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Jim Dunn with the US Marshal’s Museum arranged the tour. The museum will open its doors to the public on 11-11-11. The project has been under construction for five years.
I waited in the parking lot for our group to assemble and was immediately drawn to a silver metal sculpture of a tree on the grounds. The grounds alone are worth the trip.
There are 3 ½ miles of trails with pavilion areas. The museum has a separate entrance for hikers and bike riders that come through the forest. These trails link downtown and the surrounding area to the museum.
Crystal Bridges is down in a valley surrounded by trees with a spring that feeds the water elements under the bridges. The bridges are actually the different buildings of the museum. We first went into the art library and they were bringing in the art books to stock the shelves. The library will have more than 50,000-items in its research collection.
Through the window I could see these very large cables. They were anchored down to concrete pedestals that ran to the roof and down the sides. I had to ask about the cables. This was totally amazing. The roof is suspended from the cables that run across the top of the walls.
Actually the metal you see on the outside is there merely to hold the glass in place. The roof is made of wood and covered in copper. The angle of the roof resembles a tortoise’s shell. The glass, the shapes of the buildings, the water, the landscaping, the way that nature plays into the spaces between each section of buildings is truly unique.
I was so impressed with the way so much thought was put into the galleries architecture. You will not find boring white museum walls. There is actually color on the curved walls.
This is not your ordinary museum. It is so serene and peaceful that you could easily spend all day. The museum has a 120 acre park and gardens that join the trails with sculpture to downtown Bentonville.
There will be a restaurant, gift shop, and class room spaces. Over 1/3 of the museum’s approximate 200,000 square feet is dedicated to art and education. It includes permanent collection galleries, a temporary exhibition gallery, classrooms, and studios. I cannot wait to go back when it is finished.
I would love to tell you about some of the art work that I saw. Right now the names of some collections have not been released to the media. It is world class all the way. I am so proud that we will have a museum of this quality close to us that is free to the public.
The museum has a great educational department. School groups will be able to set up tours. There were some pieces still covered in card board and crates that hadn’t been unpacked. I had a hard time containing myself. I wanted desperately to see the other pieces of art work. The modern art building that we toured was so amazing!!! There is a sculpture in there that just blew me away.
Crystal Bridges Museum will serve not only its own residents but it will draw visitors from around the nation and worldwide. It will definitely continue to contribute to Northwest Arkansas’ economic and cultural expansion. We might luck out and get some of the pass through traffic to our area. The Crystal Bridges Museum will be a destination point.
Admission originally was going to be $10 per adult. On July 28, 2011 Walmart donated $20 million to sponsor admission for all visitors. The land, facility, and art work are courtesy of the Walton Family Foundation. Alice Walton has taken great pride to make the arts accessible for all of us.
Until next week…