Street in McGehee, AR inside  of the historic railroad depot.  The Center tells the story in first person letters, art work, displays, and visual media of the internment camps that housed Japanese-Americans in Rohwer and Jerome, AR.  After President Roosevelt signed the Japanese Relocation Act in 1942 around 17,000 men, women, and children were forcibly removed from their homes on the West Coast and transported to remote locations in Desha and Drew County.  The museum vividly shares the trials of daily living for those held within the fences of the camps, the local county citizens who felt compassion for or indifference to their plight, and the struggles of all to make the best of the circumstances that were thrust upon them.  Japanese-Americans and local citizens who experienced the camps have shared items, pictures, and paintings that were part of their lives during that time.  These shared artifacts have been grippingly displayed in the Center.  After viewing a film produced by PBS giving the historical background that led up to the creation of the camps and the life within the walls of the camps a  visitor can see writings, paintings, and artifacts  that give the visitor a glimpse into the life of the imprisoned.

The Visitor Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.  Admission is free.  For questions or directions call 870-222-9168 and find them on Facebook. 
 

The Rohwer Relocation Center Site, located on Hwy 1 at Rohwer, AR, has recorded stories of George Takei of Star Trek and others who were held between 1942 and 1945.  Audio kiosks have been placed to show some of the points of interest of the site that no longer exist.  Monuments have been placed by the Japanese-Americans to commemorate the brave Japanese-American soldiers who fought for America while their families were held in Arkansas.  A cemetery at the site is the burial place of the Japanese-Americans who died while imprisoned.   

                                                              

                                                         

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   Projects at Desha County Museum are funded in part by donations from citizens like you and by grants from Desha County Industrial Foundation, City of Dumas, Desha County, Arkansas Humanities Council, Clearwater Paper Corp.

   Jerome-Rohwer Museum made possible by McGehee Industrial Foundation, National Park Service, Arkansas Economic Development Commission and Arkansas Rural Services.

 






 



  Funds for development of Relocation Site provided by Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant administered by National Park Service and by Arkansas State University.

 

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