Walker Foundation Gives Crystal Bridges $10 Million to Pay For School Visits

by Serenah McKay  on Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2011 9:15 am  

The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation has donated $10 million to cover the costs of school groups visiting Bentonville's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, scheduled to open Nov. 11.

The endowment from the Springdale-based foundation will pay for transportation, lunches for students and teachers, and educational materials. Funds will be available to all public and private K-12 schools on a first-come, first-served basis beginning next fall, a museum news release stated.

The museum will start taking applications for the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program next spring.

Each visit will include a one-hour guided tour of the museum's permanent collection, lunch and a half-hour session in the Experience Studio, a hands-on, interactive gallery space.

Teachers will be able to choose from several themed tours, each designed to connect with existing curriculum in art, history, social studies, language arts and sciences at various grade levels.

In the news release, Crystal Bridges executive director Don Bacigalupi called the donation "a gift to schools all across the region" that "removes the financial barriers for schools and will allow the teachers and students to benefit from all that Crystal Bridges has to offer."

In honor of the donation, the museum's large outdoor patio area -- between the lobby and the educational wing -- has been named Walker Landing.



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