Branson may a number one travel destination for live entertainment but it is also home to a rich, cultural history and several museums and art galleries. With limited vacation time, sometimes it’s hard to know which museum to spend the day exploring but one museum that’s worth taking the time to visit is the Ralph Foster Museum.
Known locally as “the Smithsonian of the Ozarks,” Ralph Foster Museum is located on College of the Ozarks‘ campus, just two miles south of Branson. The museum gets its name from Ralph Foster, one of the pioneers of radio who collected Indian artifacts and then donated them to the school. The museum was later named after him in honor of his generosity.
The Ralph Foster Museum is a vast collection of interesting artifacts, firearms, historic recreations and more detailing the history and culture of the Ozarks Mountain region. It’s easy to lose yourself amongst the museum’s three levels that are packed with fascinating things to look at and read about, so a visit here could easily last an hour or two.
One current exhibit to check out, “At Home in the Kitchen” will continue through October 2014 and is featured in Edwards Art Gallery. The exhibits takes visitors back to the time of early settlers in the Ozarks, before the days of modern conveniences when families would handcraft their own wooden bowls, forge iron utensils for eating, weave baskets for storage and many more inventive creations in an effort to make life a little easier.
The Ralph Foster Museum also offers a hands on children’s Discovery Room that allows kids ages 4-9 to explore nature, history and more with all five of their senses. It’s free open Monday-Friday.
Understandably, if you can’t make it through the whole museum in one visit, the staff will allow you to return the following day after 3 p.m. for free! Just make sure to bring your ticket receipt.
The Ralph Foster Museum is one of Branson’s must see educational and historical attractions and is more than worth the time to check it out. So on your next vacation to Branson, make sure to stop by!
The Ralph Foster Museum is open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and is located on campus at College of the Ozarks. For a map and directions, visit http://www.rfostermuseum.com/Page/Hours.672.html.