There are a few things you should know before you visit The Walmart Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. When we road tripped across the South recently, Bentonville was the first stop on our 5,000-mile journey. We’d never been there, but knew that it was the birthplace of one of the world’s most successful and recognizable retailers — Walmart. When we rolled into town and saw The Walmart Museum on Main Street, we knew we just had to stop. We had an hour or so so spend at the museum and were surprised that we learned more than expected. If you’re in the area, it is definitely worth checking out.

To help you prepare, here are eight tips for your visit to The Walmart Museum in Bentonville.


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8 tips for your visit to The Walmart Museum


1. Put away your wallet

You won’t need your wallet — admission is free. That’s right, you can take a self-guided tour around The Walmart Museum and it won’t cost you a dime. The museum is in the original 5&10 that Sam Walton opened in 1950 on Bentonville’s town square. There you can see memorabilia from the early days in the store. The exhibit gallery is chock full of family-friendly displays that tell the story of Walmart’s rise from one store front in Arkansas to worldwide success.

Walmart Museum on Main Street

2. It’s OK to come late

Take advantage of evening hours if you can. We love that The Walmart Museum is open until 9 p.m. most nights and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s a perfect attraction for those who arrive in Bentonville after work or late in the day. With lots of excellent restaurants and retailers nearby, The Walmart Museum is a great stop before or after dinner.

3. Study Sam Walton’s office

One of our favorite exhibits was the well-preserved office of founder and CEO Sam Walton. Workers carefully photographed, catalogued, and removed the contents of Walton’s office after he passed away in 1992. They even included the wood paneling and carpet! Next, they reconstructed the office in the museum exactly as it had been for all to see and reflect. His chair did not seem as worn as I had expected, likely because Sam spent little time there. Instead, he spent much of his time out in stores with front line employees and customers.

Sam Walton's office

Sam Walton's office

4. Check out the returned items

We also enjoyed this wall of returned items. Walmart prides itself on customer service and Sam Walton believed that there is only one boss — the customer. One wall has some unique items that Walmart accepted for exchange or reimbursement. The thermometer “didn’t tell the right time,” the fishing pole “didn’t catch fish,” and the thermos (that was made before Walmart even existed) apparently “broke.”

5. Share your spark

Be sure to get your picture taken at the fun photo stop in the museum. You can pick from a variety of Walmart-themed backgrounds and even share your photo on social media. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #ShareYourSpark. If you didn’t know, the Walmart spark is the yellow icon you used and associated with the Walmart brand. According to its website, it’s a symbol of the spark was the inspiration Sam Walton had when he opened his very first store. He wanted something to symbolize of all of the great ideas employees have had that helped develop the company over the years. And It’s a symbol of the inspiration that’s inside all of us.

photo booth at Walmart Museum

6. Take a picture of the buttons

Speaking of photos, just behind a wall near the photo stop you’ll find a display of more than 1,000 buttons and lapel pins worn on the smocks and vests of Walmart employees for decades. It’s easy to miss, so be sure to look for it. And, see if you can find the pin that has Walmart CEO Doug McMillion’s face covered in ketchup. There are a total of 1,807 buttons and lapel pins in the exhibit and they make a great photo memory.

WalMart buttons

7. Look for the chew marks

The 1979 Ford F150 pickup parked in front of the 5&10 is actually a replica of Sam Walton’s pickup. The Walmart Museum website says the truck outside is used for parades, grand openings and special events. However, Sam actually drove the truck that’s located inside the museum.

Sam Walton truck

Sam purchased the Ford F150 Custom Model in 1979 and drove it for years as a testament to his humility. As the story goes, Sam would leave his dog, Ol’ Roy, in the cab when he was visiting his Walmart stores. The dog passed time chewing on the steering wheel and if you look closely, you can see his chew marks.

8. Try a scoop of Spark Cream

At the end of your museum tour, be sure to stop by the Spark Cafe for a scoop of ice-cream. The blue and yellow colored ice cream is made specially for The Walmart Museum and it’s delicious. The cafe serves Yarnell’s Ice Cream, which was the first ice cream Sam sold. It is said that his favorite flavor was butter pecan. Following WalMart’s practices, even the ice cream in the cafe is priced right. This scoop was just $0.99!

We hope these tips are useful for your visit to The Walmart Museum in Bentonville. For even more travel tips and inspiration, just send us your email through the form below.

 

  • Last week, we had the pleasure of making handmade pasta (via the internet) with our friends, Deb and Massi, who were in their home kitchen in Italy. ⁣
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We met Deb and Massi of @italyunfiltered a few years ago when they created an amazing food and wine itinerary for us. We've remained friends and it was so good to see them, even if they were a world away.
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Instead, her cardiologists called her from their homes and her scans and tests will likely be delayed until June or July. We'll keep in close touch with them if anything changes, as well. We are so grateful for all of the healthcare professionals who are continuing to work crazy hours from home as well as in our hospitals around the world.⁣
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This is such an unprecedented and stressful time for all of them. Words will never be enough to convey our gratitude for the roles they are playing in the battle against this deadly virus while caring for those with other diseases and illnesses at the same time. ⁣
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Every healthcare provider we've talked with in the last two weeks has had the same message for those of us who don't have to go to work at a hospital. ⁣
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Just. Stay. Home.
  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
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Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
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It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
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What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome
  • Our daughter, Meghan, is a cardiac ICU nurse. Despite all of the current uncertainties in healthcare during this pandemic, early this morning she put on her scrubs and went to work a 12+ hour shift. 
She is not alone. Across the country and around the world, healthcare workers are putting the safety of themselves and their families at risk to help others. It's what they do. Every. Single. Day. 
We are incredibly grateful that there are selfless people like this in the world and we pray for them and we hope you'll join us. 
We couldn't sleep this morning, so we wrote instead. Click on the link in our bio to read our morning thoughts and prayers.
  • Trying to decide where we’ll travel this weekend. Covered porch? Living room? 😉
  • We are staying home. 
We've been here for almost a week now because Ann is one of "those people." You know the ones. Those people with an underlying health issue. Those people with a suppressed immune system. One of those people who could become seriously ill, need hospitalization, and even die if exposed to the coronavirus.  Those people need your help to stay safe and live. And all you have to do is stay home when you don’t NEED to be out.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen photos, videos, and witnessed first hand people of all ages (but mostly young people) gathering in groups for what us mid lifers would consider “non essential” reasons: birthday parties, movies, youth sports practices, St. Patty’s Day celebrations at the bar, spring break at the beach, and the like. 
We don’t understand it. 
We try not to judge. 
But just for a time during this worldwide pandemic, could we ask people who are participating in non-essential activities to consider who “those people” most at risk really are?

Those people are already battling serious illnesses.

Those people want to see their grandchildren grow up.

Those people need to do their jobs as nurses and doctors.

Those people are first responders. 
Those people run the grocery store, and the pharmacy, and the gas station. 
Those people pray for you and your generation. 
And what about those other people? 
The ones you know.

Those people who made sacrifices to meet your needs.

Those people who took care of you when you were sick.

Those people who went to your games and cheered you on. 
Those people who taught you in school.

Those people who helped you pay for college.

Those people who cooked your favorite dish for you.

Those people who taught your Sunday School class.

Those people who have forgiven you.

Those people who will always love you unconditionally.

We keep wanting to scream, “It’s not about you, it’s about those people!” But the truth of the matter is, IT IS ABOUT YOU. 
You have the power to help.
You have the power to influence others.
You have the power to flatten the curve.

And by not changing your behaviors, you also have the power to harm. 
How will you choose to use your power?j
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