A private tour of Heifer International, Little Rock, Arkansas

Heifer International

Every year I get a gift catalog from Heifer International and every year I say I am going to donate to buy an animal to help a family in need somewhere in the world. Than I don’t.

There are several organizations I donate to on a regular basis as I want to do some good while I am alive. And they are all in my will.

Heifer International

After visiting the world headquarters for Heifer I am now determined to donate at least a chicken this coming Christmas. I am so fortunate to live where I live and have the life I have.

Heifer International

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Heifer International
My mother and I had a lot of problems but one thing I am grateful for is giving me a sense of obligation to people less fortunate than I am.

Heifer International

From the website: Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.
Dan West was a farmer from the American Midwest and member of the Church of the Brethren who went to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War as an aid worker. His mission was to provide relief, but he soon discovered the meager single cup of milk rationed to the weary refugees once a day was not enough.
And then he had a thought: What if they had not a cup, but a cow?
That “teach a man to fish” philosophy is what drove West to found Heifer International. And now, nearly 70 years later, that philosophy still inspires our work to end world hunger and poverty throughout the world once and for all.

Heifer International

The hotel I stayed at was central to everything I wanted to do in Little Rock. It was easy to walk everywhere.

Heifer International

I was privileged to have one-on-one private tours with three representatives of Heifer International. Laura, Patrick and Jinkie.

Laura gave me an overview of the educational exhibits in the main visitor area.

Heifer International

Heifer International

This would be a great learning experience for school kids. But I learned a lot too.

Heifer International

Heifer International

I loved this poster about vegetables. I buy most of my veggies and fruit at the local Culver City farmers’ market every Tuesday afternoon. I plan my schedule around it. Makes me feel good to support the farmers and I know what I am eating is “green” in every way. With a few exceptions I can’t eat produce from the supermarket anymore…. it is tasteless compared to what I buy on Tuesdays.

Heifer International

I was told the docent, Patrick, was ready to give me a tour of the office building.

From the website: Based in Little Rock, AR, Heifer’s headquarters use 52 percent less energy than a conventional office building of similar size and use.

Heifer uses gray water, rainwater captured in a collection tower, to supply non-consumable water. The glass exterior is more than a beautiful design. The windows allow staff to work in natural light. Sensors adjust the lighting based on the amount of darkness outside.

People come to Heifer Village to shop, play and learn.

Heifer International

Heifer International
A Message from Pierre Ferrari, Heifer President and CEO:
To completely end the global scourges of hunger and poverty – and we are getting closer – there cannot be room for hatred, violence, racism, misogyny, anti-semitism, homophobia or religious intolerance.

Heifer International

Heifer International

Heifer’s campus is built on the site of a long-abandoned railroad yard. All of the materials used in the building were sourced within 500 miles of Little Rock. Except for the bamboo. Heifer chose bamboo because it is fast growing and sustainable.

Heifer International

 In 2007, Heifer’s headquarters achieved the highest “Green Building” rating possible. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification.
Heifer International
Heifer International
Next to the Heifer campus is the Clinton Presidential Library in the distance.
Heifer International
Heifer International
Heifer International
During eco-workshops that defined the project, Heifer stated that, of all the countries they worked in, the United States treated water with the least respect. As a result, the team responded to this challenge and created a project where no water leaves the site except blackwater, a true example of how to conserve water.
After Patrick’s wonderful and informative tour, Jinkie took over to show me the farm.
Heifer International
The animals given to people in need around the world to allow them to be self-sustaining are local to the area in which they live. They generally don’t ship animals from the US.
Heifer International
I believe the farm at Heifer International is a relatively new project.
Heifer International
Heifer International
No farm is complete without the farm cat.
Heifer International
Heifer International
This apple tree has several different kinds of apples grafted on to it. Now that’s an apple tree I can appreciate!
Heifer International
I was duly impressed with the architecture.
Heifer International
This brick pathway leading to the entrance of the visitor center is inscribed with the names of donors.
Heifer International
I came away with the sense of an organization that is 100% committed to its ideals with no compromises.
I was certainly happy that I was able to get such an in-depth look into its workings.
And now I’m looking forward to receiving that catalog at Christmas so I can pick out a gift for a family in need.
All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

Crystal Bridges Museum

I am a fan of P. Allen Smith whose shows Garden Home and Garden to Table air on my local independent public TV station. On one program he showcased the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  I was enthralled and knew immediately that somehow or other by hook or by crook, I was going to visit it!

Crystal Bridges Museum

I didn’t have a clue how this was going to happen, I just knew it would.

Crystal Bridges Museum

As fate will have it, ITMI (International Tour Management Institute) planned to have their annual Symposium in Little Rock and guess what, one of the FAM tours was a day long trip out to the museum. Although I am on tour guide hiatus, I enjoy these conferences as they are so well put together. There are tours, luncheons, cocktail parties, seminars and opportunities to network. So what did I have to lose?

