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10 Years of Meaningful Memories, Submitted by Teachers and Students

Small group touring museum
Photo by Marc F. Henning Springdale Schools tour of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on Jan. 21, 2016, in Bentonville, Ark.

What does Crystal Bridges mean to you?

For educators and students, it’s a place that sparks inspiration and imagination, creates interdisciplinary connections between American art and core curriculum subjects, and provides necessary resources for growth and development for all ages and skill levels—all for free!

Join us in reminiscing on our first decade by browsing meaningful memories submitted by students and educators who have enjoyed the museum’s free school programs, events, workshops, field trips, tours, and more:

a group of elementary and middle school students look at Martin Johnson Heade's Gems of Brazil paintings in the early american art gallery

Janna Carwilee

I heard a presentation about a study conducted by the University of Arkansas and Crystal Bridges about how art influences children who had never been to a museum in person. The next time I went to the museum, I cried at hearing children around me talk about the art. It was so touching to feel and see that impact.

a young girl and boy look at a portrait of george washington by charles willson peale in the crystal bridges gallery

Kathy Conley

My favorite visit to Crystal Bridges was a high school field trip. Seeing the students’ awe and wonder in seeing the art, architecture, and displays allowed me to see everything through eyes filled with wonder once again.

a group of student visitors lay in a circle underneath maman in the museum courtyard

Tracy Gibson

My co-teacher and I brought 14 of our art students from Norman, Oklahoma, and spent the day at Crystal Bridges the year before COVID-19 hit. It was an amazing adventure. Many of our students had never been to an art museum, nor out of Oklahoma, before. This was a moment in their lives they will never forget, and neither will I. They absolutely loved it! They laughed, they played, they looked in awe, they learned. It was a highlight in their high school careers―and in my teaching career.

Low vase of pastel flowers on a pedestal in front of a portrait of George Washington
Floral Design by Sugar House. Gilbert Stuart, George Washington [The Constable-Hamilton Portrait], 1797, oil on canvas, 50 x 40 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2005.27.

Anne Greeott

I have taken my advanced Spanish classes on tours all in Spanish and have loved seeing their confidence as they’re able to use their skills outside the classroom and interact with the wonderful guides. Thank you for integrating bilingual experiences into Crystal Bridges!

Young girl looking at 3D sculpture hanging on wall
Evan Penny, Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (Not) Be, Variation #2, 2010, silicone, pigment, hair, fabric, and aluminum,33 7/8 x 29 7/8 x 23 1/4 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Mary Greim-Gallo

Crystal Bridges opened my eyes to amazing American art. I first visited the museum for a teacher institute two years ago and have kept in touch ever since. I have had several virtual field trips that introduced my students to your museum, and they loved it!  I also attended a virtual summer institute this past summer. I cannot wait for my next visit. The museum is such a beautiful place in our country.

a group of elementary and middle school students look at Sol Lewitt's Wall Drawing Loopy Doopy in the modern art gallery

Vickie (Breann) Johnston

I teach at a school in the Hot Springs area with a high poverty rate. I had the opportunity to bring kids on an overnight trip to Bentonville in 2019, and we did a program that combined math and art. It was so spectacular to see the math come alive through the art in their eyes! Many of these students had never been out of their city, or to a museum, so I loved exposing them to such an amazing museum!

Frank Lloyd Wright Wilson Bachman House exterior at night

Nann Miller

I love everything about Crystal Bridges! The willingness to host our students for a variety of projects (I’m a retired U of A design professor), the interior architecture of the Museum Store, the collection itself, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Bachman-Wilson House, the trails and grounds, that the museum exceeded attendance expectations so early…I can’t say enough. Many of my students had never visited a museum before traveling to Crystal Bridges; the recounting of their experiences was the most memorable. What a gift!

Guest looking at crystals in the gallery
Photo by Ironside Photography / Stephen Ironside.

Tammy Roberson

A couple years ago, we were able to bring my students to Crystal Bridges for a museum program and visit. I loved watching their faces as they recognized items we had talked about (“Look, Ms. Roberson, there’s a huge crystal!”), and were introduced to art they may not have ever gotten the chance to see otherwise.

Interested in connecting your curricula with artwork at the museum? Explore classroom connections that pair specific works of art with school curricula and offer suggestions for lessons in the classroom.

Tour group studying lifelike sculpture

Jaime Rollans

The first time I took my AP Art History class to visit the museum, one of my students said “I have never seen such a place!” Others would run up to me and want to show me works by artists we had studied in class. The joy in their eyes at the experience they were having is the true reward of teaching.

a school class poses with alice walton on walker landing

Tracie Satterly

My favorite CB memory is when I took my students on my first field trip to the museum, and we met Alice Walton who posed for a photo with us! I was so excited to take my students to the museum that day and have the opportunity to take them for many years ahead, and I arranged for my whole school to go every year since! The museum has taught me so much about American art, especially African American art, and I have loved every lecture, event, tour, exhibit, and minute spent there. 

Want to plan a field trip but not sure where to begin? Check out our School Field Trip FAQ for Educators, then book your field trip on our website.

a group of elementary and middle school students look at Kerry James Marshall's Our Town in the contemporary art gallery

Jody Scherer

My husband taught high school art in a small rural school in southern Missouri. We brought seven students for the day on a field trip. Seeing these teenagers experiencing art was wonderful. My husband is retired now, and this is still one of our favorite places to go. Our children have grown up on Crystal Bridges!

Two men standing on bluff in the mountains over looking a creek at the bottom of a ravine.
Asher B. Durand, Kindred Spirits, 1849, oil on canvas, 44 x 36 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2010.106.

Janet Tilley

For a number of years, I taught American Studies with another teacher who became my best friend. We loved teaching about the Romantic Era and focused on the Hudson River Valley writers, artists, and activists. I always used the poetry of William Cullen Bryant and the art of Thomas Cole. The day that we could visit together and linger over Kindred Spirits is my most cherished memory. My teaching partner/friend is in the last stages of a cancer battle. This moment at CB is written on my soul.

Woman stands in front of group of guests giving tour of art

Astrid Turner

My favorite memory was the Professional Development (PD) summer workshop I took for The African American Experience. It was life-changing. Over the years, Crystal Bridges has continued to inspire me to become a better art teacher. I truly appreciate having such a great collection of art so local, especially along with progressive and inclusive educational resources.

Interested in professional development opportunities for educators? Join us on December 4 for a Saturday Teacher Retreat: Exploring Narrative through In American Waters.