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The Preamble to the United States Constitution was written as a framework to describe the intentions of our country’s founders. Many children memorize The Preamble in middle school through a government or social studies class.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville uses these foundational words as the framework for an exciting current exhibit that opened on Independence Day this summer. The exhibition offers the opportunity to view original copies of our country’s foundational documents and features art from the museum’s permanent collection.
The collection of artifacts is a great way to discover how mediums like history and art or science and technology cross each other for a grander experience. Our family had a chance to tour the exhibit this summer and use it as a learning experience for our preschooler.
In this free exhibition, the document is displayed in conversation with works of art by influential historical and contemporary artists that provide diverse American perspectives on the nation’s founding principles.
Exploring the We the People exhibit is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And this fall, while exploring fall foliage colors in Northwest Arkansas, it’s the perfect day outing before the exhibition closes January 2.
When Crystal Bridges re-opened after the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors experienced a new layout of the museum. The intention of the new design focuses on the people who make America. By rearranging the collection from period arrangement to the artist and the subject, visitors move through an emotional understanding of what makes America unique through stories evoked in the art around them.
The new layout even opens with We the People by Artist Nari Ward, a community installation made from shoelaces, a found object connecting all people.
Also displayed are original documents of the proposed Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, 13th Amendment, Emancipation Proclamation, and Federalist Papers.
As far as I’m concerned, viewing these documents is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Having original copies of constitutional documents in Arkansas makes it easy to interact with history and explore and reconnect with your own feelings and beliefs about what makes our country so special and unique.
Get to Bentonville before January!
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
We the People | the Radical Notion of Democracy is open through Jan. 2, 2023
600 Museum Way | Bentonville
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