It hasn’t been quite two years yet since Crystal Bridges made its grand entrance into Northwest Arkansas and forever changed the landscape of Bentonville. Since the museum opened, we’ve seen our neighbors, our town and our region appear in countless local and national news articles, magazine feature stories and TV shows. Bentonville has been named on the “in” list for several different prominent travel publications. We’ve watched our city streets get spruced up and witnessed well-planned community and real estate development begin to take our neighborhoods to new heights. And at the B&B we’ve been thrilled to serve as Bentonville ambassadors and play host to thousands of these visitors who have streamed into the area since the museum opened. I can tell you, our guests have left enchanted with our town and all it has to offer.
This week, the museum anticipates its one-millionth visitor to walk through the door since November 11, 2011. In celebration, they’ve launched a “1 in a million” campaign.
I just ran down to the Convention and Visitor’s bureau to pick up our yard signs. (Please don’t be too taken aback if our yard grows over the sign overnight — we’ve had an onslaught of rain, which we needed — but it’s making the yard grow out of control!)
Visitors can expect the beautifully-tended yards around town to sport these words of welcome as they head toward the downtown area. In addition to the yard signs, the museum itself will be offering some extra perks — as well as a story booth (kind of like NPR’s StoryCorp), where visitors can record their stories on video for use in future marketing and social media materials.
I plan to run down and talk about how much Crystal Bridges has meant to Laughlin House and to Bentonville in general. Since it opened, we have watched this little town transform into a growing hot spot for food and the arts – and it has become a model town for community involvement and “can-do” American spirit. Crystal Bridges has truly put Bentonville on the map as a destination city for travelers, and we are eternally grateful for the wonderful people it has brought to the area and to the B&B. Bentonville is booming. Our lives have been forever enriched by this jewel. I mean, it’s brought a million people to our area in less than two years’ time!
Thank you, Ms. Walton, for this wonderful gift — we can’t wait to see what the next two years of Crystal Bridges magic brings!