Phoenix Art Museum
1625 N. Central Ave.
(602) 257-1880 (24-hr.), Recorded info.: (602) 257-1222
The largest facility of its kind in the Southwest, the Phoenix Art Museum features more than 14,000 works in its collection. The Thorne Miniature Rooms and the interactive ArtWorks Gallery for children are added attractions.
Phoenix Art Museum was founded in 1949 and opened in 1959. It is a private not-for-profit organization that evolved from its predecessors, Phoenix Art Center and the Phoenix Fine Arts Association. In 1996, Phoenix Art Museum celebrated the conclusion of an extensive $25 million expansion and renovation which more than doubled its size. At over 160,000 square feet, it is one of the largest general visual arts institutions in the Southwest. Hosting over 567,000 visitors in 1999, providing privileges to over 22,000 Museum members, and reaching an additional 40,000 through its outreach programs, Phoenix Art Museum offers something for everyone in the family.
The expansion of Phoenix Art Museum was designed by Tod Williams/Billie Tsien & Associates of New York in association with Phoenix firm Lescher & Mahoney/DLR. The classically progressive design of the Museum integrates art and architecture with the Southwestern landscape, accommodating larger traveling exhibitions, an expanding collection and growing arts audience. A variety of unique architectural details, including sculptural and painting niches, use of natural light and natural fibers, gives the Museum “a magical quality and liveliness,” according to architect Tod Williams. Throughout the Museum are openings in walls and windows in unusual shapes and places that provide spatial and visual orientation cues to the visitor. No one gets lost in Phoenix Art Museum!
The exterior celadon green panels are made of an aggregate of green glacier quartz from Utah mixed with white sand and mica from Georgia, which makes the walls sparkle in the sun. There are approximately 110 panels in all, 12 feet wide, 11 inches thick and weighing 30 tons. The new 9,100 square foot Cummings Great Hall is home to large contemporary painting and sculpture and can accommodate a group of 400 for special events, like Members’ openings. Whiteman Hall features 294 sight-line perfect seats and is put to good use for lectures, audiovisual presentations, film festivals and meetings.
Phoenix Art Museum’s Collection includes over 17,000 artworks that span the centuries. Emphasis is on American, Asian, European, Latin American, Modern and Contemporary, and Western American art, plus Fashion Design and the Thorne Miniature Rooms of historic interiors. The Museum also features an interactive “child-friendly, please touch!” gallery called ArtWorks. You can learn about the Collection through video presentation in the Museum’s Orientation Theater. You may also create your own tour by using the audio guide. The Museum encompasses over 160,000 square feet, and approximately 1,000 works from the Collection are on view at any one time.
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
4619 E. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034-1909
(SE corner of 44th Street and Washington)
(602) 495-0901 or 0902, Toll free: (877)706-4408
Recording: (602) 495-0900
Southeast corner of the platform mound ruin at Pueblo Grande. A 2/3 mile (1K) Interpretive Trail takes park visitors to the top of the 800-year old Hohokam ruin. Interpretive signs along the trail give information on the prehistoric village site and the Hohokam people. Pueblo Grande Museum is located at a 1,500 year-old Hohokam village ruins in modern day Phoenix. For over 70 years the museum has been dedicated to the study and interpretation of the Hohokam culture. On the 102 acre park grounds, visitors explore the ruin of an 800 year-old platform mound possibly used by the Hohokam for ceremonies or as an administrative center. An excavated ball court, where ritualized games may have been played, can be viewed along the ruin trail. The site also includes some of the last remaining intact Hohokam irrigation canals.
The prehistoric Hohokam people lived in central and southern Arizona from about AD 1 to 1450. They were expert farmers, growing crops such as corn, beans, squash, and cotton. They used adobe to construct their villages, often centered around platform mounds and ballcourts, and engineered hundreds of miles of canals to irrigate their fields. Distinguished by their red-on-buff pottery, the Hohokam wove beautiful textiles and made jewelry from shell obtained from the Gulf of California. Drought, floods and perhaps internal strife, forced the Hohokam to abandon the Salt River Valley in the fifteenth century. When Spanish explorers arrived in the sixteenth century, they found the Hohokam villages in ruins. However, they also found thriving villages of Akimel O’odham (Pima) natives, who claim to be descendents of the Hohokam. Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of the peoples of the Southwest, past and present. Read more about the Hohokam online – Desert Farmers at the River’s Edge: The Hohokam and Pueblo Grande. Order this and other books using the museum’s Archaeology and History Publication Order Form.
