One of most surprising finds at the Historic Washington State Park in Arkansas is the B.W. Edwards Weapons Museum. Basil W. Edwards was a local resident who collected firearms and weapons from the 17th Century to the 20th Century. Over 500 muskets, rifles, revolvers, shotguns, flintlocks, matchlocks and Bowie knives now call this former bank building home. You’ll see pieces from around the world including a German Luger pistol from World War II and a Afghan rifle used in hunting on the back of a camel.
Besides firearms, the weapons museum holds an impressive collection of knives. The centerpiece is a re-creation of the first Bowie knife. On his way to Texas in 1830, Jim Bowie and company stopped in Washington. According to stories, Bowie asked local silversmith and blacksmith James Black to create a knife made to the specifications Bowie wanted. After Bowie drew out the design, Black went to work and the legendary Bowie knife was made. Many other knives decorate the display case from other collectors and famous knife makers.
The B.W. Edwards Weapons Museum is located at 204 Franklin Street, next to the post office in Washington, Ark. It is one of 47 sites in the Historic Washington State Park. Across the street from the weapons museum sits the Print Museum. It is open from 8:00am-5:00pm.