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article imageCrystal Bridges Museum celebrates a successful first year

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By Kay Mathews     Nov 11, 2012 in Arts
Bentonville - Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is one year old today, and it's been a year marked with success above and beyond expectations.
Crystal Bridges officially opened its doors on 11-11-11. On 11-11-12, the museum is celebrating its first anniversary with cupcakes and viewings of the documentary film, The Art of Crystal Bridges.
At the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art website, you will find an image with the following words: Thank you for a great year!
And what a great year it was for the museum.
The Huffington Post describes Crystal Bridges as "the glass-walled, starchitect-designed passion project of Walmart heiress Alice Walton" and notes that "This year, it surpassed its goals for annual visitors by more than 100 percent."
According to The City Wire, "Based on research made at other museums in similar-sized markets, planners hoped for about 250,000 guests with about 3,000 members joining the museum the first year. Those figures were blown out of the water. As of Nov. 4 this year, a week short of the museum’s one-year anniversary, the museum welcomed more than 595,000 people and has more than 7,500 'Original Members.'"
Exterior view of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  Bentonville  Ark.
Exterior view of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Bentonville, Ark.
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This equates, according to KFSM 5News, to "an average of 11,000-13,000 per week, and museum officials expect that number to top 600,000 by Sunday’s first anniversary."
What brings so many visitors to Crystal Bridges? There are multiple answers to that question. For example, as The Huffington Post states, "Six days a week, anyone can enter without spending a dime." So, affordability is one answer.
For residents in and around Northwest Arkansas, the ever-changing exhibitions may be another answer. There is always something new and interesting to view for visitors who go to Crystal Bridges multiple times. During its first year, Crystal Bridges has had four past exhibitions and currently there are three exhibitions on view. Coming up, March 9 through May 28, 2013, is an exhibition titled "American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell."
Contemporary works of art at Crystal Bridges.  Bentonville  Ark.
Contemporary works of art at Crystal Bridges. Bentonville, Ark.
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In addition to the two mentioned above, another of the key reasons hundreds of thousands visit Crystal Bridges is due to its permanent collection. As stated by the museum, "The Crystal Bridges art collection offers a superb overview of American art including American masterworks as well as surprising, lesser-known gems from the Colonial era to contemporary work. Sculpture in the collection graces interior galleries and outdoor trails."
Free admission, the allure of ever-changing temporary exhibitions, and masterworks of American art in the permanent collection have contributed to the museum's success above and beyond expectations.
For more information about Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, visit this website.
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