Rockwell Exhibition Closes, Two New Exhibitions Open at Crystal Bridges

BENTONVILLE, AR — The halls of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art were especially busy this spring, as visitors from near and far came to view American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell, a traveling exhibition organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. When the exhibition concluded on May 27 after its 11-week duration, more than 121,000 people had visited the museum to view it.

According to data from the Rockwell Museum, this attendance figure tops visitation numbers from the 12 previous exhibition locations—including cities such as Sacramento, CA; Detroit, MI; Raleigh, NC; and Orlando, FL.

“We believed that this outstanding exhibition of a beloved artist’s work would resonate with our guests, and we’re gratified to see just how meaningful it was to so many people,” said Crystal Bridges Executive Director Rod Bigelow. “All of our staff has been actively involved in making this exhibition a success, and along the way, we’ve been hearing guests’ stories that have left an impression on all of us—from grandparents talking to their grandchildren about a moment in history they remember, to viewers commenting on the impact of Rockwell’s civil rights-era works. That shared experience is our goal in bringing these types of exhibitions to Crystal Bridges.”

During the exhibition, nearly 5,000 participants in school tours and 6,375 participants in group tours were able to visit American Chronicles, as were two area hospice patients who made special requests to view Rockwell’s works. “Crystal Bridges generously fulfilled what we call an end-of-life wish by providing private tours of the Norman Rockwell exhibition,” said Bentonville-based Circle of Life Hospice social worker Meghan Hastings. “Viewing the exhibition had been a desire of these patients since they heard the famous artist’s work was coming to Northwest Arkansas. Watching their faces as they viewed the Rockwell paintings was a beautiful thing!”

Coming Soon: Angels & Tomboys and Surveying George Washington

Building on the success of American Chronicles, Crystal Bridges will debut two exhibitions later this month designed to entertain and inform summer visitors.

Angels & Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art

June 29 through September 30

Organized by the Newark Museum, this exhibition features approximately 72 masterworks, including paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs, by artists including John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Cecilia Beaux and Mary Cassatt

In the aftermath of the Civil War, the American girl seemed transformed—at once more introspective and adventurous than the previous generation. Although the culture still prized the demure female child of the past, many saw a bolder type as the new, alternate ideal. Girlhood was no longer simple, and the complementary images of angel and tomboy emerged as competing visions of this new generation. Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art explores the myriad ways artists portrayed young girls: from the sentimental, innocent stereotype to the free-spirited individual.

Tickets are $5 for adults, free for Museum Members and youth ages 18 and under. Angels & Tomboys is sponsored at Crystal Bridges by Boyce Billingsley, Greenwood Gearhart Inc., Meza Harris, and NWA Media/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Surveying George Washington

June 29 through September 30

This summer, Crystal Bridges will mount the second of an ongoing series of exhibitions featuring historical documents pertaining to the Museum’s mission and collection. This year’s exhibition focuses on George Washington, and features an assortment of documents written by Washington himself, or by contemporaries who knew him. The aim is to provide a look at Washington that offers insight into his life as a real person, not just a historical figure. The exhibition will feature documents spanning the breadth of Washington’s life, including, among others, a land survey prepared by Washington at age 19; a copy of the broadside recruiting poster mustering troops for what would become a regiment under Washington’s command during the French & Indian War; a hand-written letter to General John Cadwalader of the Pennsylvania militia, appealing to him for troops to continue the push against British outposts in New Jersey during the War for Independence; and a hand-written letter by Washington’s private secretary Tobias Lear, announcing Washington’s death in 1799.  Also included is a first edition of George Washington’s Last Will and Testament, printed from the record of the County Court of Fairfax, 1800.

No special tickets are required, and there is no admission fee to view Surveying George Washington. Space is limited in the exhibition area, and admission is first-come, first-served. The exhibition is sponsored by Susan and Chip Chambers and by Randy and Valorie Lawson / Lawco Energy Group.

About Crystal Bridges

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of landscape.

Situated on 120 wooded acres in Bentonville, Arkansas, Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation as a nonprofit charitable organization for all to enjoy. Philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton chairs the Museum’s board of directors. The building was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie and opened to the public on 11-11-11. Crystal Bridges’ growing collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from the Colonial era to the current day. The permanent collection is enhanced by a variety of temporary exhibitions.

In its first year of operation, the Museum welcomed more than 650,000 visitors and garnered more than 7,750 households in its membership. More than 11,500 schoolchildren visited the Museum as part of the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program, and nearly 700 volunteers provided more than 24,000 hours of service. The inaugural year also saw the establishment of the Tyson Scholars in American Art, a residency program providing research funding for topics in American art history, as well as the Don Tyson Prize, awarded to an individual for outstanding service in the field of art history. 

Crystal Bridges offers year-round programming for all ages, including lectures, art-making workshops, films, gallery talks, and special events. An award-winning app available free from iTunes features audio tours of current and past temporary exhibitions, and many of the Museum’s lectures and gallery talks are included in Crystal Bridges’ iTunes U site, which also features interviews with curators, artists, and conservators. In addition, Crystal Bridges offers professional development for teachers and educational programming for K-12 school groups designed to fit with Common Core standards.

Additional information about Crystal Bridges is available online at CrystalBridges.org.

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