The Walmart Museum in downtown Bentonville has added several new exhibits chronicling the history of Wal-Mart Stores and its founder, the museum announced on Tuesday (Nov. 15).
The expanded offerings include three new permanent displays, in addition to this season’s temporary exhibit, which is changed every two months, said Alan Dranow, senior director of the Walmart Heritage Group and head of the museum.
“We’re always adding or changing out compelling artifacts that help us tell our story,” Dranow said. “Keeping things fresh and interesting, not just for tourists who might visit the Walmart Museum only once, but for the Northwest Arkansas community that frequents the museum regularly. It’s important that we heed Sam Walton’s call to ‘stay out in front of change.’”
New permanent exhibits include the front door from Wal-Mart Stores founder Sam Walton’s first Ben Franklin store in Newport, a jewelry safe once used in the Walmart Supercenter on West Walnut Street in Rogers, and a copy of Walton’s flight book and visor.
“Tribute to Smiley” is a new temporary exhibit, outlining the history of “Walmart’s iconic savings ambassador,” according to the press release.
Dranow said it’s important to the company to share the Walmart Museum’s message.
“Walmart CEO Doug McMillon once said that ‘The best suppliers are the ones that know our story.’ I was excited when he shared that with an auditorium full of suppliers, and I think it applies just as much to our associates,” Dranow said. “It also has an impact on Walmart customers, tourists to our region and business students both current and future.
“I think it’s important to have a showcase for our heritage as we move forward with the company. The Walmart Museum isn’t simply a place to house memorabilia from the past, but to share our story and inform our company on where we’ve been as a means to help us keep our culture and navigate the future,” Dranow said. “It’s also a key ingredient in attracting families and new associates to our region and enriching the downtown Bentonville experience.
The museum is also promoting new technology within the exhibits, including cellphone-based technology to enhance the self-guided tour experience with access to additional display content, according to the press release.
Next spring, the museum is debuting more permanent exhibits and aiming to boost the galleries’ interactive elements, Dranow said.
The Walmart Museum is a division of Walmart.