Original Location – Main Street
Renowned Arkansas author Bernie Babcock opened the Museum of Natural History & Antiquities in 1927 on Main Street. It is the oldest museum in Arkansas. The original collection featured a large number of curiosities, including the well-publicized “Head of a Chicago Criminal.”
Second Location – City Hall
Mrs. Babcock gave the museum to the City of Little Rock as a Christmas present in 1929, and the museum moved to City Hall. When city leaders decided they needed the space the museum occupied in City Hall, the museum closed in 1935.
Third Location – MacArthur Park
Mrs. Babcock in 1939 gained city approval to reopen in the Tower Building of the federal arsenal in MacArthur Park. After years spent making the space appropriate for the museum, it reopened in 1942 and remained in that location for the next 55 years.
Current Location – River Market
The museum moved to the River Market in 1998, when it was renamed Museum of Discovery. The museum closed in April 2011, and after a $9.2 million complete renovation funded by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the museum reopened in its current format in January 2012.