Written by Arkansas Real Estate
The museum scene in Northwest Arkansas has moved to the forefront with the opening of Crystal Bridges in 2011 and its continued success. The thriving arts community will get a new addition when Amazeum opens its doors in 2015. This week we were able to sit down with Molly Rawn, Director of Development and Communications for Amazeum, to talk about the upcoming grand opening and the exciting things Amazeum will bring to our community. Molly is a lifelong Arkansan who has lived in Northwest Arkansas for 9 years. She started in her current role in with Amazeum in November of 2013. Thank you for chatting with us this week!
Molly, can you tell us how Amazeum got started?
The Amazeum began as the Children’s Museum of Northwest Arkansas and was founded in 2006 by a group of local individuals who were committed to bringing a children’s museum to our area. In 2013, we announced our new name as well as the location of our future home: 1009 Museum Way, near the entrance to the phenomenal Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Thanks to the years of hard work from many volunteers, the generosity of the Scott family and the Walton Family Foundation, as well as all of our donors and sponsors, we are looking forward to opening our doors in 2015.
What can the public look forward to about the new facility?
Children and families will be able to experience nearly 50,000 square feet of indoor activities including hands-on exhibitions, a café, a museum store, upstairs rooms for birthday parties, and a classroom for teacher professional development. There is also a 1-acre outdoor area for all-seasons exploring and learning. While many of the activities will have to be discovered by our guests once we open, I can share these few sneak peeks. We will have a General Mills sponsored exhibition called Lift, Load, and Haul where kids climb into the cab of a real semi-truck and explore pulleys, levers, and conveyor belts. There will also be an Art Studio with sculpture station, painting wall, facilitated art programs, and much more. Children will be in charge of the shopping experience in the Wal-Mart Market role-play exhibit. I am especially excited about the Luckey Climber - a climbing structure almost 2-stories tall and designed to simulate climbing through real trees. There will be a Tinkering Studio which serves as a hands-on area where the young and young-at-heart can work with recycled materials, electronics, circuits, and real tools to make one-of-a-kind creations. A travelling exhibit gallery will be host to frequently changing exhibits so that there is always something new! Details will be released soon about the Hershey Lab, the Nickelodeon Gallery, and the water area.
What sort of events can people expect to see from Amazeum?
We have had great success with our signature fundraising event, Dancing with the Stars, which raised over $160,000 in 2014. We will not be hosting the event in 2015 in order to focus on our grand opening and ensure that our programs will exceed the public’s expectations. In 2016, we will be putting a signature fundraising event back on the calendar.
You can also look forward to the return of Tinkerfest in 2015. We held our inaugural Tinkerfest, a one day festival celebrating tinkering, making, and creativity, in October and it was a huge success. Over 2,500 people attended it - well beyond our expectations for our first year! Now we have to up the ante for Tinkerfest 2.0.
How can people get involved leading up to Amazeum’s opening?
The easiest way to keep up to date with what is happening is to sign up for our e-newsletter at www.amazeum.org and like us on Facebook. The need for volunteers will grow as we approach opening, so if you are interested, email: email@example.com with “volunteer” in the subject line.
Your whole family can get involved by joining the Amazeum as a charter member! Memberships are available now and begin at $95. As we get closer to our opening date, there will be members-only previews to look forward to!
I am so delighted that our community will get to experience the Amazeum. As with all projects of this scale, it has taken a tremendous amount of financial support to get us to this point. Another way to be involved is by supporting our capital campaign and helping make the dream of this museum a reality for our region! Donations of any size are welcome and accepted.
To learn more about our campaign and how you can contribute please click here http://www.amazeum.org/support/campaign/.