C of O Attraction Guidebook: The Ralph Foster Museum

If you’re new to the Ozarks, The Ralph Foster Museum is definitely one of those museums you need to visit. Located on College of the Ozark’s campus, this museum is known as the “Smithsonian of he Ozarks” and is dedicated to the history of the Ozarks. It’s named after Ralph D. Foster, a radio pioneer and philanthropist.

Ralph Foster MuseumI could spend all day and then some in the Ralph Foster Museum because there’s simply too much to look at in just one day. With thousands of artifacts ranging from firearms, antique vehicles, art, antiques, musical instruments and so much more, you’ll be an expert on the Ozarks by the time you walk out of there.

The museum’s most well-known exhibit is the original Beverly Hillbillies truck, a 1921 Oldsmobile Model 46 Roadster. Museum staff allow guests access into the beat-up vehicle’s front seat and it’s served as a great photo op for museum guests for generations. The famous vehicle is located right at the entrance to the museum’s first exhibit so you can’t miss it.

Ralph Foster MuseumOne of the great things about Ralph Foster Museum is that if you come in anytime after 3 p.m., your admission into the museum for the next day is free! So if you don’t have time to make it through all the exhibits, you don’t have to rush. Just come back the next day.

Admission is just $5 for seniors ages 62 and older and $6 for adults. Visitors high school age and under are free.

For more information, visit www.rfostermuseum.com.

Catch the next blog in the C of O Attraction Guidebook series to read about the campus Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen.

Tomorrow Features Free Admission for Veterans at Ralph Foster Museum

In honor of Veterans Day, College of the Ozarks’ Ralph Foster Museum will be waiving the admission fee for all veterans.

The Ralph Foster Museum has been called the Smithsonian of the Ozarks, featuring thousands of exhibits that preserve the history and culture of the Ozarks.

While you’re at College of the Ozarks, stop by the Keeter Center for a delicious meal or visit the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen, the Edwards Mill or the C of O Greenhouses.

For more information about Ralph Foster Museum, visit www.rfostermuseum.com. For information about other attractions at C of O, visit www.cofo.edu.

Spend a Day at College of the Ozarks

The College of the Ozarks is a short 10 minute drive south of Branson and a wonderful way to escape the hustle and bustle of the strip. Spend a relaxing day touring the beautiful campus, exploring artifacts at the Ralph Foster Museum, picking up sweets at the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen or grab a delicious, home cooked meal from Dobyns Dining Room.

There’s something fun for the whole family at College of the Ozarks, so plan a day trip to campus next time you’re in Branson and check out some of these exciting sights.

The Keeter Center

This beautiful lodge sits right at the entrance of C of O’s campus and features beautifully rustic suites and upscale dining at Dobyn’s Dining Room or a more casual dining experience on the patio. The Keeter Center hosts small or large events throughout the year and is also the home of Nettie Marie’s Homemade Ice Cream, where the students themselves make deliciously creamy ice cream creations from the fresh dairy on campus.

Ralph Foster Museum

Learn all about the history of the Ozarks with thousands of artifacts that each have a story to tell.  Known as the “Smithsonian of the Ozarks” you’ll be lucky to make it halfway through this large museum in one day! Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and ages 18 and under are admitted free. For admission prices and more information about exhibits, click here.

Edwards Mill

See this 12-foot water wheel up close as the waters of Lake Honor feed the mill. Inside, you can watch as students grind whole-grain meal and flour, also available for purchase. Upstairs you’ll discover the weaving studio where studios handcraft rugs, shawls, placemats and more and downstairs students are busy hand-weaving baskets.

Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen

Introduce your tastebuds to one of C of O’s famous fruitcakes and you’re guaranteed to come back for more each time you’re in town. Students and supervisors bake more than 25,000 cakes per year and you can tour the kitchen to just watch or pick up some of the sweet-tasting jellies and apple butters sold there. Kitchen tours are available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information or product listings, click here.

Williams Memorial Chapel

Admire the neo-Gothic architecture of this 150-foot long and 80-foot wide structure. Make sure to bring your camera so you can snap photos of the impressive 80-foot-high vaulted ceilings, the Hyer Bell Tower and the beautiful stained glass windows. The chapel is open for Sunday services at 11 a.m. and they are open to the public.

