Crystal Bridges Museum Exceeds Expectations in First Year

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By all accounts, the first year of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was a highly successful one, and it wasn’t bad for the city it calls home either.

Alice Walton’s $800 million museum opened a year ago Sunday in Bentonville, where Walton’s father founded what would become the world’s largest retailer. Before long, Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters might play second fiddle to the museum, whose impact on both the international art world and Bentonville itself has been substantial.

Diane Carroll, media relations manager for Crystal Bridges, said the public and critical response to the museum has been universally positive. She said attendance has far exceeded initial projections of 225,000 visitors for the first year. As of Nov. 4, the museum welcomed 595,223 visitors, an average of 11,000-13,000 per week, and museum officials expect that number to top 600,000 by Sunday’s first anniversary.

“We didn’t have a good indicator of what to expect,” Carroll said. “There was not an extremely relevant benchmark for opening a museum in our region. But we’ve been overwhelmed with the response.” Click here to read the full story from our partners at

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