By Frankie Meyer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Want an inexpensive way to inspire your family with an interest in American history? In spite of these tough economic times, there is a place in the Four State area where you and your family can have a world-class adventure that rivals any found in New York City or Boston.
That place is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where admission and parking are free.
The museum, located in Bentonville, Ark., opened last November. Thanks mainly to Alice Walton, a daughter of Helen and Sam Walton, the museum has art galleries that showcase the history of our nation.
The paintings and sculptures, many of which cost millions of dollars, will let your family step back in time and imagine the lives of their ancestors. As you walk through the galleries, you will see paintings about subjects such as Colonial times, the American West, Native American tribes and the Civil War. Those jewels of art will inspire and enrich your lives.
Interconnected pavilions circle around a scenic pond, and glass-walled bridges cross over the water. A museum gift shop offers jewelry, fine art prints, hand-crafted baskets and other works by regional artists.
The museum also has an art history library that has a ceiling built with beams of native yellow pine logs. Over 50,000 items are available for use in researching American Art.
Several spring-fed creeks flow through the 120-acre site. Since Crystal Spring is one of them, that name was chosen for the museum. While at the complex, your family can walk along a 3-mile trail and enjoy the flowing waters and numerous sculptures along the way.
Town trails connect with the museum trails. The Orchard Trail is open to bicycles. For those who would like to use the bicycle trail, the museum has bicycle racks. Trails are open from dawn to dusk.
After seeing the galleries, walking the trails and shopping at the museum, take a break at the museum's restaurant before heading home.
Various art programs for children and adults are offered at the museum. Those programs are discussed on the museum website.
The museum is located at 600 Museum Way. It is closed Tuesdays but is open 11 a.m until 9 p.m. Wednesday and Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. For more details, check www.crystalbridges.org or call 479-418-5700. The website provides easy directions to the museum.
Suggestions or queries? Send to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.