Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources


After oil was discovered, it didn't take long for the 40-square-mile Smackover Field to become a jungle of wood and iron derricks. Petroleum engineers' drilling success rate was an incredible 92%, and for five months in 1925, the field ranked first in oil production in the U.S. Through films and displays, this museum presents the fascinating story of the 1920s oil boom and subsequent bromine extraction activities (Union County sits atop one of the largest brine reserves in the world). Indoor and outdoor exhibits, including full-size, operational well rigs, illustrate drilling and oil production methods used from the 1920s through today.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Nuclear & Petroleum
Topic(s):Energy
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:In 1922, oil was discovered near the village of Smackover. Within three months, the population grew from less than 100 to more than 25,000 people. The tiny rail depot was overwhelmed, handling more business than any other station on the line except St. Louis. People lived in anything they could find, including rented chairs and tree stumps.
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