One of our passions is visiting amazing art museums. Over the years, we have been to the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the British Museum in London, and Crystal Bridges of American Art in Bentonville.

If you don’t know where Bentonville is located, don’t feel bad. We didn’t either.

Tucked away in the northwestern corner of Arkansas is one of the most spectacular art museums we have ever seen.

A perfect blend of nature and art

Snapping a close up is easy at the Butterly Garden inside the Botanical Garden

Snapping a close up is easy at the Butterly Garden inside the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Surrounded by trees and water, the internationally recognized architect Moshe Safdie designed a structure to complement the Ozark landscape. The daughter of Walmart’s founder, Alice Walton, spearheaded the Walton Family Foundation’s efforts to develop Crystal Bridges, which opened six years ago and sits on 120 acres.

Crystal Bridges effortlessly blends nature and art.

Massive windows at Crystal Bridges serve as the background for the art

Massive windows at Crystal Bridges serve as the backdrop for the art

Visitors can explore eight trails, view 20 outdoor sculptures, and see a Frank Lloyd Wright house. The museum typically has 300 to 400 pieces of art on display and all of it may be seen free of charge. The museum also mounts intriguing special exhibits (admission prices vary).

A peek at some 2018 exhibitions

In 2018, the temporary exhibits include:

  • Soul of a Nation – Looks at how Black artists reshaped American culture from the 1960s through the 80s. Feb. 3 – April 23.
  • Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Artists (working title) –  Showcases three dozen pieces of this American treasure’s works. May 26 – September 3.
  • Native North America (working title) – Displays works of art from respected Native American artists from the 1950s through today. Oct. 6 – Jan. 7, 2019.

Beyond the Museum: Accessible travel in Bentonville

Having never traveled to Northwest Arkansas, we explored a bit of Bentonville and the surrounding communities. Because Barbara uses a wheelchair, we sought out accessible attractions and easily filled our 36-hour stay admiring a whimsical botanical garden, rolling on a sidewalk through a state park, and shopping at a farmers market.

Small and whimsical Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Small and whimsical Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

You can read more about our discoveries in Northwest Arkansas in our article entitled, Wheelchair Accessible Northwest Arkansas.


What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?

  • Art enthusiasts can spend hours at Crystal Bridges and enjoy seeing the works of American masters. Take a selfie with Norman Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter.”
  • Pick up a nostalgic toy at a five and dime or indulge in a sweet treat at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.
Five and dime store filled with games, toys and candy

Five and dime store filled with games, toys and candy

Take Note

  • Consult the museum’s online calendar for information about permanent and temporary exhibits, tours, speakers, culinary events, and special programs.
  • Crystal Bridges art museum in Bentonville is closed on Tuesdays and on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • The interior of the museum is ADA compliant; many of the outdoor trails can be navigated by wheelchair.
Author rolling on the sidewalk through the woods at Arkansas State Park

Author rolling on the sidewalk through the woods at Arkansas State Park

 


IF YOU GO


Be sure to get the whole scoop on the visiting Northwest Arkansas in a wheelchair on Peter Greenberg.com.

Visiting Northwest Arkansas in a Wheelchair

*All photo credits (except for lead photo): Jim Twardowski