Our Visit to Crystal Bridges

All our excitement over finally having a finished guest bedroom made me completely forget to share our visit to Crystal Bridges museum last Friday.  I snapped a few photos on my iPhone during our tour at the grand opening and thought I’d share.

The museum itself was a gorgeous display of architecture.  Since we visited in the afternoon, we were able to see the setting sun reflected on the beautiful curved copper rooflines.  The majority of the structure was constructed from concrete layered with natural wood (the stripes you see on the side of the building below) and Stephen and I both thought the architect’s design suited the natural landscape of the area.

Dining Room

The 11 galleries were set up in a circle around a retaining pond.  I loved that the architect used water like this – in places, the pond reminded me of The Mall in Washington, D.C.

Since the outer walls of the galleries were huge panes of glass, the galleries themselves were constructed as rooms within a room.  Gaps in the walls let the natural light in, but visitors could also decide to take the path around the perimeter of the galleries to see amazing views of the surrounding hills.

Interior

The art was just as compelling as the architecture surrounding it.  I was able to take a few photos to share the variety of what we saw.  Everything from this incredibly detailed painting of waves…

Waves

To Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter.

Rosie the Riveter

Each walkway between two galleries provided another view of the museum itself and the trees beyond.

CB Architecture

As we walked through the museum we saw a range of paintings and sculptures – from works hundreds of years old to pieces only a few years or decades old.

Seagull

The last gallery was called Wonder World, and it was filled with large and sometimes outlandish modern installations.  This piece, for example, was a duplicate of The Last Supper, constructed entirely out of hundreds of thousands of hanging spools of thread. Visitors would walk up to the small glass ball (between the two people in this photo), peer through it, and see the pixelated wall hanging transformed into an upright, tiny version of The Last Supper.

Can you imagine how long it must have taken to create this piece?

Last Supper

Overall, we left with a great impression of Crystal Bridges.  If anything, our only complaint would be that the museum was smaller than we anticipated; we were able to see every gallery and visit the gift shop within a couple of hours.

Our last stop of the day was a small balcony overlooking the museum.  This photo probably gives the best sense of the size and style of the buildings and the layout of the museum.  It was a gorgeous view, and we weren’t the only ones who thought so.  While we were on the balcony, I saw a young man very quietly get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend!  It was adorable and she looked so happy!

Crystal Bridges

I’m looking forward to going back and taking a bit more time to appreciate the art and landscape at Crystal Bridges.  This will definitely be on our list of places to take out-of-town visitors when they stay with us.  We are so proud to have such a beautiful new facility in Northwest Arkansas and thankful to have access to some remarkable and meaningful pieces of art so close to home.

Do any of you plan on taking a trip to Crystal Bridges in the future?

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4 Responses to Our Visit to Crystal Bridges

  1. Megann says:

    I plan on visiting! Funny, I’ve got these “big-city” art museums I haven’t visited yet, and I’m looking forward more to the one at home.

  2. Morgan says:

    What an amazing place! The building is beautiful and so modern looking. That piece of The Last Supper is crazy amazing! You guys must have had the best time there. And how sweet that you saw that guy proposing. =)

  3. Jen Y says:

    I’m still planning to go but probably not until after Christmas. I really want to walk the trails in the spring too. I’ve heard they have a sculpture garden & all their trail guides are master gardeners.

    It didn’t look very crowded in your pictures? I assumed it would be packed that first day.

    • Meredith says:

      The museum was a bit crowded, but I think the organizers did a great job of scheduling visits, only making a limited number of “opening day” tickets available, etc. We definitely had the chance to see everything we wanted to see without being jostled around by too many other visitors!

      I’m looking forward to checking out the trails this spring too!

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