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One day in August, right before school started up again, we took a little day trip to Bentonville, Arkansas, to visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a free art museum sponsored by Walmart. Founded by Alice Walton and designed by Moshe Safdie, this museum is a great way to introduce kids to art and artists from the United States and beyond.
We loved our visit. Along with the museum, you can also do some nature hiking or see Bachman-Wilson House, one of Frank Loyd Wright’s designs. The regular collections are free to the public, but there may be some traveling exhibits available, and those may have a fee. Check the website to see what is available and what the costs may be.
The Collections at Crystal Bridges
We started with the Drawings and Watercolors of the 18th and 19th Century.
I loved that they even had an interactive area here where you were encouraged to experience the art.
This whole collection took us quite a while to explore.
The art followed a timeline, so it was interesting to see how trends changed over time. Another collection was of Modern Art.
I always find these collections fascinating.
I love to see how people can express an experience or an emotion.
This collection is definitely our family’s favorite.
So many beautiful things to see!
Another great collection is their outdoor art. You can view Maman from above…
…or from ground level.
When you explore the Crystal Brides grounds, you’ll probably run into the Fly’s Eye Dome by R. Buckminster Fuller.
The Architecture of Crystal Bridges
The facility itself is amazing. We found this museum’s design by Moshe Safdie to be peaceful and inspiring.
There are plenty of great places to relax and take in the beauty.
There are also special tours and experiences for groups, including those for kids. Check out the museum’s website to see what’s available.
The complex has a museum store and a restaurant, Eleven. We didn’t try it on our visit this time, though.
Crystal Bridges Nature Trails
The museum is host to several trails, and most of them are pretty short and paved. Since it was a pretty warm part of the day during our visit, we only did one. But I’d love to go back to try more of them. We saw these black-eyed Susans along the trail.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and we are close enough that we can return pretty often. This is really the first time that we’d taken Kristin to a museum solely dedicated to art, though we do frequently visit museums. I think we have more art museum visits in our future. I hope your family makes plans to visit Crystal Bridges, too!
If you’re in the area, you may want to check out these attractions about an hour away in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.