Crystal Bridges Museum Shows Off New Entrance, Other Updates


(Photos by Stephen Ironside )
(Photos by Stephen Ironside )
(Photos by Stephen Ironside )
(Photos by Stephen Ironside )
(Photos by Stephen Ironside )
(Photos by Stephen Ironside )

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville this week unveiled new updates, including a new entrance, elevator tower and a pedestrian bridge on the north side of the museum.

The additions were designed to increase access to the museum's north lawn and trail system, officials said. The entrance will be open the public in June, in time for the "Chihuly: In the Gallery and In the Forest" exhibition. 

The new elevator tower was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, who also designed the museum itself. The elevator will open onto the east end of the Twentieth Century Gallery Bridge, creating a third public entrance to the museum.

The space will serve as a north lobby with a guest services desk, storage lockers and other amenities. At the top level, visitors will cross a 100-foot elevated bridge to reach the North Forest Trail, which has been widened and paved.

The opening of the upcoming temporary Chihuly exhibition will serve as the grand re-opening of Crystal Bridges' North Forest Trail, formerly known as the Dogwood Trail.

After a year of construction, the paved trail will increase accessibility of the museum's natural landscape, especially for visitors using wheelchairs, strollers or mobility scooters.

The 1.1 mile-long trail is 10 feet wide and designed in a figure eight. The first loop will feature Chihuly art installations, and the second loop will be walkable, but will have no artwork installed until after the Chihuly exhibition.

After the close of the Chihuly exhibition, the museum's North Forest Trail will re-open for public access and will re-connect to the Razorback Regional Greenway trail system. 

Safdie designed the tower with a nod to the existing museum architecture, using shared materials such as glass and copper. Local architects Hight-Jackson and Associates, who assisted in the construction of the Frank Lloyd Wright house on museum grounds, were involved in the process, as well as CEI Engineering Associates Inc., Tatum-Smith Engineers Inc. and Flintco.