A Short History of the Society

A Detailed Early History


1965, Collating The Record

Volunteers do it the old-fashioned way - walking the tables!




 On April 19, 1960, the Garland County Historical Society was founded both to preserve our local history and to encourage interest in it, led by our first officers—John Connelly, President; Mary D. Hudgins, Vice President; Capitola Glazner, Secretary; Dr. F. J. Scully, Treasurer; Sam Sargo, Nathan Schoenfeld, and Katherine Creason, Board of Governors.

Also in 1960, the society began its monthly program meetings and published the first volume of its journal, The Record. Originally a quarterly, The Record is now a yearly publication that has won numerous awards under successive editors Inez Cline, Wendy Richter, Bobbie Jones McLane, Isabel Anthony, and Elizabeth Robbins.

In 1994 the society published its first book, Indian Folklore Atlas of Hot Springs National Park by Marcus Phillips and Sandra Long. It has published eighteen books since then, including (in partnership with The Melting Pot Genealogical Society) Garland County Arkansas: Our History and Heritage, Isabel Anthony, editor. The society’s latest book is the 2015 Then and Now: Hot Springs, Arkansas by Mike Blythe.


1999, Volunteers move into the newly acquired building at 328 Quapaw Avenue


The society found a permanent home for its collections in 1999 when it purchased a building at 328 Quapaw. In 2006, the society opened five days a week.

Charter member Bobbie Jones McLane became the society’s first executive director in 2001. After Bobbie’s retirement in 2007, Elizabeth Robbins became the society’s executive director.

In 2008, the society acquired a computer network and museum software. In 2009, we dedicated space in our archives to the veterans of Garland County, preserving their histories and displaying their memorabilia in a room that spotlights their contributions to our country.

In 2012, we began digitizing our photographs to make them easily accessible on a searchable database and also to safe-guard them off-site in case of a disaster. We have digitized over 66,000 images of photographs, documents, and maps in this on-going process.

In 2014 the society received the Historic Preservation Recognition Award from the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution.

With the help of the community, supportive members, and dedicated volunteers, we continue to work not only to preserve Garland County’s rich heritage but also to make it accessible to everyone.