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“History Buffs Will Love It”

Gangster Museum of America
Reviewed June 17, 2014

The Gangster Museum in Hot Springs was an interesting diversion. It's not something I would have walked off the street to do, but my friend had been there before and wanted to go again. Like others have recommended, I would suggest taking the tour early in your visit to appreciate the history of the area and to get an overview of the many interesting characters, both local and more Hollywood types, who populated this once thriving mecca of vice.

The "museum" is comprised of a series of rooms, each with a different theme. Historical items such as roulette tables, a death mask of John Dillinger, etc., are arranged with copies of old courthouse records, newspapers, and magazines on the walls. Short videos are played in each room to explain the workings of the town from the late 1800s up through the 1960's, when things came to a halt. As the title says, history buffs - and those just curious about the time period - will love it! I learned a lot about politics, politicians, and workings of the time period.

Although enjoyable and educational, the museum is not all it could be. There could be more interaction and q/a with the staff during the tour, or perhaps some humor could be interjected to just make it more fun. Getting to hold an actual tommy gun in the last room was great - there should be more "hands on" experiences like that throughout.

When we visited, the air conditioning in the museum was working nicely - another reason to stop in!

2  Thank SuePete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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289 - 293 of 447 reviews

Reviewed June 17, 2014

Even crooks take vacations from their vocations, and the Gangster Museum gives insight into the lives of the mobsters of the past. The secrets of Hot Springs are related in an interestingly novel way. Upon entering the hat shop, we wondered how this small shop could possibly be of interest. However, the tour turned out to be anything but usual. The video presentations in each room of the tour were professional and informative. The tour guide explained at the beginning that we could return to read all the information framed on the walls of the many rooms we were to visit. I found the video did a sufficient job of explaining the exhibits at each station. Surprises are in store as you wander through the history of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Prepare to be entertained.

2  Thank markehartz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2014

Seven generations of my family have been a part of Hot Springs history dating back to some time before 1822. Robert Reines has become one of Hot Springs most important historical interpreters. My ancestors played various rolls in the Moonshine and Gambling history of Hot Springs and Robert has been so gracious to include several stories, photos and video footage of my dad night club operator & bookie James "EV" Young and others in the family both in the Museum and in his recently released book From Capone to Costello. Thank you for your important contributions to discovering and preserving Hot Springs history. Jimmy Young

2  Thank Jimmy Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2014 via mobile

We thought it was going to be more like a museum... Instead they walk you to different rooms and you watch videos about Hot Springs and the Gangsters that passed thru there. There were a lot of pictures of the Gangsters and newspaper articles but they didn't give you time to read them, well you had time if you didn't watch the videos. I wouldn't recommend this

1  Thank Stefanie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2014

Interesting history of Hot Springs. Good stories of the gangster connection told by a knowledgeable guide. We didnt know much about real gangsters other than Hollywood. This short tour shed light on the infamous gangsters that we had only heard about. It was interesting to see the artifacts and watch the short movies. It was more fun to walk around town knowing some of the history of the buildings and sites.

2  Thank Chickelbuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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