Since the day Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened doors on Nov. 11, 2011, I've wanted to go.
But I wanted to let it settle down a bit.
I like to let the crowds and line die down.
I don't need to be first at something to enjoy it, so I'll be the one-millionth.
This week the museum in Bentonville has anticipated its one-millionth visitor since opening less than two years ago.
My friend and coworker Becky Harris was there when it opened. She was able to catch a ride with a bus full of UCA students.
We'll go Thursday and Friday - for her second trip, and my first.
According to the museum, 64 percent of Crystal Bridges' visitors have been from Arkansas.
Twenty percent have been from neighboring Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi.
What I consider a healthy percent - 16 - has come from other states in the U.S. and the globe.
Thanks to my family's ability to travel and belief in Mark Twain's quote - “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - I've had some life changing learning on museum benches.
-The Rijksmuseum of the Netherlands, founded in 1800, had the works of the masters. I think this was the first time I realized how big the world was and how vast was the space between the corners of humanity. Through time and talent and conviction, the masters have told us in feeling that words could not convey everything about our own nature, from God and religion, to love and hate, war, peace, infinity, our complexity, our smallness, our ego, our death.
-At Van Gogh's museum I saw depression and panic in his self portrait, but then his triumph in hundreds of blooms and butterflies.
-At MoMA, Wyeth's portrait of Christina, a girl crippled with polio who lies in a field and looks to the distant farmhouse.The painting is a tribute to her extraordinary conquest of a life considered hopeless. You can feel wind and smell hay.
-Calm meditation at the floor in front of a blue Rothko.
-The white Jesus' fat baby wrinkles in Peter Paul Reubens.
-Auguste Rodin's La Porte de l'Enfer - The Gates of Hell - a sculpture of more than 200 twisted naked bodies writhing in torture at the Musee d'Orsay in France that as a kid terrified me to the core and made me say the sinner's prayer again.
I can't stress the importance of art and its impact on a person's development and education. If all of this is too deep and serious, just enjoy the beauty of creations and appreciate their craftsmanship.
That we don't have to travel to Chicago, New York, D.C. and France to be part of this experience is something I'm happy has occurred in my lifetime in Arkansas.
Becky and I will be back with advice on the best ways and at what levels of style you can go, what to see, who to meet, where to eat, and an allover answer to why this is something you'd be sorry to not take advantage of.
Bags packed, GPS ready. Follow our trip tweets - @courtneyism.