Crystal Ridges Museum of American Art located in Bentonville Arkansas is not only a spectacular gift to the people of the United States (and the world) showcasing an unfolding history of American Art, it's also free. General admission to Crystal Bridges is sponsored by Walmart. There is no cost to view the Museum’s permanent collection, which is on view year-round. Nestled within 120 acres of native Ozark forest, the unique architecture of this museum designed by Moshe Safdie compliments the landscape.
The museum, founded by Alice Walton, houses an impressive collection of works from the Colonial era to contemporary works. One piece, a landscape entitled "Kindered Spirits" by Asher B. Durand was purchased from the New York Public Library at a sealed auction for more than $35 million. In 2014, the museum produced 1089 programs including 56 adult studio programs, 88 family programs, 144 childrens classes, 100 lectures, 53 events and 21 library programs. Approximately 76,695 people attended these programs and events.
Walking around the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was a wonderful experience and again confirmed my appreciation for the people, companies, institutes and organisations who have a dedication to collect and preserve works of cultural significance, making them available for the general public to see. I recently saw the Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices exhibit at the Art Gallery of South Australia and had the same feeling, an appreciation and sense of gratitude to be able to look at such wonderful works of art, history and culture.
This museum is such a gift to the public, if you are in North West Arkansas you have to take some time out of your schedule to visit it. Even better, bring someone along to share the experience and discuss the works. There is an incredible variety of spectacular artwork, something for everyones tastes. More information on the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is available here.