Learn Your Branson History at the Branson Centennial Museum

The Branson Centennial Museum is a celebration of Branson’s past, present and future, featuring several exhibits honoring area traditions, performers and history.

I stopped in the museum last week and spent some time reading up on the fascinating history of the area and how this well-known town became all that it is today.

The museum opened its doors in 2012, exactly 100 years after the city of Branson was incorporated. The White River Valley Historical Society and the Chamber of Commerce put forth a team effort to consistently educate the visitors and residents with educational exhibits encompassing the history of the Branson area.

The exhibits regularly rotate throughout the year so you’re bound to see something new each and every time you stop in. Currently there are several different exhibits to explore as well as a short video about the importance of Table Rock Dam to watch.

Each display features interesting historic items and photographs like the original cash register of the Owen family’s drugstore on the corner of Main and Commercial in historic downtown Branson. (For those who don’t know, the Owen family played a large part in the development of the city of Branson.) The antique cash register was discovered in the basement of the “If The Shoe Fits” shop on Commercial Street in downtown Branson.

One of my favorite exhibits was a timeline that highlighted some of the important historical dates in the city’s history. I learned a lot reading through it and loved looking at all the old photos. It was fun to compare pictures of Branson 150 years ago to the way it looks today. The timeline also told the story of the very first permanent residents of the land that is now downtown Branson. The land was owned by 15-year-old teenage Calvin Smith Gayler and his 14-year-old wife. They moved to their White River property back in 1839 and began farming the land and harvesting fruit from their large garden. And today it’s a popular location for shopping and dining in Branson.

History buffs will love the Branson Centennial Museum as well as those who are just curious about the tri-lakes area and its humble beginnings. Visitors will also enjoy the small gift shop and large collection of books about Branson for sale.

The museum is at 101 Veterans Blvd. in historic downtown Branson, just up the road from The Landing. Hours are 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. and admission is free.

For more information, please visit www.wrvhs.org.

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