When you step across the threshold at Saunders Museum, in Berryville AR, you’re in for one heck of a surprise. This small town, Ozarks museum is home to a very large and historically significant gun collection.
How historically significant?
Well, the collection includes the guns that were owned by both Frank and Jesse James, Annie Oakley, Billy The Kid, and Sam Houston, to name a few. You can also see firearms owned by Cole Younger, Belle Star, Cherokee Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, and Buffalo Bill Cody.
The Saunders Museum collection also includes rare guns, not just celebrity firearms. Are you a Colt fan? They have both a Colt Walker and a Colt Dragoon. You’ll also see a Savage .45 auto and a couple of Volcanic Arms pieces – with ammo! The collection includes double-barreled revolvers, antique flintlock muskets, foreign service arms, and oddities like the fully-automatic Belgian midget that takes 2.615mm rimless cartridges.
Not Just A Gun Museum
With nearly four hundred guns in the collection, you can be forgiven for thinking that Saunders Museum is a gun museum. But it isn’t.
In actuality, Saunders Museum is one man’s personal collection. It didn’t become a museum until it was donated to the town of Berryville.
Colonel C. Burton “Buck” Saunders (1863 – 1952) was a wealthy world traveler and collector of artifacts. Though born in Texas, Buck grew up in Berryville. A competitive marksman, big game hunter, Saunders traveled the world and grew his collections. While he enjoyed collecting valuable guns used by famous gunslingers, he also enjoyed memorabilia of America’s rich and rugged past.
The museum collection includes an original Bowie knife, Chief Sitting Bull’s war bonnet, and a pair of Pancho Villa’s spurs. Antique teak furniture, an Arabian tent, Persian rugs, Victorian clothing, textiles, and more. Saunders even added Holy Land souvenirs to his collection; things like water from the Jordan and flowers from Gethsemane.
When Buck Saunders passed away in 1952, he willed his collection to the town of Berryville. The will included money and land to construct a museum so that his collections could be shared with the public.
Come browse through one the largest collections of rare and historic firearms in the U.S.
113 E Madison Ave, Berryville, AR 72616
The museum is open from April 15 through the first Saturday in November. Call (870) 423-2563 for hours and to schedule group tours. Learn more online at berryville.com.
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