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Meet Our 10-Year'd Staff: Carol Roberts

headshot of staff member carol roberts

In celebration of Crystal Bridges’ 10-year anniversary, we are highlighting museum staff who have been working at Crystal Bridges since the beginning: 10 years or longer! So take a few moments to meet our 10-Year’d (get it? tenured?) staff. In today’s blog, meet Group Tours Associate Carol Roberts, who is celebrating 14 years at Crystal Bridges.


Tell us a little about your role. What do you do at Crystal Bridges?
I have been on staff since June 2007. We were a small group that was located in the historic Massey Hotel on the Bentonville Square. I started the first month that we opened Crystal Bridges at the Massey.

My current role is in the Group Tour department. I plan group visits to the museum which usually includes tours, lunches, tickets, and securing guides. I also help the group connect with their guides, and I’m available for any questions or concerns. Some groups book multi-day schedules. I also greet groups that drop in unscheduled. The groups that I deal with range from art museum lovers to first-time art museum visitors. In my role, I work with many of the other museum departments.

Two staff members pose together
Working at Crystal Bridges at the Massey, 2009.

Have you always been in this role? If not, how has it changed?
My role 14 years ago included working in the gallery in the Massey Hotel and in the administration office. In the gallery, I shared information with guests about the beautiful museum that we were in the process of building. At that time in the gallery, we opened a new exhibition every 3-4 months, and I shared information about the art that was on view and the artist. It was an exciting time for Bentonville because we knew nothing like this had been done before in the area, and we knew that this was just the beginning. Our guests loved what we offered. We had artist talks, book signings, a children’s area, and art classes.

Staff member Carol Roberts leads a tour group at the Frank Lloyd Wright House
Carol leads a tour group.
Staff member with a hard hat in front of the Momentary before opening
Touring the Momentary before it opened.

In your role, can you share with us 1-2 significant changes you’ve seen happen (or been part of) at Crystal Bridges over the last 10 years?
I love the diversity in staff that I am seeing now that I did not see at the beginning. I also enjoy all the staff training on important cultural issues that we receive.

color-blind glasses

What is something we do at the museum now that we were not doing 10 years ago?
I love the museum’s commitment to making the museum accessible for all visitors. Colorblind glasses by EnChroma are available to guests for check-out. In addition to wheelchairs, we now offer canes, sign language interpretation for tours, tactile and multisensory tours, and much more.

Staff member poses with a journalist visitor
Carol planned a trip for a group that included American journalist Jim Lehrer, executive editor of PBS News Hour and moderator of many presidential debates.

What has kept you here?
Believing in the mission and liking the opportunity to learn and grow every single day. I love the energy and the amazing staff members.


What has been the most exciting artwork you’ve seen at the museum, either in the collection or in an exhibition? Most exciting moment? 

I remember walking on the museum property with Moshe Safdie, the museum’s architect, before the museum was even built. I remember walking with James Turrell into the Skyspace before it opened to the public and hearing him talk about his process. While working here, I have had the opportunity to meet many interesting people including celebrities, presidents, and authors.

How have you grown over the last 10 years, either as a person or in your professional capacity?
I know that I have grown personally and professionally. I have become a far better listener than I have ever been. I value my time and our guest’s time, now more than ever.


If you could go back 10 years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you say?
Don’t stress and worry so much about every detail of your work. Also, know that you have to look out for yourself and that you can do far more than you ever dreamed you could.


What do you think Crystal Bridges will be like 10 years from now?
I believe it will be one of the largest art institutions in the country with people coming in larger numbers than ever before to see the museum and grounds. I think the staff will be far more diverse. I believe we will continue to add more exciting works to our collection and that it will always be a place where all are welcome.

Carol performed with First Things First for the opening of the Momentary. Here, she poses with her team.
Carol performed with First Things First for the opening of the Momentary. Carol says: "We performed three separate shows; it was great fun!"