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Clasped hands in robe with CHF logo and text overlay: BELIEF, October 28 - November 12
CHF 2013: Animal

Crystal Bridges: A Museum for the 21st Century

Terra Foundation Lecture on American Art

We have developed museums to safeguard our heritage, and to collect, preserve, and interpret examples of our creative expression for future generations. Once rarified repositories, they are changing, transforming into spaces for interactive experience. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, is at the forefront of this movement. Opened to tremendous acclaim in 2011 and attracting record numbers of visitors, the museum integrates the power of art with the beauty of the surrounding landscape to create a holistic environment. Crystal Bridges founding director and president Don Bacigalupi discusses the philosophy that drives this innovative institution and guides us on a virtual tour of architect Moshe Safdie’s extraordinary glass-and-wood design, the collection it houses, and its stunning natural setting.

This annual lecture recognizes a generous multiyear grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art. The Terra Foundation is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts in the United States for national and international audiences.

Teachers' Guide

The Chicago Humanities Festival has prepared a teachers' guide for this program. Read the Anthropomorphism Lesson Plan now!

Images by Alissa Zhu

Speakers and Performers

Don Bacigalupi

Don Bacigalupi has been a leader in the world of museums for more than 19 years. At Crystal Bridges, he led museum planning, construction, collection development, and staffing for its debut in November 2011. As director of the Toledo Museum of Art, he oversaw the construction and opening of the renowned Glass Pavilion, designed by SANAA and named “Best Museum” design in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine. He has also led the San Diego Museum of Art; the Blaffer Art Museum (Houston), and was Curator of Contemporary Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

Don Bacigalupi
A brief profile from the Houston Chronicle

Good Reads

Crystal Bridges Opens
2011 NYT article on the opening of the museum

Online Resources

Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges
A 2011 CBS News Sunday Morning interview with the Wal-Mart heiress [video]
Time Magazine Photo Essay
Crystal Bridges environs and holdings [images]