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Garrison Family Gives $10 Million To Crystal Bridges; Renovated Lobby Receives Name

A rendering of what the expanded Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will look like when completed in 2024.
Stephen Ironside
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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville announced Wednesday a $10 million gift from the Pamela and Wayne Garrison Family Foundation to support family experiences. In honor of the gift, the museum’s recently renovated lobby area will be named the Pamela and Wayne Garrison Family Foundation Lobby, or Garrison Lobby.

“This generous gift from Wayne, Pam and Alexandra embraces Crystal Bridges mission of welcoming all — and especially welcoming families to have fun together,” said Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges board chair. “It’s fitting that the lobby is named for this family who cares deeply about the positive role of the museum in our community.”

The expanded lobby offers protection from inclement weather and provides new programming opportunities, according to a news release. The lobby area and former courtyard are now enclosed in a glass dome, which has a shade to protect against the sun.

Following are some of the other renovations:

  • Removing doors and glass windows from the front of the Museum Store allows for more open space
  • New information wall features a map of Crystal Bridges, information screens, brochures and coloring pages
  • Visitors now have a path from the lobby to the elevators that lead to the Crystal Bridges Library
  • New, modern furniture

Later this summer, new kiosks will be installed in the lobby for easier access to check in and purchase tickets for exhibitions, events and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House.
“We are thrilled thinking about the number of families that will benefit from these kinds of experiences, and we know that Crystal Bridges, which has been offering great family experiences for a decade, will continue to spark imagination and exploration through art in creative ways,” said Alexandra Garrison Neville, a director of the Big Horn, Wyo.-based nonprofit family foundation. “We look forward to watching families have life-changing experiences at Crystal Bridges.”

Retired trucking executive Wayne Garrison has been a board member for Lowell-based carrier J.B. Hunt Transport Services since 1981. He became company president in 1982, CEO in 1987 and was board chairman from 1995 to 2010. He joined J.B. Hunt in 1976 as plant manager.

In April, Crystal Bridges announced plans to add nearly 100,000 square feet to the 200,000-square-foot museum. The expansion will increase its size by 50% and allow it to showcase its growing collection of 3,500 objects.

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