New Blacksmith Shop

Historic Arkansas Museum - Friday, May 15, 2015

In the 1850s and 60s, blacksmithing was a vital service for the functioning of a farm in Arkansas. Horseshoeing, hardware production, tool repair, etc. all required metal-working skills. The Plum Bayou Loghouse Farmstead located on museum grounds between Markham and Second Street is an example of a mid-19th-century farm that would have relied on those services and so the museum is adding a blacksmith shop to the variety of structures already on this site.

New blacksmith shop under construction.

Many passers-by have noticed the large stack of cut wood and have been curious about the process. The shop is being constructed in a method regularly used in the antebellum period: timber-framing. Heavy timbers are cut to size and joined at the corners to form a stable structure. Siding and roofing with traditional materials will complete the basic form, and a brick hearth and chimney, and antebellum-styled bellows will make this building a functioning shop.

The museum has done its due research and called upon experts in the field, including master carpenter and brick mason Peter Post and master blacksmiths Peter Ross and Josh Greenwood. Aaron Ruby is the architect and Brister Construction Company is the general contractor. The project is supported by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council.

Once completed, the shop will regularly host blacksmiths and bladesmiths who will demonstrate and pass on knowledge of their crafts.