Over the years we’ve become an authority on building great field trip destinations, especially museums. Museums are designed to inspire curiosity and learning, while at the same time, accommodate surges of visitors and gently direct guests from one exhibit to the next. When a building’s design is so crucial to its success, it’s time to call in the experts—and we’ve got the museum construction experience to make the grade. Whether you’re an educator trying to plan a great field trip or you’re just looking for a cool place to explore with friends and family, here are just a few great destinations built by Nabholz.
The Scott Family Amazeum children’s museum in Bentonville, AR
Assignment: Combine fun and functionality. Execute the design for a children’s museum featuring both indoor and outdoor interactive learning space, separate areas for meetings, a venue for businesses and organizations to host events, and a striking façade that looks playful as well as beautiful.
Project Complete: The Amazeum opened to the public in July. The museum features approximately 50,000 square feet of exhibit, meeting, and learning spaces inside the museum. Exhibits include the Tinkering Studio, climbable tree canopy, an exploratory wet lab, and more. And the best part is you can touch EVERYTHING! In addition, the museum features one acre of outdoor space. Crews were challenged with building around a semi-truck cab and shipping container, important features of exhibits. The exterior of the museum got a custom look by adding zinc claddings, cedar siding, and colorful accent glass.
Field Trip Highlight: The Exploratory Wet Lab! Get ready for some splashing! For more info or to schedule a visit, go to www.amazeum.org.
Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, AR
Assignment: Reinvent a classic. Update the Mid-America Science Museum to include new technologies, exhibits, and learning experiences.
Project Complete: Nabholz served as general contractor for the original build of the Mid-America Science Museum in 1978. After almost 40 years, it was time for the museum to undergo a complete remodel, so our team went to work updating the facility. We renovated 40,500 square feet in total, and added some new features, including a 240-foot-long skywalk, rope bridge, net circle, and the pièce de résistance, a beautiful treehouse. Now visitors are able to explore natural elements at tree level.
Field Trip Highlight: Getting a bird’s eye view. For more info or to schedule a visit, go to www.midamericamuseum.org.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR
Assignment: Build a work of art to house works of art. Take a blank canvas (a curvy canvas in a ravine with a stream running through it), and turn it into a world class art museum in America’s heartland.
Project Complete: Completed in 2011, the museum includes 60,000 square feet of gallery space, classrooms, a lecture hall, library, Great Hall, and more–all spread among eight connected buildings and outdoor areas surrounding two creek-fed reflecting pools. The unique design by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie included diverting a stream that ran through the project site; arched and bowed suspended roof systems; and ultra-smooth concrete surfaces formed into sharp edges, reveals, and angles. In fact, over 44,000 cubic yards of concrete and 4,600 tons of rebar went into the construction of the buildings. Nabholz completed this project in a joint venture with Linbeck.
Field Trip Highlight: Louise Bourgeois’s “Maman”–learn about how we installed this new exhibit here. For more info or to schedule a visit, go to www.crystalbridges.org.