The groundbreaking for the Amazeum was held in the parking lot of the First Presbyterian Church in Bentonville. The museum will be built right next door near Crystal Bridges.
It’s a hand-on, interactive museum set to open in 2015. The 44,000 sq ft building has been in the works since 2006, said Molly Rawn, director of development.
“We were known as the Children’s Museum and we are still certainly and very much a place for children. However, often times children museums will age out at around age 6 or 7,” Rawn said.
“That is why we really made the shift to be a family discovery center because we know there are activities at the Amazeum that will be wonderful for grown up kids like myself and the youngest,” she said.
The Amazeum is a non-profit organization with a board of directors. The architect and exhibit designer, Reb Haizlip, said the structure of the museum was designed to fit the Amazeum’s mission.
“Kids learn in different ways, learn in an unfettered, free sort of fashion,” Haizlip said. “So the objective was to create opportunities for them to expand the imagination and play freely, crawl freely and experiment and make stuff.”
The museum is partially funded by a $10 million donation from the Walton Family Foundation. The entire project is expected to cost $28.5 million.