Crystal Bridges Museum

I also have wanted to visit the William J(efferson) Clinton Presidential Library and Museum which will be another post. And, to top it all off, I worked in Arkansas in the 1980s, loved every minute of it, always wanted to return, and never had the opportunity to visit Little Rock. So without thinking twice I signed up for the Symposium.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I arrived in Little Rock late Saturday night via Dallas/Fort Worth. I was starving so I ran down to the hotel dining room and ordered fried catfish and hush puppies, the staple diet in Arkansas (well, that’s what I remember). Two very nice tour guides invited me to sit with them, which I did.

Crystal Bridges Museum

The next day I was up early to be on the bus… er, motor coach… tour guides are not allowed to say “bus.” Surprisingly the motor coach was not full. There were other tours going out and I guess art museums can be a hard sell. Not to mention the more than 220 mile (354km), 3 1/2 hour drive (plus pit stop). Had I known it was that far… well, I still would have gone as what other opportunity would I have?

Crystal Bridges Museum

Fortunately, we had the BEST step-on tour guide you could possibly imagine who kept us entertained and informed for the entire trip. Darrel W. Brown. The title on his business card reads Administrative Specialist II, Group Travel Section. But it should read: Arkansas Encyclopedia. There was no fact, anecdote, statistic, rumor, joke or trivia about Arkansas he did not know. He couldn’t be tripped up. And his enthusiasm for his home state was palpable. If all we did was sit on that motor coach all day, his knowledge would have been worth it!

Crystal Bridges MuseumAlice L. Walton, is Chairwoman of the Board. She led the Walton Family Foundation’s founding of the museum. Walton is the daughter of Helen Walton and Walmart founder Sam Walton. As you may know, Walmart got its start in Arkansas. And on the way back to Little Rock, our motor coach passed by the original Walmart store in Bentonville. No, I wasn’t able to get a photo.

Crystal Bridges Museum

According to the website: Internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie is committed to architecture that supports and enhances a project’s program; that is informed by the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place; and that responds to human needs and aspirations.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I second that! I am totally in awe of his design. Above you can see his doodle of the project. I bought the refrigerator magnet of this sketch. If only he could be hired for the redesign of LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) instead of the ghastly black blob we are going to be stuck with… we can do better… as usual nobody asked me.
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Crystal Bridges Museum

Truthfully I enjoyed the architecture more than the art collection. But that’s just me. But if the art was the excuse for this magnificent building I’m not complaining!

Crystal Bridges Museum

Crystal Bridges Museum

It’s no secret I enjoy reflections and shadows… and I was having a ball here.

Crystal Bridges Museum

To repeat an expression I hate, but here it seems very appropriate: the architecture is the epitome of thinking outside the box. Literally.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I found out there was a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the grounds so I made an appointment to tour it. Photography inside the house is prohibited. And unfortunately the photo I know I took of the entrance didn’t make it on to my memory card.

Crystal Bridges Museum

From the website: [The Bachman-Wilson House]… was subsequently purchased by architect/designer team Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino in 1988 and meticulously restored. When the house was threatened by repeated flooding at its original location, the Tarantinos determined that, in order to preserve it, they should sell the house to an institution willing to relocate it. After the Tarantinos conducted a multi-year search for a suitable institution, Crystal Bridges acquired the house in 2013. The entire structure was then taken apart and each component was labeled, packed, and moved to the Museum, where it was reconstructed in 2015.

Crystal Bridges Museum

The landscaping of the museum campus is as beautiful as the architecture.

Crystal Bridges Museum

From the website: The trails and grounds of Crystal Bridges are a must-see part of the Museum experience. More than 3.5 miles of trails wind through the
Museum’s 120-acre site, providing guests with access to the beautiful Ozark landscape. Designed to spark the imagination, the trails help guests form connections to the land and its history, as well as enjoy outdoor artworks.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I only wish I had more time to hike all the trails. I could imagine hiding out in the museum overnight, waking up, having breakfast in the lovely restaurant then spending the day wandering the pathways.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I could be one of these sculptures sitting in this peaceful environment. For five minutes. Then I would have to be up, walking around with my camera.

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Crystal Bridges Museum

The weather was so perfect. Cool and sunny. My favorite.

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Crystal Bridges Museum

Skyspace, James Turrell’s Way of Color featuring a domed ceiling with an oculus opening directly to the sky.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I hated to leave but we had a long slog back to Little Rock. And I knew I could relive the whole experience with all the photos I took once I got back home to LA.

Crystal Bridges Museum

Please enjoy the rest of the photos. Click an image for slideshow.

Addition: Can’t believe I left off the photo of this guy who greets visitors as soon as they get off the elevator from the parking lot.

crystal bridges

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!