Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What to expect from the Museum Store at The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Bentonville, Arkansas

Crystal Bridges has opened to much fanfare on a campus of 120 acres of forests and gardens. Critics have compared the setting brought to life by Alice Walton to the J. Paul Getty Museum complex.

I was curious - What should we expect from the biggest retailers in the world for a museum shop?

The Museum Store—designed by Arkansas architect firm Marlon Blackwell— is located across from the Museum's main lobby. It offers a wide range of items including educational toys, gifts, books, and reproductions of popular works from the Museum collection.

The architects created an organic open space with a series of parallel cherry plywood ribs that organizes the store and forms the ceiling and millwork on the rear wall. Inspired by the ribbed underside of a mushroom known as a lamella, the surface creates an elegantly curved profile. This serves the practical functions of providing shade from the intense western sun while lighting and displaying the merchandise.

There is no link to shop yet from the main museum web pages but when clicking through to reserve tickets – one is taken to another website- http://shop.crystalbridges.org/Events.aspx
Any web savvy person could see this is the future home of the on-line museum store: http://shop.crystalbridges.org/

I took a peak.
The shopping website is a work in progress without any navigation. So, a blank search results in seven catalogs and books for sale about the museum. One title features the work of the museum’s architect Moshe Safdie. We know him here in Los Angeles for designing the Skirball Cultural Center. Here one is also invited to purchases a membership.

Images courtesy of Marlon Blackwell

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