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The Ozarks’ History in a Museum

Date: 2014-08-14 12:00:00 am

The Ozarks’ History in a Museum


College of the Ozarks is a private Christian school located at Point Lookout near Hollister and Branson in Missouri. The college offers degrees in Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. The student population of the college is 1,500 and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. College of the Ozarks offers no tuition fee for all full-time students due to its student programs and donations.

College of the Ozarks is also home to the Ralph Foster Museum. Also known as “The Smithsonian of the Ozarks”, the museum had begun as a bird collection in a men’s dormitory basement. Ralph’s donations of cash and artifacts earned him the museum’s gratitude, and immortality for himself that keeps his name as long as the museum stays in business. Ralph Foster was a strong conservationist, an avid hunter and fisherman. He was a man who was close to nature, an individual who loved his fellow man.

Ralph Foster was one of the true pioneers of radio – one of the first to realize the potential of radio and as a new field of mass entertainment. In 1924, Mr. Foster and his partner Jerry Hall, set up a 50-watt radio station in St. Joseph, Missouri. It began only as a hobby, but as years passed by, the station expanded into a full-time vocation. This time, the age of radio had begun. Mr. Ralph Foster who was the founder of KWTO (“Keep Watching The Ozarks”), was a radio mogul in southwest Missouri. As President and General Manager of KWTO, he devoted all his time and energy toward making it the dominant station of the Ozarks area.  

College of the Ozarks' MuseumMr. Foster had been collecting Indian artifacts for many years. His interest in The School of the Ozarks prompted him to turn his vast collections over to the School’s Museum. Because of his generosity and abiding interests, The School of the Ozarks Board of Trustees voted to name the Museum after him “Ralph Foster Museum” in the mid-1960s’. Ralph Foster died on August 11, 1984.

The Ralph Foster Museum is an integral part of the College of the Ozarks which seeks to actively support the academic, vocational, Christian and patriotic goals of the College. The museum helps provide a quality education for the campus family and the community at large by focusing on the dynamic culture of the Ozarks region. This museum on the campus of the College of the Ozarks grew from humble beginnings in the 1920s to become the foremost institution of historical preservation.

The primary goal of the Ralph Foster Museum today is to preserve, interpret, collect and exhibit items relating to the Ozarks region. One of the famous exhibits in the museum is the original vehicle used in the television series “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Visitors to the museum will find weapons, antiques, dolls, natural history and other items from around the world.

If you want to learn the history of the Ozarks Region and see many collections of artifacts, visit the College of the Ozark’s Museum in Branson.


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