Located in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Walmart Museum aims to educate, inspire, and educate visitors about the heritage and future of the Walton Family and their world-recognized Fortune 500 company – Walmart. Visitors will experience a variety of exhibits and story-based displays to educate and entertain guests about the history, influence, and impact of Walmart.
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The Walmart Museum was founded in 1990 and is proud to tell the story of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, and the realization of his American Dream.
The story of Walmart begins in the 1940s during World War II, when Sam Walton was graduating from college and starting his first job as a manager at J.C. Penney. He decided to quit his job and enlist in the Army in 1942. Sam’s brother, Bud, was already serving as a Navy pilot in the South Pacific at that time.
In 1945, Sam opened his first Ben Franklin retail store in Newport, Arkansas. Two years later, his brother followed suit in Versailles, Missouri. The stores are doing consistently well, but in 1949, the Walton family needed to search for a new location to open the store. So, in 1950, the family opened the Walton’s 5&10 shop in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Through the remaining years, the Walmart franchise continued to expand rapidly. The brothers opened store after store through the mid-west and by the start of the 1960’s, Sam had 8 stores and was earning about $1.4 million annually in sales.
When the retail revolution hit in the 1960’s – Walmart as we know it was officially born. Throughout the 60’s and 70’s, Walmart stores began popping up all over the United States, and today there are thousands of locations around the globe.
The Early Years of Sam Walton: This exhibit features a large collection of photographs and artifacts that tell the story of Sam Walton’s birth in 1918 and his early years growing up Kingfisher, Oklahoma.
Family Partnership: This exhibit focuses on the beautiful partnership between Sam Walton and his wife Helen. Their strong relationship built the unshakable foundation of which Walmart is built upon. Their story is told in detail in this exhibition.
Starting on a Dime: This exhibit features the story of Sam Walton’s first chain store – a Ben Franklin franchise in Newport, Arkansas.
Walmart is Born: This exhibit tells the story of how Sam came up with the idea to found a discount market in rural areas – the idea behind Walmart. The early years behind Walmart in rural Arkansas are told through a series of photographs and artifacts.
Swimming Upstream: Although Walmart is an extremely successful now, the idea behind it was revolutionary and controversial at the time. This exhibit tells the story of how hard it was to generate the necessary support to launch the premise behind Walmart.
Taking the Company Public: In the early 1970’s, Sam had begun expanding Walmart so rapidly that it required stock investments to increase the revenue stream.
Everyday Low Prices: This exhibit is a detailed video that explains the origins of the motto “Everyday Low Prices”.
Sam’s Letters: Sam prided himself on staying close with his employees and associates. He maintained this connection through a monthly magazine entitled “Walmart World” in which he wrote letters to the troopers discussing various topics.
A Billion Dollar Company: In the year 1984, Walmart officially became a billion-dollar company. To mark this huge achievement, Sam made good on a promise to “do a Hula on Wall Street”.
Corporate Giving: The Walmart Foundation: The Walton family founded the Walmart Foundation in 1979 in order to give back to the community by giving less fortunate people access to a better life.
Our People Make the Difference: This exhibit features the Walton’s practice of interacting with their employees on the front lines. A series of photographs documenting his visits to various stores make up this exhibit.
Sam’s Truck: This exhibit features the beloved pick-up truck that Sam drove for most of this life.
Sam’ Rules for Building a Business: This exhibit features the tools laid out by Sam in his book which teach readers how to build a successful business.
Touchstones of Walmart Culture: This exhibit features the importance of the culture behind Walmart.
Family Legacy: The Walton Family Foundation: This exhibit tells the story of the Walton family legacy – from the founding of a billion-dollar global company to the Walton Family Foundation.
A Global Company: This exhibit tells the story of how Walmart expanded into a global company in 1991.
1992: This year was very important to the Walton family, definitely one to remember, this exhibit documents Sam winning the Medal of Freedom.
The Walmart Oral History Project: This documentary project tells the exciting story of the the countless hours and people it took to build Walmart.
The Walmart Museum, 105 N. Main Street, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712, website, Phone: 479-273-1329