Plans unveiled for ‘Amazeum’ children’s museum in Bentonville

An artist rendering of the entrance to the Amazeum children’s museum, coming to Bentonville in 2015.


After more than seven years in the making, plans for a new children’s museum near Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art were finally unveiled on Thursday.

The new museum, to be named the Amazeum, will be built on land located on Northeast J Street in Bentonville.

“This is a day we’ve been anticipating since early 2006, when a group of visionary parents, business leaders and educators recognized the need for a museum that would amaze children of all ages and their families while enhancing the quality of life throughout the region,” said Bob Arvin, president of the Amazeum’s Board of Directors.

The outdoor space of the planned Amazeum children’s museum


Plans for the Amazeum unveiled Thursday include a 44,500-square-foot facility, with an acre of outdoor space for “a backdrop for experiments and experiences inspired by the seasons.” Possible exhibits include a tinkering studio, water area, climbable tree canopy, and a lab.

The museum also introduced new executive director Sam Dean on Thursday. Dean, who was hired in November, previously served as a director for Exploratorium in the San Francisco Bay area, as well as the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

Fundraising efforts for the museum are ongoing, but a $10 million matching donation and land from the Walton Family Foundation, along with commitments from Lee and Linda Scott, The Hershey Company, General Mills and Nickelodeon helped get the project started. Details of a membership program will be announced in the coming months, Dean said.

The Amazeum is expected to open sometime in 2015.