Project leaders break ground on Amazeum
Groundbreaking festivities were held Wednesday for the new 44,500-square-foot Amazeum, the first of its kind in Northwest Arkansas.
Sam Dean, Amazeum executive director; Elda Scott, daughter-in-law of Linda and Lee Scott, who are presenting sponsors of the museum; and Reb Haizlip, Amazeum's architect; provided an up-to-date overview of the project and celebrated the people and entities that have helped the Amazeum get to this point. The groundbreaking also launched the next phase of development to reach the $28.5 million capital campaign goal. Today, Dean announced the museum has $6 million left to raise to meet its goal, which includes a $4.5 million endowment goal.
Lee and Linda Scott's oldest granddaughter, Sophia Scott, read comments from her grandfather, who was unable to attend the groundbreaking. "As you can see, our location is in the heart of Bentonville and the cultural growth that is taking off here," Lee Scott said. "The Amazeum will be situated on this land donated by the Walton Family Foundation in front of the entrance to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We are incredibly excited about the synergies that will occur between these two entities and are extremely grateful to the Walton Family for this gift. The Amazeum will provide families with another opportunity to play, learn and grow together."
Site preparation has begun. In just a few weeks, concrete will be poured, and in May, the initial steel walls of the building will begin going up. The goal is to open the doors to the new Amazeum in the second half of 2015.
While the construction is ramping up, efforts are also focused on raising the rest of the needed funds to pay for the facility. In addition to the Scott family, major donors already announced include the Walton Family Foundation, Walmart Stores, General Mills, The Hershey Company, the Walmart Foundation, Nickelodeon, the Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation and Mrs. Johnelle Hunt.
Dean issued a challenge during the groundbreaking. "We still have $6 million to raise in order to make the Amazeum a reality. Our campaign is just beginning, and we're hopeful the community will get behind us to bring this incredible building to life."
"I would like to thank our most recent donors, Doug and Shelley McMillon, for their generous support. We are incredibly grateful to all of our donors. We have a goal of $28.5 million, and we're not there yet, but we know with the help of all the many philanthropic companies and giving individuals in this community that we will get there soon."
The Amazeum will feature interactive space that will bring learning to life. Children and adults of all ages will be able to satisfy their curiosity and discover new things through hands-on activities and exhibits. Exhibitions like the tinkering studio, a climbable tree canopy and indoor caves will allow visitors to explore on their own terms and with their own imagination. The Walmart Market will allow kids to be in control of the shopping experience, and the General Mills Lift, Load and Haul exhibit will feature kinetic activity focused on getting things from one place to another. Additional exhibitions, such as an art studio and cabin experience, will help tell the story of the area's Ozark roots.
There will be approximately one acre of outdoor space that will accommodate year-round learning and provide a backdrop for experiments and experiences inspired by the seasons ? something children and adults alike can enjoy. This outdoor space will also serve the community as a venue for organizations and individuals to host gatherings, productions and special events.
Giving a taste of what is to come when museum doors open, the Amazeum broke ground in its own unique way, using lightning bolts from its logo in place of traditional shovels and concluding the ceremony with a fun, science-based performance. Afterwards, attendees were invited to get up close to learn the chemistry behind the choreographed diet soda and Mentos explosions.
"Opening day will be here before we know it, and we can't wait to welcome our first guests," Dean said. "We have an amazing staff in place to make sure the Amazeum experience is an outstanding learning adventure for all ages. We are extremely grateful for the financial support we have received thus far and hope many more members of our community will help be a part of this story."
For more information on giving opportunities, contact Molly Rawn, Amazeum development director, at 479-696-9280 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Amazeum is Northwest Arkansas' first children's museum scheduled to open in the second half of 2015. The 44,500-square-foot space, located at the entrance of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, is designed to engage the imagination of children and their families through hands-on activities and interactive exhibits. Experiences will include a tinkering studio, climbable tree canopy, indoor caves, an art studio and more. Exhibitions will extend to the museum grounds where approximately one acre of land will provide the background for more learning and fun. The Amazeum will also feature indoor and outdoor event space. For additional information about the museum and its progress, visit http://www.amazeum.org.