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The Daisy Airgun Museum in historic downtown Rogers (Benton County) attracts visitors from all over the world, due in part to the popularity of the Daisy BB gun that was once a staple of childhood in America. People visit in order to experience Daisy’s history and to buy unique collectibles and souvenirs.
Daisy Manufacturing was founded as the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company in Plymouth, Michigan, in 1882. It made windmills of steel when others made them of wood. The steel windmills were not well received, and in 1888, the company was considering bankruptcy. Its president was presented with a prototype steel BB gun, which he shot into his wastebasket and later fired through a wood shingle. He exclaimed, “Boy, that’s a daisy.” According to legend, the gun, named Daisy, was given as a premium item to farmers who bought a windmill. By 1889, the manufacture of windmills was discontinued in favor of airguns, and in 1895, the company’s name was changed to Daisy Manufacturing.
Seeking a more centrally located manufacturing facility, Daisy moved to Rogers in 1958. The state-of-the-art plant was built south of town. Eight years later, a one-story brick and glass addition was built to house a collection of antique airguns. This first Daisy museum in Rogers was dedicated on September 21, 1966. The museum consisted of six upright cases and two flat display cases housing antique airguns from Europe as well as an excellent representation of the company’s product, dating to the 1880s.
In 1997, when Daisy Manufacturing began outsourcing the manufacturing of parts, an assembly operation was established in Neosho, Missouri. Daisy’s headquarters remained in a Rogers industrial park. Recognizing that the industrial park was not an adequate home for the museum, the company sought a different location. An old bank building at 114 South 1st Street became available. In March 2000, First Lady Janet Huckabee “shot the ribbon” to open the new Daisy museum.
On October 25, 2004, the museum was relocated to the corner of 2nd and Walnut streets. This historic building, dating to 1896 and known as the former Rexall Drug building, was selected for the high visibility to tourists traveling U.S. 62 and visiting historic downtown Rogers.
Today, the museum houses an expanded collection of airguns and displays of antique furnishings, posters, postcards, photos, letters, advertisements, catalogs, promotional materials, and World War II items. The mission of the non-profit museum is to preserve and protect the collection of airguns and artifacts related to the history of Daisy and to make it available to the public. In addition, the museum serves a growing community of collectors of Daisy guns and memorabilia.
Daisy’s products are available in the gift shop. The museum also creates and markets limited-edition airguns and other collectibles. The Daisy Airgun Museum, a 501c3 corporation governed by a board of directors, is supported by admissions, donations, and gift shop sales. Open Tuesday through Saturday, the museum offers tours to individuals on a walk-in basis and to groups by appointment. It is closed on major holidays.
For additional information:Daisy Airgun Museum. http://www.daisymuseum.com/ (accessed July 10, 2006).
Joe MurfinDaisy Outdoor Products
Last Updated 5/16/2007
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