Springdale museum explores Ozark history

By Dave Woods |

With more than five years under her belt as Shiloh Museum’s education manager, Judy Costello is still having fun.

“I get to interact with kids,” she said. “I get to help them learn and bring history to life. I get to see them growing up. I have some kids who have been here over five years and I’ve watched them go through different programs and help me with volunteering. I’ve seen them go from being a shy child to a confident older person.”

Shiloh Museum, part of the City of Springdale, preserves local history and offers programs for cultural enrichment for kids and adults. In May, 2018, Shiloh celebrated its 50th anniversary serving the residents of Northwest Arkansas.

“To see how it has grown in just the last five years is gratifying,” she said. “To read about it and how it has grown over the last fifty years is amazing.”

There is a lot planned. Much of it wouldn’t be possible without kid and adult volunteers.

“I accept anybody who is interested in helping out,” she explained. “I’m always looking for people who are interested in helping children learn. They might just dress up in costume, or they might help hand out supplies. Some kids can lead groups from one station to another. Before you know it, they are learning scripts and presenting.”

Judy is constantly reinforcing to her young volunteers and students who visit the museum the concept that history is important.

“That’s what we build on,” she stressed. “We build on our history and then we go from there. If you know what your history is, and where the people in your community come from, it helps you to grow and feel more confident moving forward.”

Many area parents are happy their families found the Shiloh Museum and regularly take advantage of the museum’s free programs and family friendly activities.

Keukeu Abdullah has been a U.S. resident for 17 years. She wants her son to know as much about local history as possible.

“He is very busy with Boy Scouts, 4-H and sports,” she said. “One time we came here because he was interested in insects and they had an event for families. My son loved it. Every month we check their calendar for family friendly events. If we don’t have conflicts, we come. I think he needs to learn about the history of the area.”

Another mom, Abigail Freeman, enjoys homeschooling her kids. She is thankful for the resources Shiloh provides.

“Miss Judy is in charge of the education department,” she said. “There are so many educational activities.” Rebecca Cross likes Shiloh because of the hands-on activities and exhibits for her kids.

“We love coming to the different programs they offer,” she said. “The dressing up and interactive exhibits are cool. It’s a great place to come and learn about the history of our area. The staff is kid friendly and they encouraged kids to
touch things.”

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