During the weekend of November 9, 2012, 39 members of the Laumeier staff and docent team traveled by bus to Bentonville, Ark., to experience the first anniversary of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The best thing about the trip was travelling with Laumeier Docents and Friends, experiencing the wonderful indoor and outdoor spaces at Crystal Bridges, looking at and talking about the architecture, the setting and the art collection. Sharing our knowledge, experiences and responses with each other—it’s what we love! The trip to Crystal Bridges is one of the continuing education opportunities offered to Laumeier Sculpture Park active and honorary docents; it’s also an opportunity for new recruits!
Fieldtrips to other museums, to view collections and observe other docents in action, offer both educational opportunities and camaraderie. The Crystal Bridges Museum itself is site-specific architecture at its best, fitting naturally and jubilantly in the landscape. Although we had read about the museum and shared articles, including the celebrated purchase of a Rothko painting—the value of which is rumored to be from $25 million to $57 million—we were all blown away by the magnitude of the collection and the building itself.
We toured inside and out, enjoyed the Crystal Bridges Documentary Film Public Premiere in the Great Hall and hiked the trails. A few of the Crystal Bridges docents and staff visited St. Louis during the 2011 National Docent Symposium and graciously returned the hospitality with their “Greatest Hits” tour. My greatest hits tour would have included personal favorites, a smaller sculpture by Jackie Ferrara, reminiscent of our Laumeier Project, 1981, as well as work by Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Ursula von Rydingsvard and James Turrell’s, “The Way of Color,” 2009—worth getting up 45 minutes before sunrise to see!
I enjoyed the exhibition, “Moshe Safdie: The Path to Crystal Bridges”! Would love to tour Safdie’s earlier buildings, especially “Habitat 67″; what a different approach to public housing compared to our current discourse about the Pruitt-Igoe public housing disaster showcased in Juan William Chávez’s “Living Proposal: Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary, 2010-2012,”on view at Laumeier through January 20, 2013.
What I liked least about the trip was there was not enough time to thoroughly enjoy the collection—which means I will have to go back!
What would I have changed? Definitely scheduling more time to look and explore on our own the life-long learning opportunities across every bridge, yes every bridge, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art!
– Clara Collins Coleman, Curator of Interpretation
This post by Clara Collins Coleman originally appeared in Laumeier blog in November of 2012. I was on this trip and enjoyed the place thoroughly.