$10M Walton Family Grant Fuels Amazeum Capital Campaign

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 9:08 am  

A $10 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation is fueling a $28.5 million capital campaign for the Amazeum, a planned interactive family museum to be located near Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.

Amazeum leaders announced the Walton's one-to-one matching grant on Tuesday. They also announced that Rob and Melani Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation had donated land on Northeast J Street to accommodate the 44,500-SF museum.

"This capital campaign is instrumental to turning the idea of the Amazeum into reality," Sam Dean, the museum's executive director, said in a news release. "We’re very appreciative of the Walton Family Foundation for its generous commitment and, most importantly, for recognizing the opportunity in front of us.

"We're excited to help bring the community together to support the impact the Amazeum will have on youth and families across the region."

The 45,000-SF project is aimed at children and families, emphasizing interactive art and science exhibits, including a climbable canopy structure, a "tinkering studio" for young inventors and an acre of outdoor space. The museum is expected to open in 2015.

Organizers began working on the project in 2006, and the museum hired its first employee in 2008. The Walton Family Foundation previously gave the project a $370,000 grant. 

The new capital campaign steering committee is being led by Eric and Elda Scott.

"The Amazeum and its amenities will be critical connectors in our vibrant and diverse community," said Rob Brothers, director of the Walton Family Foundation's Home Region Focus Area. "Ensuring the reality and longevity of this attraction will make our region an even better place to work and play."

The project has already drawn funding from companies including The Hershey Company, General Mills and Nickelodeon. The Walmart Foundation has also given money. Former Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott and his wife Linda have presenting rights on the project. 



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