Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art expects to welcome its one-millionth visitor this week since opening less than two years ago in Bentonville.
The milestone comes much earlier than anticipated. When the museum was first proposed, annual attendance was estimated at 150,000 to 300,000 guests. The museum topped those estimates in the first six months and logged more than 650,000 visitors in its first year of operation.
“From the day we opened our doors, our goal has been to welcome visitors to experience the power of art and the beauty of nature, and we’re thankful to have been able to create these connections with such a vast audience,” said Rod Bigelow, the museum’s executive director.
Since opening day on Nov. 11, 2011, 64 percent of the museum’s visitors were from Arkansas, and 20 percent came from Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi. The remaining 16 percent came from other states in the U.S. and the globe.
The daily attendance includes students participating in Crystal Bridges’ Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program, a curriculum-based experience for K-12 students that currently has served 27,500 students from districts throughout the region.