Bentonville is home to world-renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The museum was founded largely through the efforts and financial support of Alice Walton, the youngest heir to the Walmart fortune.
With an endowment of $1.2 billion from the Walton Family Foundation, Crystal Bridges has almost instantly joined the ranks of some of the richest museums in the country. Opened in November of 2011, it has already attracted over 1.5 million visitors from the region and more than thirty countries worldwide. Though a relatively new museum, it is listed amongst the top museums in the world.
Designed by Moshe Safdie, the museum’s world-class art is housed in a magnificent structure regarded around the globe as an architectural masterpiece. The museum’s glass-and-wood design, with its gently curving pavilions, is nestled around two spring-fed ponds. It is named for the natural spring that feeds the museum’s two ponds and the unusual bridge construction that is a part of the overall design.
Designer Moshe Safdie was selected not only for his commitment to the use of social, cultural and geographic elements that elucidate an area, but also for his designs that respond to human needs and goals.
The 120-acre museum park features six galleries, a restaurant, research library, sculpture trail, classrooms and a grand hall for special events. Each year, more than 220 thousand visitors use the 3.5 mile sculptured trail system on the grounds of the museum.
American art from five centuries is represented here, including works by John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Cost of admission is FREE. However, if you opt to become a Museum Member, there are many perks as well as receiving 10% off 21c Museum Hotel’s best available room rate.