Friday, October 25, 2019

Welcome to Walmart!

We left the family in Kansas City after a wonderful visit, and headed south through the Ozarks into Arkansas.

Our destination for the next several days was Bentonville – the home of Walmart.  We had picked out a small city park to stay at in nearby Rogers, but they were full when we arrived so we had to find a plan B.  This is the first time I can remember arriving at a location and not getting a site (we tried calling ahead, but they didn’t answer their phone or return messages).

Fortunately, there was a plan B not too far away – and it actually turned out to be a nicer park.

The RV Resort is along the edge of a golf course, and we had some really pretty sunsets over the ponds on the golf course.

Our first few days were spent catching up on work, but then on Friday we were able to get out to do some exploring in Bentonville.  We drove past the home office of Walmart, and into the historic downtown square.

There were some interesting murals on some of the older buildings,

and there was an Art Fest going on with chalk art on the sidewalks and lots of artistic activities for kids.

Sam Walton’s first Five & Dime was re-located to the square,

and the building behind the still-active shop and ice cream parlor is the Walmart Museum.

It was a really nice museum – chronicling the history of the Walmart empire from a single Five & Dime Variety Store (a Ben Franklin franchise) to the global giant it is today.  Tom and I were trying to remember when we first discovered Walmart, and according to the history, the first store didn’t come to Michigan until the 1990s, so it really wasn’t that long ago.  It was interesting to see that Walmart’s growth was pretty modest for the first several decades, and then exploded in the last 2 decades after Sam Walton died.  It seems like the priorities may have changed in that timeframe, too.

We saw Sam Walton’s old Ford truck,

and his office, which was transferred to the museum in the exact state it was in when he died in 1992.

Also on display is the Presidential Medal of Freedom that was presented to Sam Walton by President George H. W. Bush, just one month before Sam died.  There was also a short movie about Sam’s life and video of the presentation of the medal.

From the historic downtown, we went to the Crystal Gardens, which is an Art Museum sponsored completely by Walmart.  Thanks to Walmart’s support, there is no admission charged for the Museum.

Art Museums are not our normal thing, but it was kindof interesting, especially many of the outdoor sculptures that they have on the grounds and along several trails.

In the main lobby . . .

the view from above,

and from below . . .

it looks like a giant spider!

And an interesting silver tree.

We walked around the outside displays first, along the Art Trail,

and up to the Bachman-Wilson House, a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

The house is open for tours, but you have to get a timed ticket when you arrive at the museum, and there weren’t any left when we got there, so we could only see the outside of the home

The house was originally built in New Jersey, but was later moved to the site of the Crystal Gardens to preserve it.

Naturally-occurring crystals have been discovered in the Ozarks, and these boulders containing brilliant crystals were moved to the Art Trail so that they can be enjoyed by museum visitors.

The Fly Eye Dome was a very interesting structure . . . makes for a good photo op!

Back inside, the museum travels through time in the circular building – starting with classical art, and right through modern and contemporary!

This was an interesting display – it’s all shoelaces, and I had no idea that it spelled out “We the People” until I looked at the picture I had taken . . .

The classical art was a little boring – mostly framed paintings of people, landscapes, animals – but things got more interesting as we moved into modern and contemporary art.

Some of the art was really pretty, like these glass sculptures hanging from the ceiling . . . but others made us wonder how they were determined to be “art”!

I guess sometimes it’s about the message . . . if you get the message!

Well, it was an interesting way to spend the day!

1 comment:

  1. Always nice when Plan B turns out better then originally planned.
    We'll have to try stopping there some day.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the adventures.

    It's about time.


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