Information on:

Bentonville - Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art


Founded by Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges is envisioned as a premier national art institution dedicated to American art and artists. Under construction in Bentonville, Ark., the museum complex will encompass approximately 100,000 square feet of gallery, library, meeting, and office space; a 250-seat indoor auditorium; areas for outdoor concerts and public events; gallery rooms suitable for large receptions, as well as sculpture gardens and walking trails.

The museum will house a permanent collection of signature works from American artists along with galleries dedicated to regional art and artists including Native American art. The growing permanent collection is composed of paintings and sculptures by American artists from the Colonial period through the modern era and will consist of notable examples reflecting the richness and diversity of the American experience. Some announced works of the permanent collection include: Hudson River School masterwork Kindred Spirits by Asher B. Durand, which is currently on loan to The Brooklyn Museum in New York; Charles Willson Peale’s 18th century painting of George Washington; Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington (The Constable-Hamilton Portrait), which is currently on loan at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Portrait of Professor Benjamin H. Rand by Thomas Eakins, currently on loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Spring, by Winslow Homer; Martin Johnson Heade’s Cattleya Orchid, Two Hummingbirds and a Beetle; and Marsden Hartley’s Hall of the Mountain King. In addition to the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions drawn from national institutions will be displayed in the museum.

The museum takes its name from a natural spring on the museum’s wooded site as well as the unique glass-and-wood building design created by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. An innovative building design – reflective of its forested creek-side home, and linked by landscaped trails and paths connecting area neighborhoods – will capture the interplay of nature, art and culture in the region. The museum property and grounds are within walking distance of the Bentonville town square.

In addition to expanding access to art, cultural and learning resources, Crystal Bridges will also spur the continued economic development of Northwest Arkansas. The museum is expected to draw tourists from the region and nationally, with an anticipated 250,000 visitors annually.

Bentonville’s small-town appeal, historical background and expanding tourism, anchored by the Walton 5&10 museum – Sam Walton’s first retail outlet – will provide an ideal setting for enthusiasts and students of art when visiting Crystal Bridges and its museum of American art.

Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges will house a museum of American art, which will be on view in more than 25,000 square feet of gallery space. The majority of the exhibit space will be devoted to American masterworks, from the Colonial era to the 20th century. Additional gallery space will be dedicated to regional art and artists including Native American art as well as touring collections drawn from national art institutions. Sculpture will also figure prominently in the permanent collection, on view in interior galleries and outdoor sculpture gardens. A dynamic temporary exhibitions program will complement the holdings of the permanent collection. The heart of the permanent collection will include works donated by Alice Walton and the Walton Family Foundation, and may be augmented by gifts and loans from other private collectors.

A Place of Community

Crystal Bridges is designed to build connections, both literally and figuratively, with the communities of Northwest Arkansas. Linking Bentonville’s neighborhoods with walking trails that encourage regular visits to the museum and its sculpture gardens, Crystal Bridges will encourage community uses and activities as one of its highest priorities. Flexibly designed spaces within the museum and its grounds will accommodate a variety of group-based activities, ranging from outdoor concerts to public gatherings, arts fairs, meetings of area community groups and other civic activities. A 250-seat indoor theatre and other spaces will be ideal venues for community receptions and dinners and private functions ranging from business conferences to weddings.

The multi-functional theatre space can accommodate lectures and presentations, as well as films, music performances, dance and drama. A flexible stage area and lecture-style seating arrangement will provide multiple use opportunities.

The museum building is expected to contain 100,000 square feet when completed, and employ approximately 75 full-time staff. Traditional museum resources, including a museum store, dining facilities, parking and group tours are planned as well.


Jonny Means

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Crystal bridges was great! A free art museum, courtesy of the Walton family. I'm no art historian, so the majority of it didn't mean much to me. However, we ran into some nice staff members who helped me appreciate certain pieces more! Eleven - the restaurant over the upstream bridge is very good and pretty fancy! My halibut was moist and delicious!

Robert Herbert

Friday, March 30, 2018
Beautiful museum. I usually get bored at art museums very easily, but the outdoor trails tended to help me enjoy the art more. Inside was stunning, and any questions you might have about the art, the employees in each section are more than willing to answer and help with. I recommend going outside first (if the weather permits) so that when you go inside, the air conditioning feels good. And bring a water bottle for outside as well.

Pat Davison

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Crystal Bridges is always a fantastic time. If the weather is decent you can hit up the trails and see various art pieces strewn out along your travels and if not the interior free exhibits are always changing. They also have special exhibits that come in throughout the year and are usually very reasonably priced. Their website has plenty of more information on their special exhibits.

Patrick Ray

Friday, March 30, 2018
This is an excellent art museum and I consider myself fortunate to live in an area with such a nice venue. Their curation is excellent, lots of things to see for all kinds of artistic taste, and the building and extensive grounds around it are visually stunning. The grounds around it are rich with well maintained walking trails and so many points of interest, a person would have to stay all day to see it all. Since they change the art displays frequently, it is excellent for locals as well as tourists. I would highly encourage anyone from the NW Arkansas area to visit, probably more than once. I've been there around 5 times and still don't feel as though I've seen it all. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is an impressive art museum and we're blessed to have it.

Quintin Kreth

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Crystal Bridges is a truly amazing art museum. You will find yourself as astonished by the architecture are by the pieces themselves. The building itself is a masterpiece. It's a real testament that admission is free to such an inspiring new museum. This is a place you simply must visit if you're in northwest Arkansas.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media