The C of O Greenhouses

Enjoy the natural beauty of the Clint McDade orchid collection which encompasses more than 7,000 plants. Individual orchids and house plants are available for purchase or you can just browse and soak up the sun alongside the plants.

A variety of community events are held on the campus as well, so make sure you stop by the Keeter Center for information about events going on during your visit. The College of the Ozarks is located at 100 Opportunity Ave., Point Lookout, MO, just off Highway 65.


Keeter Center Celebrates 10 Years

The College of the Ozarks is one of the Branson area’s main attractions boasting much more than just a beautiful campus, and this weekend its prestigious facility, The Keeter Center, will be celebrating 10 years of open doors.

Keeter Center provides luxurious lodging with presidential suites, skyline view suites and loft suites in addition to fine dining from Dobyns Dining Room. The center also provides a large amount of meeting space for conferences, weddings and other events. Most of the operations at the center are run by current College of the Ozarks students.

It took six years to complete the construction of the Keeter Center and 250 supervised students to build it. It features 1,000 copper panels in the dining room, 20 fireplaces in all and 240,000 roof shingles. The center was named in honor of the late Mr. James P. Keeter’s parents, Ruby and Vester Keeter, who played a large role in establishing the character of the physical building and educational program.

Visitors are always welcome to come experience the Keeter Center as well as the many other highlights on campus including:

  • The Ralph Foster Museum– a home for thousands of artifacts detailing the history of the Ozarks.
  • Edwards Mill– a mill powered by a 12-foot water wheel. Inside, you can buy fresh ground whole-grain meal and flour or visit the weaving studio where students design and produce rugs, shawls and the like on looms.
  • Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen– on campus kitchen that sells homemade fruitcakes, jellies, apple butter and other goodies.
  • The C of O Greenhouses– a collection of more than 7,000 plants. Visitors can purchase individual orchids and houseplants here as well.

For more information about The Keeter Center and College of the Ozarks, visit http://www.bransonshows.com/pointsOfInterest/CollegeoftheOzarksinBransonMO.htm.

Experience the Ozarks With the White River Painting Exhibit and Sale

If you’re an artist in the Ozarks area looking to get your work out to the public, the White River Painting Exhibit and Sale is a great opportunity to do so.Painting Exhibit

The Ralph Foster Museum is inviting all Ozark artists to submit paintings for a display in Edwards Art Gallery Nov. 13- Dec. 19. The paintings should be a reflection of what the artists deems to be important about the Ozarks.

The White River Painting Exhibit and Sale has a limit of two paintings per artist that can be submitted at the Ralph Foster Museum. Submissions are accepted from Oct. 30-Nov. 12 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

The opening reception for the exhibit will be Thursday, Nov. 13 from 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. in Edwards Art Gallery at the Ralph Foster Museum.

The top three artists will receive monetary awards and honorable mentions will also be given out. Many of the paintings will also be for sale.

For more information, visit  or call 417-690-2603.

Dress the Part at College of the Ozarks’ First Annual “Afternoon Tea”

teaCollege of the Ozarks will be hosting the First Annual Afternoon Tea next Saturday at the Ralph Foster Museum from 1-3 p.m.

The event will feature a menu of old-fashioned Ozarks’ cuisine, Sassafras and flavored iced teas, admission to the museum and an Ozark Costume Contest where you’ll have the chance to win a Sunday brunch for two at the Keeter Center.

Come dressed in all your best Ozark garb and don’t forget to get your photo taken with the Beverly Hillbillies truck at the Ralph Foster Museum on the College of the Ozarks campus.

Reservations are required so call 417-690-2212, email peek@cofo.edu or visit http://www.keetercenter.edu/Page/Events/Special-Events.550.html to reserve your spot or to get more information.

Take Time to Explore the “Smithsonian of the Ozarks” near Branson

Ralph Foster MuseumBranson 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.Ralph Foster Museum

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.Ralph Foster Museum

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.Ralph Foster Museum

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.