The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is big-city quality. But it resides in a small town in northwest Arkansas, a dream-come-true for Alice Walton, heir to the Walmart fortune. Walton began plans for the museum in 2005, when she bought "Kindred Spirits," an Asher B. Durand painting, for $35 million from the New York Public Library.
She has since hired Moshe Safdie, an architect who designed the museum. The collection spans from Colonial times to the present and features Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Cole and Arthur Dove, among others.
Critics have argued that a comprehensive collection should be accessible to more people, and located in a bigger city. But Walton has said that she hopes to turn the area into a regional art hub.
Here are some facts about the museum, by the numbers:
Square feet of gallery space: 50,000
Square feet of New York's Museum of Modern Art: 630,000
Square feet of gallery space at the Art Institute of Chicago's modern wing: 264,000
Pieces of art on display: 400
Museum endowment: $800 million
Admission cost: Free
Number of annual visitors to the Shiloh Museum and the Rogers Historical Museum, two of the most popular museums in the area: 26,000