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Museum of American History

The Museum of American History, formerly known as The Museum/Cabot High, is the only student-founded and -operated museum of history in Arkansas. The award-winning museum, which is owned by the Cabot School District, was founded in 1985 on the campus of Cabot High School and was later moved to a building in downtown Cabot (Lonoke County).

The idea for a museum operated by teachers and students originated in 1981 after high school teacher Mike Polston observed how historical artifacts sparked his students’ interest. He and fellow teacher David Howard formed a school history club with the stated goal of collecting, preserving, and displaying objects associated with the history of the United States. Exhibits were initially constructed in the school library; the first exhibit was on presidential campaigns. Eventually, the exhibits moved to a room in one of the older buildings. Over time, that building and its five rooms housed the museum, which was officially established in 1985. With the rapid growth of the school and the need for new classrooms, the building, which was in disrepair, was removed in 2003. The museum collection was placed in storage in 2003, where it remained until 2008. At that time, an agreement was made with the City of Cabot to lease a vacant downtown building at 114 South First Street to house the museum.

The museum collection has grown to more than 5,000 artifacts, photographs, and documents. Major exhibits include Cabot school history, presidential campaigns, military operations, and Arkansas musicians. The museum has received a number of awards. In 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2008, museum exhibits were designated Exhibit of the Year by the Arkansas Museum Association (AMA). In 2003, the museum was named the Museum of the Year by the AMA.

For additional information:
Hofheimer, John. “Remember When: Step Back to the Past Inside Historic Cabot High School.” The Leader. March 16, 2002, p. 5A.

“Museum of American History Opening.” http://www.cabotschools.org/news/159/museum-of-american-history-opening (accessed July 21, 2014).

Wallace, Michelle. “History Lives On.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Three Rivers Edition. October, 30, 2005, pp. 1S, 4S.

———. “Politically Speaking.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Three Rivers Edition. October 22, 2006, pp. 1S, 4S.

Widner, Amy. “Trail to the White House: Cabot Museum Celebrates New Home with Election Exhibit.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Three Rivers Edition. October 16, 2008, pp. 1S, 2S.

Mike Polston
Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Last Updated 10/27/2016

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