A groundbreaking ceremony was held this week for the Amazeum children’s museum, set to open 30 miles north of Fayetteville near Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art sometime next year.
The 44,500-square-foot facility will be built off Northeast J Street in Bentonville at 1009 Museum Way.
According to a news release, site preparation has begun and in just a few weeks, concrete will be poured and steel walls will begin going up. The goal is to open the new museum in the second half of 2015.
Once complete, the museum will include an indoor water area; art center and studio; lift, load and transport center; a market area; a tinkering studio; an exploratory wet lab; an outdoor learning center and playscape area with artistic interactive furniture; and a climbable tree canopy and indoor caves.
Fundraising efforts for the museum are ongoing, but a $10 million matching donation and land from the Walton Family Foundation, and several other key contributions helped get the project started.
Officials said they’ve so far raised $22.5 million of the $28.5-million needed to complete the facility.
“We still have $6 million to raise in order to make the Amazeum a reality,” said Sam Dean, Amazeum executive director. “Our campaign is just beginning, and we’re hopeful the community will get behind us to bring this incredible building to life.”
While the museum’s exhibits are designed to promote imagination and creative thinking for children, officials said the Amazeum will appeal to all ages. The museum will also feature meeting spaces for businesses and organizations for special events and corporate retreats.