FC: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
1: Designed by architect Moshe Sadfie Crystal Bridges is a complement to the surrounding landscape. Two ponds were created from a nearby spring. Poured concrete walls and red cedar trim, brushed steel railings an soaring pine beams suggest the combination of nature and design at the core of the museum. | No matter what time of year, or what time of day or night you visit, the museum grounds are always new and uniquely beautiful. From cheery welcome phrases painted inside the parking garage to engaging sculptures on the walk to the building, the atmosphere is at once captivating and comfortable.
2: At the door of the front lobby I was greeted by Tom from Visitor Services who directed me to the check-in desk. He then explained the layout of the museum, directed me on where to start, answered all of my questions and pointed out the signs to follow. When you enter there is a lot going on because the restaurant entrance is directly in front of you and busy, so it is nice to have guidance. | Great signage makes it simple to find where you are going and what events and activities are taking place. I especially liked the "Today" fliers scattered here and there which are a synopsis of scheduled exhibits and special events for the day.
3: And then you enter the magic of the galleries
4: The impeccable hand of the curator is seen in the play between the paintings and sculptures, and in the shape of the exhibit space and colors of the walls. The design of the building caters to the flow of the exhibit. Friendly when approached, the attendants otherwise try to stay in the background stealthily avoiding my photography.
5: Large Print Labels for all galleries, reading areas interspersed between galleries, ipads with reference materials, and a music component to one exhibit meet the needs and desires of all types of visitors. A collaboration between librarians, visitor services, curators and education staff, these elements create a seamless experience.
6: The | The museum abounds with opportunities for kids of all ages. A take-along activity book, the Experience Art Studio, weekly events, along with water's edge classes and hiking outside ensure nobody will be bored here! Education staff caters to school groups and scheduled classes while volunteers help visitors outside and in the studio.
7: Claes Oldenburg’s sculpture Alphabet/Good Humor, stands at the entrance and looks a bit like a giant intestinal track, which is at once disturbing and appropriate for a restaurant. | Even the Cokes here are works of art! | Eleven, the museum's restaurant consists of a sit-down restaurant which serves salads, sandwiches and desserts during the day. More elaborate dinners and exhibit themed tastings are available on weekend evenings. Special events include cooking classes and seasonal dinner events and are open to the public. There is also a coffee/wine bar and reading area to relax.
8: From elevators to bathrooms and from security to climate, facilities management keeps things functional for everyone. Don't tell, but there were spiderwebs on Pinocchio's nose...
9: The beautiful gift shop equipped with museum prints, books, jewelry educational toys, funky firework lights. Staffed by employees and volunteers. And, of course, stuffed Andy Warhol.
10: At closing time the woman at the check-in desk called a cab for me, I said goodbye to Tom and headed out. The last thing you see driving out of the complex at night is Buckyball, a color changing LED light sculpture by Leo Villareal. From start to finish, Crystal Bridges puts on an amazing show.