Walmarts are now ubiquitous in the U.S. but the company saw its humble beginning right here in Bentonville! Sam Walton opened his first Walton’s variety store in the town in 1950.
One has to wonder if Sam ever dreamed in those days that his little business would one day become a global retail leader, employing millions!
The Walmart Museum in Bentonville preserves this original, Walton’s 5 & Dime, along with a gallery of exhibits, and a 1950’s style soda fountain cafe.
The museum has three distinct sections to visit.
The first is the original Walton’s store, which is easily one of the most fascinating parts of the museum. As you walk down the aisles of vintage merchandise displayed beneath a tin ceiling, your feet treading those original floor tiles, you’ll wonder what decade it really is!
AT the back of the store there are a series of interactive displays that tell the story of Walmart. Words, images, and artifacts guide you through the timeline, from the humble beginnings in the 1950’s to today. There’s even a virtual tour of Sam Walton’s old office, as he left it, and his old, Ford F-150 pickup.
The last section of the Walmart Museum is definitely the tastiest! The Spark Café Soda Fountain is an old-fashioned soda fountain restored to how it originally looked. Taking a seat at their counter will only further your sense of having traveled back in time! Here you can pause over a delicious egg cream, malted, float, flavored soda, and more.
The museum exhibits and displays are routinely updated with new fins or items from the archives. Recent additions include the front door from Sam Walton’s very first Ben Franklin store in Newport, Arkansas. There’s also a vintage jewelry safe from Walmart Store #1 in Rogers, Arkansas. Some new videos have also been added to the museum, along with increased functionality for the smartphone-based, self-guided tours.
The entirety of the Walmart Museum is a free, family-friendly experience. A visit could easily take up a relaxing afternoon, once you add in a stop at The Spark Café Soda Fountain.
The Walmart Museum
105 N. Main Street, Bentonville, AR
Open 7 days a week, 8:30am to 9pm
For directions, virtual tours, special events and more information, please be sure to visit: www.walmartmuseum.com
Walmart Museum Lodging
Wherever your Arkansas vacation takes you, you can bet there’s a locally owned and operated, Arkansas bed and breakfast inn nearby. Arkansas B&B’s offer uncommonly good amenities, delicious breakfasts, and a friendly advice about what there is to see and in the area. You won’t find all that value at a hotel or motel! Book your stay at an Arkansas Bed and Breakfast Inn today!