The Ralph Foster Museum on the campus of the College of the Ozarks, grew from its humble beginnings in the 1920s to become one of the Midwest’s foremost institutions of historical preservation.
The primary focus of the Ralph Foster Museum today is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit items relating to the Ozarks region. For many years, Foster had been collecting Native American artifacts. His interest in the College of the Ozarks prompted him to turn this collection over to the school’s museum. The collection includes toys, firearms, glassware, antiques, and other items of interest.
Foster was one of the original pioneers of radio—one of the first to realize its potential both educationally and as a new medium of mass entertainment. Because of his abiding interests and generosity, the College of the Ozarks Board of Trustees voted to rename the museum the Ralph Foster Museum during the mid-1960s.
What makes this museum particularly interesting is that it contains the original car used by Granny, Jed, Elly May Clampett, and Jethro Bodine from the Beverly Hillbillies hit television sitcom. The car is in great shape, and for a mere $20.00, visitors can sit on the vehicle and have a picture taken.
The show ran from 1962 to 1971 and centered around a family from the Ozarks, who moved to Beverly Hills after striking oil on their land.
The show was canceled by CBS during the “rural purge” of rural-themed shows during the 1970s. Other shows that were canceled included Green Acres and Petticoat Junction.