Van Buren, AR Thursday Oct. 31
The morning continued the warm, rainy pattern from Wednesday but cleared up by noon. To be on the safe side, we spent the early parts of the day primarily inside. Our first stop was the Veteran’s Wall of Honor in Bella Vista. This was a project of the local VFW and American Legion.
Then it was on to downtown Bentonville. We visited the Sam Walton Museum housed in the first Walton’s 5 and 10 store. (He had managed Ben Franklin stores prior to this.) Sam’s life of beginning humbly but being driven to succeed and provide goods at rock bottom prices so people could buy more and live on less is repeated throughout the museum. The growth of Walmart (first store in Rogers, AR in 1962) is documented. The focus on being people driven is highlighted along with recent efforts for environmental and charitable actions. Whatever your thoughts about Walmart, it is a remarkable story.
We finished up the museum with spending money on another ice cream lunch-and a post card- at the soda fountain. Another stop was the 21c Hotel. It is a new, funky hotel that has been rated one of the top ten in the U.S.
The afternoon was spent at Crystal Bridges. You may or may not have heard of this art museum. It is in Bentonville and opened on Nov. 11, 2011. The collection features American art. It is primarily a creation of Alice Walton (the daughter of Sam and Helen Walton) and the Walton Family Foundation. Admission is free, sponsored by Walmart. The design of the museum did not impress us, primarily due to the heavy use of concrete which to us overwhelmed the supposed theme of glass and wood.
The collection inside is remarkable and has received rave reviews. Crystal Bridges has purchased from other institutions and collectors famous works of art with a long list of multi million dollar items. People are coming to Bentonville from all over the U.S., probably the world, to view these masterpieces. As a totally free museum, one can return frequently. Non flash photography is allowed so we can include several of the artworks for your pleasure.
The grounds of the museum have several trails winding through the property with outdoor sculpture at numerous locations. The afternoon was relatively clear and we walked around most of the property.
Tonight we are staying in Van Buren, AR, in west-central AR close to the Oklahoma border. We will be visiting Fort Smith Friday.
Ed Heimel Chris Klejbuk Oct. 31 9 pm