|Address:||600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712, USA|
|Working:||11AM–6PM Closed 11AM–9PM 11AM–9PM 11AM–9PM 10AM–6PM 10AM–6PM|
Our greatly-anticipated visit left us with mixed feelings. Four highly-educated adults (who have attended cultural events, galleries, museums, and musical/stage performances all over this country and in Europe) made this trip, yet we were made to feel as if we were school children on a field trip or too ignorant to know how to behave in a gallery. The security "guards" trailed and hounded us throughout the building...not just one of us, but all. Having backgrounds in art, we were prone to look closely at brushstrokes, technique, use of media, placard information, etc. Thats what interested viewers do in the pursuit of art appreciation. But we were met with such frequent reprimands from security personnel that we became gun-shy of looking. Stepping inside the main [darkly lit] room from the outer [brightly lit] foyer, we were greeted by a young man who introduced visitors to the museums procedures, but his proximity to the entrance and the inside wall forced me to move closer to that wall to see and hear him. He interrupted his spiel to the group to tell me to step away from the wall and stay at least 18" from the art. (OK, now we know.) Another of us, while looking at a piece and pointing out a detail, was told "Sir, look with your eyes, dont point." Seriously??? There is printed material encouraging visitors to sketch or make notes about the art...but the instant one in our group began to write notes, a guard rushed over to say "You can borrow my pencil. Pens arent allowed." If that is the case, state that rule along with the suggestion to sketch/notate, and make pencils available, because most people carry pens. At another point, I stepped back far enough to view a large painting and was standing approximately 8" from a blank wall. I was immediately scolded by a guard about my distance from that BLANK wall. While the art collection itself is quite impressive and the museums very existence is a fine feather in Arkansas cap, the staffs approach to those who attend is sorely lacking in respect. This is not to say that they shouldnt be protective of the works. Of course there must be rules, but not at the risk of overshadowing the experience of viewing the art. The "rules" (which we unwittingly broke) should be posted or documented in brochures before patrons of your facility are publicly humiliated. Perhaps there are still kinks to work out, and the training of security personnel has yet to be refined, but such a highly-touted, prestigious landmark as this will suffer...once the newness wears off...if these problems are not addressed.
Crystal Bridges is hands down the ultimate crown jewel of northwest Arkansass many perks and treasures. The permanent collection consists of countless works of priceless art including but not limited to "The Lantern Bears; by Maxfield Parrish","Jessica Plem in Black with White Plumes; by Robert Henri","Along the Shore; by William Trost Richards", "George Washington[The Constable and Hamilton Portrait]; by Gilbert Strauss" and countless other colonial and modern art pieces. Crystal Bridges also boasts an incredible array of statues and outdoor structures including the Buckeye Ball, and "The way of color" which demonstrates a light show coordinated with sunrise and sunset. Crystal Bridges is also adding another outdoor structure "Flys Eye Dome" which the artist R. Buckminster Fuller used to show his plan for a completely self sufficient home with solar panels and ways to collect water. Many of the museums outdoor art is showcased alongside their many miles of nature trails. The traveling exhibits that the museum showcases are extremely enticing and interesting. Recently, the glass maker and artist "Chihuly" held an exhibit at the museum with many of his finest indoor and outdoor works. Crystal Bridges placed his outdoor works alongside their trails and ponds that you could go see and admire. Alongside the trails is also a Frank Lloyd Wright house originally built in New Jersey. You can admire the house from the outside, or, if you like, schedule a tour of the inside. Crystal Bridges is a great place for kids with multiple activities that are fun and exciting. The museum is also completely FREE to the public! All in all, Crystal Bridges combines Art, Architecture, and Nature to create a spectacular art museum that everybody can enjoy!
Beautiful facility, grounds, and a wonderful American Art collection. Regretfully my experience was tainted by overbearing volunteers that stalked you through the gallery. They seemed to be more interested in keeping you 18" away from the paintings than discussing the art. There was one older man with white hair and glasses and a moustache in the first gallery Friday 6/8/12 who was just down right rude. I was admiring a painting of Niagara Falls and pointing several things out to my son when this individual engaged me in a lecture regarding, "how my finger within 18 inches of the painting, could cause damage to it". Wow....really? Ive examined masterworks closer at the Met and other world class museums without being harrassed. The doucents were overbearing and frankly its very sad and takes away from the experience. World glass collection but experience lacks warmth and engagement and presents art as "assets" rather than "awe inspiring creations". The collection is worth the trip, though the volunteer staff is overbearing. Wear comfortable shoes and please, "cover yourself in bubblewrap!!!"
Blown away. That is the only way I can describe this incredible gem of a museum in what the snobbish coastal people would call "the middle of nowhere." The architecture of the museum itself is amazing. Its integrated in a lovely setting, like boats on a sea. A natural creek runs thru the museum, and the leafy green of Arkansas floats through high glass walls. Incredible. The collection, while not large, is set up chronologically with brilliant pieces. I was stunned by an Audobon of a family of turkeys. Brilliant. Plus famous portraits of George Washington, and in the modern part of the museum an assortment of modern artists like Warhol or Georgia OKeeffe. I highly recommend taking a museum tour. Our guide gave us a healthy dose of Arkansas hospitality and was knowledgeable about the museum and its treasures. If you are ANYWHERE within a 200 mile radius, it is worth a day trip. Its even worth a destination to Arkansas, where you can enjoy the hot springs and the fine folks of this beautiful state. I believe that they call it "the Natural state."
If you are not a white person age 45 or older I would skip this museum on your trip. I was targeted within 10 minutes of being inside the door and my bag was checked for size. Upon meeting the size requirements by two guards they then told me I wasnt carry my bag properly to go inside the museum. Upon switching my backpack to one shoulder like they asked they then stepped closer and told me I could not enter because of my brand on backpack because they are capable of holding a water bladder. I then informed then my backpack was not holding any water within it and they still refused entrance to me. They told me we would have to remove my backpack/purse in a locker or within my car. By the 3 violation we were pretty much over it, feeling singled out and quite unwelcome...we left. Im not sure if it was a youth thing (we are 27) or a race thing because I am of African American decent but I was very hurt by the way their staff kept inspecting us as if we were going to "do something" or "destroy something". SKIP IT!!! Only bad visit on our trip to Arkansas.