The Scott Family Amazeum is a 50,000 square foot discovery museum dedicated to family learning experiences. Planned as an adjunct of the acclaimed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, the project has two main objectives; to sensitively graft the museum and its 5-acre site onto the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s campus entrance, and to create a signature new work of architecture that responds to the community’s explicit aspirations of design excellence.
The design was conceived with an ever-present awareness that whatever was built should not detract from, and should only heighten the Crystal Bridges Museum visitor experience. The building takes its cues of form and materials from Crystal Bridges. The use of curved laminated wood, exposed steel and concrete, glass curtain wall and zinc metal cladding were adopted to place the Scott Family Amazeum in the Crystal Bridges design family while looking for ways to express the informality and play oriented character of the discovery museum.
Both the owner and the architect expressed a desire for the building connections to be visible wherever possible. This design approach resulted in exposed a steel structure, highlighting it for its functional qualities so that visitors could understand the physicality of the building and how it was built. From the raw, exposed state of the building construction, visitors have a sense of how different materials work together to form a new composite whole.
The learning spaces inside the museum bring learning to life and enhance family involvement, while evoking a sense of curiosity and discovery through hands-on activities. Everything is hands-on and designed to be touched, climbed on, and interacted with. Exhibits are designed to encourage risk taking, imagining, problem solving, discovery, collaboration and exploration bringing children and adults together to learn and grow. The expansive exhibit hall is full of modern learning experiences built around regional technology and industry, STEM initiatives (Science Technology Engineering Math), nature play and outdoor recreation, environmental stewardship, and a pride in history with a positive outlook for the future. Exhibitions include the 3M Tinkering Hub; General Mills Lift, Load and Haul; Market Sponsored by Walmart; Nature Valley Water Amazements; Nickelodeon Play Lab; Hershey’s Lab and more.
In addition, approximately one acre of outdoor space accommodates year-round learning and provides a backdrop for experiments and experiences inspired by the seasons. The facility includes a venue for businesses and organizations to host gatherings, productions and special events.