600K visitors later, Crystal Bridges is 1 year old

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is now a year old and its presence has brought thousands of visitors to Bentonville and helped change the popular perception of the city.

Crystal Bridges marked its first year on Sunday, having opened in 2011 after years of planning and construction, funded by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. heiress Alice Walton.

More than 600,000 people have visited Crystal Bridges, which makes its home in a northwest Arkansas city of about 36,000 people.

Tourism officials say local tax collections are up more than 10% and they expect the museum to sustain its popularity, thanks to changing exhibits that will continue to attract visitors. Some tourists are including the Clinton Library in Little Rock and Crystal Bridges as part of a trip through the state.

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