Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Our Field Trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas

Hi friends! It's finally Fall in NW Arkansas! I've got the windows open and it's not supposed to hit 80º today! Sometimes that's as good as you get in the South---but I've also got walnuts and acorns slamming the tin roof over my porch and the leaves are turning a million gorgeous shades and I wouldn't trade it!

Last week, some members from our homeschool group took a tour of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. I decided to take just a few of the kids so I could spend some time in good discussion with them. Lynzie, Cainan, Selah, Avalon, and I got dressed up and spent a lovely morning out. We are blessed to have this awesome collection right here where we live!

Crystal Bridges was named for the nearby Crystal Springs that feeds the ponds surrounding the museum. It was opened in 2011 and is free to the public. 

John Cage Robot II, Nam June Paik, 1995
We began with a guided tour geared toward the younger kids. 

Endangered Species Series, Andy Warhol, 1983
Lynzie learned about Andy Warhol last year in an art class I taught so it was neat for her to see some of his work in person.

Rosie the Riveter, Norman Rockwell, 1943
Norman Rockwell is one of my favorites---I love his depictions of American life and history.

Coca-Cola (3), Andy Warhol, 1962
Here's the part where I get more honest than I probably should publicly. The museum bought this artwork at auction for $57 million. Fifty. Seven. Million. Dollars. It would take me all day to list the things that could have been done for this community with $57 million. I have a hard time buying the argument that this is a justifiable use of that kind of money for the future of Northwest Arkansas. Especially since---(oh y'all are gonna hate my guts!!) it's not even an original design. Andy Warhol is one of those artists that I want to put quotation marks around. Most of his stuff looks like he took advantage of a great big copy machine. Ok, don't stone me, moving on...

Hanging Heart, Jeff Koons
After a few more stops, we headed to the museum's restaurant, Eleven, for a catered lunch. We ended up sitting right underneath that big heart. It's only just now that I've read about it on the website and learned that it's made of steel and weighs over 3,000 pounds! Um...yikes?

We had a nice lunch of turkey sandwiches, chips, and apples. It was so great to sit in that sunny room and just enjoy my kids. Happy!

Night Zag Wall, Louise Nevelson, 1969-1974
After lunch we had the choice of seeing a special exhibit of work by Dale Chihuly or touring the museum on our own. The kids had some favorite things they wanted to go back and see so we opted to venture out on our own.

Supine Woman, Wayne Thiebaud, 1963
 This painting was the "most meaningful" to me because, on this particular day, I happened to be breaking in a pair of leather boots. OH MY. My feet were on fire by this point in the day---as were Lynzie's and Selah's as they'd chosen to wear heels. We all felt a little like Supine Woman. Ha!

Depression Bread Line, George Segal, 1991
On a more serious note, this exhibit actually did mean a lot to me. These children were here on a field trip with a school group. I wished we could join in on their discussion about the Depression Bread Line.

Passing by a window, Avalon spied this "big golf ball" outside and wanted to see what it was all about. It was 90º with about 90% humidity but we decided to be adventurous and go check it out.

American architect and inventor, Buckminster Fuller, created the Fly's Eye Dome as an answer to the need for inexpensive, portable housing in the early 1980s. Crystal Bridges recently acquired the dome, as well as Fuller's archives, and we were some of the first people to experience it in almost 40 years.

Fly's Eye Dome, Buckminster Fuller, 1965

A French Music Hall, Everett Shinn, 1906
Just about the time we began roasting, we headed inside to the part of the museum that Lynzie and I love best---the antique collection. She and I plan to go back (in sensible shoes) and check it out further soon. 

Summer Day, Frank Weston Benson, 1911
The Reader, Mary Cassatt, 1877

These are the oldest works of art we saw this day: a collection of six Colonial-era portraits attributed to Gerardus Duyckinck. This is the Franks family and they were painted around 1735.

Maman, Louise Bourgeois, 1999
On our way to the gift shop (postcards!!) we encountered this gigantic spider! Yikes!

To top off a great morning, we found a painted rock on our way to the car! Yay! What a fun day out!


  1. What a great post, your photos are awesome, what a great day to tour the museum.
    Thanks for the party!
    Stop by and share on Oh My Heartsie Girls WW too.
    Have a great week!

  2. What a great place to visit! So good to see the pics of your kids having such a good time.

  3. Sarah,
    What an amazing post!!! I am sure everyone enjoying this fantastic museum!! Your children are beautiful and Lynzie is a lovely young woman! I enjoyed seeing the Antique Collection! Thanks for sharing and thanks for hosting! My husband and oldest son went to Pittsburgh to see a hockey game but went to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.I have done some posts on my face book site if you are interested . I will soon be doing a blog post about it too...

    1. Thank you, Debbie! I'll try to check it out soon!

  4. You do a much better job of documenting homeschool activities than I have ever done!

    1. I've made a bigger effort this past summer as I wanted the kids to have good memories of our summer away from home. Life gets busy though so we'll see how long I keep up this trend! Ha!

  5. What a lovely post. I love going to museums and there is so much always to learn and see.
    Have a great week.

    1. We are blessed to have this resource in our community!

  6. Sarah, what a fabulous field trip - I want to go to your homeschool!

  7. Thank you, Sarah, for hosting the blog party! Your museum is absolutely fantastic, but I must say, I agree that the Warhal painting for 57 million was just too much to pay! But then, I also believe that some professional athletes get paid too much, too. I suppose it's all a matter of P&P's (perspectives and priorities), but I am sure quite a few people would agree. Have a great weekend!

    1. It's not that I'm an old curmudgeon....but such a huge amount that seems to be so dispensable could have surely been spent on something with more eternal purpose!


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Mrs. Sarah Coller

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