It seems like Northern Arkansas is wrought with architectural gems neatly tucked into pristine nature, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is par for the course. Designed by celebrated architect Moshe Safdie and funded by the Walton Family Foundation, Crystal Bridges celebrates the diversity of American art while offering up collections in beautiful vaulted viewing rooms.
Located in Bentonville, Arkansas, the museum is an indication of what the Walton family has done for the surrounding area since the inception and subsequent boom of Walmart. Each vendor Walmart carries is required to have a physical office located in Bentonville, causing the population to flourish, with the quality of infrastructure and the art scene following suit. A walk in downtown Bentonville brings a small town feel with a modern twist, with constant renovation going on.
A walk around the entire museum will take a few hours, and offer up many different mediums of American art to you. From sculpture, to quilts, watercolor and everything in between, you can satisfy any fine arts craving you may be feeling. Need a break? They have a full cafeteria for a refuel and some coffee.
What was most striking about Crystal Bridges was the incorporation of the nature it was built around. Two small ponds sit in the middle of the structure, acting almost as a courtyard that can be seen from most hallways and galleries in the complex. The museum gets it's name from multiple pavilion-bridges that cross the creek-fed ponds, such as the one in the first photo above. Surrounded by woods, even the half-mile walk to the museum's entrance gets you in tune with nature.