The Ozark Folk Center is a state park of Arkansas, USA, located in Mountain View.
Tours of the house are given daily, and visitors may enter the unguarded house any time. The Ozark Folk Center hosts numerous festivals each year, including the annual Ozark Highlands Bluegrass Festival, held every June near Leola, Arkansas. Thousands of bluegrass fans attend the event, which features popular acts like Flaco Jimenez and the Hot Club of Cowtown, along with headliners like Chris Cain, Larry Cordle, John Duffey, and Mike Seeger. Other festival highlights include the Parade of Homes, guest artists, crafts shows, and marionette theater.
The Ozark Folk Center also produces the Ozark Highlands Radio Show, broadcast locally on FM radio station 107.3 The Fox and nationally on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) network, which continues broadcasting annually despite being closed in 2005. In addition, the OFC maintains the Ozark Foothills website, which contains information about current events, activities, performers, workshops, classes, camps, special events, and more. The OFC also operates the Ozark Visitor Center, which offers exhibits, videos, and information about the region, including its people and culture.
There are over 200 volunteers working to maintain Ozark Legacy Recordings, LLC, including librarians, archivists, teachers, and musicians. Over 50,000 artifacts are included in the collection, making it one of the world’s largest documentary sound archives. The collection includes traditional songs, unique instrumentation, field hollers, fiddle tunes, square dances, work chants, and other sounds of the Ozark Mountains. A large number of these original tapes are available for listening to online through the Virtual Museum of Ozark History exhibit.
Access to most of this material requires a fee, typically $5 per person. Many items are available for loan, especially during regular operating hours. Visitors can enter the facilities for free, but must pay fees to listen to audio files or to view images and video clips. The museum houses many rare artifacts, such as handwritten journals, letters, photographs, sheet music, and even clothing worn by famous mountain musicians like Roy Acuff, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and Tommy Jarrell.
One particularly notable feature is the so-called “Hootenanny House”, built in 1974 by local musician Leo Hoeft, who used materials found on-site next door to construct his home. Built partially out of logs plucked from the adjacent trees, the house features exposed wood beams, concrete flooring, and stone fireplace.
The visitor center is open seven days a week, offering public tours twice a day, Monday – Saturday 9am – 4pm and Sunday 1 – 4pm. On certain weeks, the 2nd and 3rd Sundays offer extended tours 10am – 3pm.
Free admission and guided tours are offered all year long. Campground Facilities include:
- 60 full hookup sites
- modern bathhouse
- dump station
- picnic areas
- swimming pool
- laundry center
The Ozark Folk Center began as the Ozark Foothills Museum and Archives in 1957, when it was created through an agreement with the city of Branson to use the old courthouse there for that purpose. It has grown into one of America’s largest folk music collections, featuring thousands of recordings and preserving significant documentation about regional and traditional music.
In 1993, the Ozark Folk Center became part of the new University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (UACES), which also manages the historic Ouachita National Forest and provides forest fire suppression throughout southeast Arkansas. The center receives support from UACES/FRA (Forest Resource Area) funding provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, as well as private donations, the City of Branson, and the Ozark Economic Development Commission.
From 1958-1961, under the direction of Professor Charles K. Wolfe, Ph.D., the Ozark Foothills Museum and Archives was established at the top of Pinnacle Mountain. This facility served as the primary research location for all aspects of the Ozark Folk Center until its closure in 2005. After serving as the Folk Music Research Archive for the Ozark Folk Center for almost 30 years, now known as the Ozark Legacy Recordings, LLC, the collection is housed in three different locations; two on site at the Ozark Folk Center and one offsite