Scott Family Amazeum will open July 15

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Artist's drawing of the one-acre play outside the Amazeum in Bentoville, Ark.

Artist’s drawing of the one-acre play outside the Amazeum in Bentoville, Ark.

BENTONVILLE – The Scott Family Amazeum will open July 15, officials announced Tuesday, according to a news release.

Opening day details, including hours and admission, will be announced closer to the opening, says Dana Engelbert, marketing manager 1009 Museum Way. It neighbors Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and First Presbyterian Church across from Orchards Park and a residential neighborhood.

Now called the Scott Family Amazeum, the name change recognizes the Lee Scott family’s support and leadership for the hands-on, interactive family museum. A native of Baxter Springs, Kan., Scott is the former CEO of Walmart, and a graduate of Pittsburg State University.

“It’s a realization of how fortunate we have been to have this kind of support,” says Englebert. The cost of the project ha bren reported at $28.5 million.

Lee and Linda Scott have spent more than 30 years in Northwest Arkansas and were among early advocates of The Children’s Museum of Northwest Arkansas that eventually became the Scott Family Amazeum, according to the news release.

“We are honored to have an institution we care so deeply about be named for our family,” Scott said in the release. “We are so happy that we have been given the opportunity to give back to the Northwest Arkansas community, and we hope that our support of the Amazeum will inspire others to give.”

The Scott’s were not in attendance Tuesday.

“The support we have received from Lee and Linda Scott, and their family, has been tremendous,” says Molly Rawn, director of development and communications. “They have been generous not only with their financial support but also with their time and talent.”

Their son, Eric Scott, serves on the board of the Amazeum. His wife, Elda Scott, supports the organization’s efforts with volunteer service and making community connections.

Eric and Elda have two children, ages 6 and 12. Elda Scott said they believe the Amazeum will enhance the lives of many families for years to come. They’ve been involved for the past 10 years with The Children’s Museum of Northwest Arkansas, now to be known as the Amazeum.

“It’s a thrill to see it all come together,” Elda Scott said Tuesday morning. “It just feels like it’s going to be such an incredible gift to so many families and so many children of every socio-economic background. Their eyes and their minds are going to be wide open and exposed to so many great things. I’m just thrilled that we get to be a part of that.”

A permanent exhibit, called The Market, that will recognize Wal-Mart as a sponsor.

“For some time, Walmart has been a signature sponsor,” Sam Dean, executive director, said. “They have stayed with us as this project has evolved, never wavering in their dedication to making our community outstanding. And that support will be recognized with an exhibit in the Amazeum.”

The exhibit will look like a Neighborhood Market and will provide various role-playing opportunities for children.

“It’s not a real Neighborhood Market. You cannot buy groceries at the Amazeum,” Engelbert said.

The role-playing activities is what sets the grocery store apart from others in other children’s museums, she added. Children can pretend to stock shelves, work in the bakery or behind the butcher counter as well as buy groceries or be a cashier.

Artist Matthew Moore’s work, feature in Crystal Bridges’ State of the Art exhibit, will also be a part of The Market. Moore’s time-lapse photography of crops growing will be installed in the exhibit. Visitors will be able to speed up, slow down or reverse the growth process.

The museum features about a dozen indoor exhibits. Some of those include Lift, Load and Haul presented by General Mills, the Hershey chocolate lab, a 27-foot-tall tree canopy climber and the Tinkering Studio.

There also will be an acre of space. devoted to outdoor activities.

More than 700 households have bought Amazeum memberships as of Tuesday, according to Amy Stockton, membership manage, the majority from Bentonville, where the corporate home of Walmart is located. Stockton said she’s working on outreach efforts to surrounding areas.

Amazeum is a member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, so members of the Amazeum get free access to other ASTC museums, which is great for families who may visit other museums over spring break and early summer, Stockton said.

That benefit of membership starts when an Amazeum membership is bought even though Amazeum won open until July 15.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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