Fort Smith Museum Receives Donation From Family Of 19th Century Doctor

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The Fort Smith Museum of History recently received a $75,000 donation from Ted and Betty Skokos.

The donation was made in honor of Betty's mother Lora Paine Campbell. According to the Fort Smith executive director Leisa Gramlich, she was the family's historian and would tell them stories of her grandfather Rev. Dr. Francis Marion Paine.

"We thank them so very much for thinking of the museum," Gramlich said.

Gramlich said Paine was a missionary in Oklahoma Indian territory. With the donation, museum coordinators plan to update the exhibits. One will contain a medical bag that belonged to Francis Paine.

"It's mid-nineteenth century. We do keep it carefully tucked away," Gramlich said.

Gramlich said the new exhibits will become more modern.

"We hope to add more interactive elements to the exhibits to make it more appealing to 21st century audience," she said.

The updated exhibit will allow the staff to  display some of the 40,000 historical artifacts they have stored on the fourth floor.

"For example, there's a punch bowl behind me. It was used at a going away reception for Gen. Zachary Taylor," Gramlich said.

The money will also be used to restore masonry work on the west wall of the building. The wall suffered water damage and will need special attention to be reconstructed according to regulations set by the National Register of Historical Places.