Saunders Museum and Saunders Heights Park are named after Colonel C. Burton Saunders (1863-1952.)
Saunders Memorial Museum was founded in 1956 according to the specifications of Col. Saunders’s will.
As a youth, C. Burton Saunders was possessed of a boundless curiosity about the world outside his Ozarks valley.
In later years, he traveled over much of the four continents to marvel at the wonders God had wrought.
He also became fascinated with the things of beauty and usefulness which were fashioned by the hand of man. Guns particularly enthralled the young man. Collecting guns and arts and handicrafts became an absorbing hobby for Colonel Saunders. But his greatest joy came in sharing the wonder of the things with other people.
Throughout his lifetime, while the treasure were part of his home here in Berryville, he welcomed thousands of people at his front door. He enjoyed showing them his famous guns and objects and telling them the interesting stories connected with each. He planned the museum for many years because he wanted everyone to see and enjoy the things that he found so interesting.
When Colonel Saunders died in October, 1952, at the age of 89, the collection, according to his will, became the property of the City of Berryville. He also left money for the museum building and a lot on which to build it. Thus, down through the years, Colonel Saunders goes on sharing the fruits of his lifetime hobby with all who are interested.
Saunders Museum is one of the largest collections of rare guns in America. Col. Saunders was acquainted with many iconic American figures such as Theodore Roosevelt , Buffalo Bill, Texas Jack, and Annie Oakley. In the Saunder’s collection you will see guns belonging to Jesse James, Joaquin Murietta, Belle Starr, Cole Younger, Jim Cummins, Three-Fingered Jack, Billy The Kid and Sam Houston among many others. There are nearly 400 guns in this extensive collection! There are unique pieces such as a blunderbuss gun, a flintlock pistol made for King Phillip V of Spain (c. 1737), an original Bowie knife, and General Pancho’s spurrs.
Col. Saunder’s love for travel led him to British Columbia, the Orient, Arabia, Italy and Egypt. In his private collection are one-of-a-kind treasures such as Chief Sitting Bull’s headdress and battle jacket; hand-carved, Chinese Teakwood furniture,; an Arab Sheik’s tent; an original Guercino painting; an antique lamp like the ones that the virgins carried in the parables in the Bible; and scarab bracelets.
The City of Berryville is indebted to Col. Saunders for his generous gifts to the city and the future generations of Berryville. Come see a part of our rich heritage and appreciate the forethought and generosity of such a great man.
Phone: (870) 423-2563
113 East Madison
Berryville, AR 72616
Open April 15-Nov. 7
Call for hours and to schedule group tours.
Doors close to new entrants at 4 p.m.
The museum is closed on all government holidays.
Additional parking can be found directly behind the museum building and across the street in the large parking lot for Allen Squires Law, PLLC.