May 17, 2023 At the Museum For most Americans, Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer season with the end of school, time spent with family, and travel—lots of travel. Whether you’re one of the 42 million Americans hitting the road or a Northwest Arkansas native wanting to make the most of the long weekend, if you’re thinking about heading to the museum, we’ve got your holiday plans covered. With a collection spanning the breadth of American art, stunning architecture, over five miles of trails, and free general admission, there’s plenty to do and enjoy at Crystal Bridges. To help you plan, here’s a few of our top recommendations for what to do at Crystal Bridges this Memorial Day weekend: 1. Catch the last weekend of Listening Forest. A fan-favorite set in the North Forest, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s interactive, nighttime experience Listening Forest will be closing for the season after May 28. The site-specific exhibition brings together eight immersive installations, each one activated by you: your heart rate, your body, your voice, and your movements direct the forest’s response. This project brings together art and technology in a natural setting to create poetic, shared experiences the whole family can enjoy. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Listening Forest, "Summon", 2022, Bentonville Arkansas / United States, Photo by Stephen Ironside. Add your heartbeat to an array of 3,000 lightbulbs each glimmering to the pulse of a different participant from the past. Control giant, 20-foot-tall stick figures made of light. Leave a voice recording that will join a chorus of echoes left by previous forest visitors, and much more. After Memorial Day, the exhibition will be closed for the summer, so take advantage of the last long spring evenings and catch it while you can. Tickets are slightly cheaper when purchased in advance, so reserve your spot online or with Guest Services today. Traveling with the kiddos? Don’t worry about the cost—admission to Listening Forest is free for youth and kids ages 18 and under. 2. Explore Diego Rivera’s America before it departs this summer. Diego Rivera, Woman with Calla Lilies, 1945, oil on masonite, 47 5/8 x 47 1/2 in. Private collection, U.S.A.; courtesy Galeria Interart; © 2022 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Scott Cramer There’s not been an exhibition like Diego Rivera’s America in over 20 years—and it’s only on view until July 31. Featuring rarely seen works from private collections, major paintings on loan from museums in the United States and Mexico, studies for mural projects in Mexico City, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York, and large-scale digital projections of Rivera’s epic murals, this collection of over 130 works is the first and most comprehensive exhibition focused solely on Rivera’s work in over two decades. With its focus on everyday people, the power of labor, and a vision of a unified, transnational America, Rivera’s work is also timelier than ever. He imagined an America—broadly understood—that shared an Indigenous past and an industrial future, and where cooperation, rather than divisions, were paramount. Tickets are just $12, and are free for veterans, youth ages 18 and under, SNAP participants, and museum members. 3. Catch a live taping of eTown at the Momentary. OK, you got us—this isn’t something to do at Crystal Bridges. But since our contemporary art space the Momentary is just a five minute drive away, it might as well be. And in addition to the art and exhibitions on view (all free), that means that you can catch a live taping of national radio and podcast sensation eTown Friday, May 26. Host and veteran bluegrass musician Nick Forster (Hot Rize) will welcome four-time Grammy-nominated poet, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Allison Russell and Oklahoma-native artist Parker Millsap for an evening of intimate musical performances and captivating conversation. In keeping with eTown’s signature blend of live music and engaging conversation between top-notch musicians and celebrated authors, scientists, and policymakers, the live show features performances from both musical acts, interviews celebrating local community leaders, and a one-of-a-kind musical collaboration with the eTown house band. Tickets are required—reserve yours online at theMomentary.org. 4. Discover new perspectives on art and music in the galleries. From free gallery talks on the inspirational power of Arkansas folk music to focus exhibitions on how artworks and representations of our flag can connect individuals across time, there are always new perspectives, ideas, and experiences to be had in the galleries. Admission to our permanent collection is always free, and works are constantly moving in and out of the museum, so exploring the galleries is a great way to learn something new. Take a look at our exhibitions page to learn more about what’s on view for the season, or explore our tour offerings. 5. Build a passion for sustainable housing with Architecture at Home. Photo by Stephen Ironside Architecture at Home, Crystal Bridges’ outdoor architecture exhibition, brings together five prototypes for homes to spark a dialogue about contemporary housing. Through research, interviews, and innovative thinking, five architecture firms based across the Americas designed and fabricated 500 square-foot prototypes for contemporary houses. The exhibition helps us better understand how architecture affects our lives, determine what makes a house a home, and celebrate the artistry in building and shelter. Exhibited along the Orchard Trail on the museum’s grounds and anchored by R. Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, itself a prototype for an experimental home, the varied forms and materials of the five structures express unique ways in which we could live. The exhibition is free, no tickets required. 6. Hit the trails before the heat rolls in. Arkansas is known as “the Natural State” for a good reason—so why not explore it while you’re here? With more than five miles of trails, 120 acres of Ozark landscapes, streams, forests, Quartz crystals, and even a free Outdoor app, there’s lots to see and explore while you’re here. And best of all, late spring is a great time to see the grounds in all their glory—before the summer heat rolls in. Curious about what’s growing and blooming while you’re here? Check out our plant guide to sort what’s blooming by month, see what’s on each trail, and learn more about Arkansas flora. It’s a great way to learn together as a family or plan your afternoon hike. 7. Catch a guided tour about what inspires you. Crystal Bridges is filled with stories, and for each one there’s a guide ready to help tell it. With free, guided drop-in tours covering art, architecture, nature, sculpture, and more, there’s always a friendly Guide ready to help you discover what inspires you. Prefer to explore at your own pace? Our free Indoor app features audio tours (including one narrated by our founder Alice Walton), interactive maps, and in-depth info about the artworks, architecture, and nature in and around the museum. Check out our Calendar to see what tours are scheduled for the weekend, or explore our full range of tour options. Bilingual and ASL-interpreted tours are also available—just email Access@CrystalBridges.org or speak to Guest Services at (479) 657-2335 to schedule yours today! We also have accommodations available for any guests who need them. Learn more. 8. Snag a sweet treat or a cold drink at the coffee bar. Summer is cold coffee season, and we are here for it. Stop by our coffee bar just off the Garrison Lobby for sweet treats, grab-and-go lunch items, snacks, drinks, and more. For fans of a certain mermaid-branded coffee chain, we especially recommend checking out the coffee smoothies: frosty, creamy, and made with flavors by NWA favorite pH Alchemy, these blended, frozen treats are a perfect way to beat the heat. 9. Enjoy creative time together as a family in The Studio. Come stop by the Studio Saturday, May 27, and meet guest painter and artist Anna Devonshire! You’ll get to know the person behind the art and learn more about the vision and creativity that informs Anna’s work. You’ll also see a demonstration of her creative practice and process, get the chance to ask questions, and enjoy a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the work of a studio artist. Want to get hands-on with your own projects? Swing by Drop-in Artmaking in the afternoons and create together with a semi-guided activity that’s perfect for kids and families of all ages. Ready to head to your museum? Check out our Plan a Visit page or Calendar today!