Skip to main content

10 Spaces around Crystal Bridges You May Not Know About

Crystal Bridges sits on 120 acres of natural Ozark forest. That’s a lot of ground to cover! Across this campus, there are several spaces, both in the museum and around the grounds, that many folks might not know about. In celebration of our upcoming 10-year anniversary, here are 10 lesser-known spots around the museum to discover on your next visit:

 

In the Museum

the niche gallery space

1. The Niche

Located in the Early American Art Gallery, just behind the wall that features Nari Ward’s We the People artwork, the Niche is a small room where Crystal Bridges staff members experiment with their own mini-exhibitions or activities for the public to enjoy. This room changes every few months and the content inside is always a surprise.

Photo by Ironside Photography / Stephen Ironside.

2. The Reflection Area

Located midway down the Great Hall Corridor, the reflection area is a great section to have a seat and take a moment to…reflect. Currently, this space is the entryway to the temporary exhibition Crystal Bridges at 10, but all guests are free to enjoy the space, even without a ticket. The glass windows bring nature into the space and also gives visitors a great opportunity to view Dale Chihuly’s Turquoise Reeds and Ozark Fiori.

The Studio - families making artwork

3. The Studio

Have you tried your hand at artmaking in the Studio? This family-friendly space is the perfect spot for adults and children alike to create their own masterpiece during their museum adventure, complete with art activities, books, and a play area. This space is accessible via the galleries or from Walker Landing.

autumn view of the north forest from the north elevator bridge

4. The North Tower Elevator

Just look at that view. This one is in the “in the museum” section because visitors access the North Tower elevator through the galleries. Before entering the Modern Art Gallery bridge, take a right and enter the room that holds the elevator. Enjoy the beautiful views of the North Forest from the bridge at the top, and also enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the museum from a different vantage point.

Around the Grounds

North Forest Shelter

5. Rock Ledge Shelter

If you find yourself on the North Tower (see #4), the Rock Ledge Shelter isn’t too far away. Built of native stone and wood, this structure is located in the North Forest, just up the path from Dale Chihuly’s Fiori Boat. Now until November 29, 2021, you can also experience a sound installation in this structure: Bethany Collins: America: A Hymnal.

Nancy Schön, Tortoise and Hare
Nancy Schön, Tortoise and Hare, 2009, Tortoise: 29 x 29 x 60 in., Hare: 36 x 24 x 29 in., silicon bronze, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2009.8

6. Tortoise and Hare

Okay, this one isn’t really “hidden” since it’s on the Art Trail at the south entrance to the museum’s grounds, but it might not be known for those who have only driven to Crystal Bridges. Tortoise and Hare by artist Nancy Schön depicts the classic Aesop fable that teaches us “slow and steady wins the race.” The victorious tortoise is seen reaching the museum’s entrance first while the hare scratches his ears in the grass behind and across the path. Learn more about this work and the artist here.

7. The Monarch Waystation

This one isn’t exactly hidden either, but it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking. Located just off the South Lawn, Crystal Bridges has a Monarch Waystation. These stations, found in gardens, backyards, and parks across the country, provide resources necessary for monarch butterflies to sustain their migration, such as milkweed and nectar. You can also enjoy Yayoi Kusama’s Flowers that Bloom Now sculpture which was just recently relocated to this space. The juxtaposition of Kusama’s vibrant colors and polka dots on her flower combined with the natural colors of our native plants makes for a fun moment to experience both art and nature.

two people at the overlook looking at crystal bridges

8. The Overlook

This was a favorite spot for folks who enjoyed watching the construction of the museum before it opened to the public. It’s a lovely spot to take a break on the trails and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Crystal Bridges from the woods. Seating is available.

The Tulip Tree Shelter
The Tulip Tree Shelter

9. Tulip Tree Shelter

This structure was originally a 1:3 scale model of Crystal Bridges’ roof structure, built to test the design prior to construction of the museum. Located just off the Tulip Tree Trail, this structure is nestled into the forest, offering a lovely moment to experience architecture within nature. It’s also a great place to take a break, meditate, breathe, journal, or just have a moment to yourself.

10. Arkansas Quartz Crystals on the Trail

From the South Lawn, head toward the Twin Bridges and cross the first one. Continue down that path (along the museum’s Upper Pond), and you’ll come across a stone grotto made of boulders that are covered in natural quartz crystals. These boulders, ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 pounds, were excavated from a mine in west central Arkansas, an area that produces some of the largest and clearest quartz crystals in the world.

 

Have you been to all of these spots? Make a plan to find all of these spaces you may not have known about during your next visit to Crystal Bridges.