The Museum’s long-term exhibit hall, Hohokam Landscapes and Lifeways, describes the fascinating life of the Hohokam people. This exhibit focuses on the Hohokam people of Pueblo Grande and the Salt River Valley. Several themes are contained in this fascinating exhibit to include: agriculture, canal building, craft production, trade and astronomy.
Shemer Art Center
5005 E. Camelback Road
(602) 262-4727, (602) 262-6713 (TDD)
(602) 256-3220 (Central/East District)
Near the base of Camelback Mountain, Shemer Art Center is a reminder of the early days of Phoenix. Built between 1919 and 1928, the 1920s Santa Fe mission-style adobe residence has become a cultural center offering classes, concerts, lectures and art exhibits that change monthly to showcase Arizona and nationally known artists. Shemer Art Center is open Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Admission is free for most shows.
Arizona Doll and Toy Museum, Inc. (602) 253-9337
Heritage & Science Park
602 E. Adams St.
This museums changing exhibits showcase antique and modern dolls and toys. A re-created 1912 schoolroom features antique dolls as “students.”
Arizona Hall of Fame Museum (602) 255-2110
1101 W. Washington St.
Housed in a renovated 1908 Carnegie library, the museum showcases people who made a significant contribution to Arizona. Permanent exhibits include the Arizona Women in Government (part of the museums Arizona Womens Hall of Fame) and “My Name is Arizona,” featuring life-casts of buffalo soldiers, Navajo code talkers, ranchers, and suffragettes.
Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park (480) 929-9499
1300 N. College Ave.
Information line: (480) 929-0292
The 82,000-square-foot facility features an 11-minute video, “Traces on the Land,” which introduces visitors to 1,100 years of Arizona history, from the Hohokam to the present. Admission is free.
Arizona Military Museum (602) 267-2676
52nd St. and McDowell Rd.
Exhibits of uniforms, photographs, weapons, and various artifacts help illustrate Arizonas military history. Housed in an old adobe arsenal, the museum is sponsored by the Arizona National Guard Historical Society.
Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum (602) 255-3791
1502 West Washington Street
Housed in the historic El Zaribah Shrine Auditorium, the museum displays more than 3,000 mineral specimens, a fluorescent display, and the Mofford Gallery of Arizona memorabilia. Outside exhibits include a baby-gauge steam engine, headframe, and ore cars.
Arzona Museum for Youth (480) 644-2467
35 N. Robson St.
Three annual fine arts exhibits and hands-on art activities for children are featured at this downtown Mesa art museum.
Arizona Science Center (602) 716-2000
600 E. Washington St.
This 120,000-square-foot facility features 350 hands-on exhibits, a theater with a five-story screen, and a state-of-the-art planetarium. Visitors may explore the wonders of astronomy, computers, geology, and biology.
Arizona State Capitol Museum (602) 542-4581
1700 West Washington Street
The museum, located under the copper dome of the Arizona State Capitol, preserves Arizona territorial and state governmental history. The capitol was built in 1900. Restoration has returned the building to the way it looked in 1912, when Arizona gained statehood. Tours are offered daily.
Cave Creek Museum (480) 488-2764
6140 E. Skyline Dr., Cave Creek
The museum, open October-May, displays Southwest Native American artifacts and local pioneer memorabilia. Outside exhibits include a historic church, an original tubercular cabin, mining and ranching equipment, and a small desert garden.
Champlin Fighter Aircraft Museum (480) 830-4540
4636 E. Fighter Aces Dr.,
The museum, located at Falcon Field Airport, displays memorabilia and features 34 historic combat aircraft. An art gallery also is on-site.
Chandler Museum (480) 782-2717
178 E. Commonwealth Ave.,
The museum traces the history of Chandler through exhibits about its founding, agriculture, early architecture, and water development.
Gilbert Historical Museum (480) 926-1577
10 S. Gilbert Rd.
The museum, housed in a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is operated by the Gilbert Historical Society and displays historical items from the community’s past.
Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting (602) 275-3473
6101 E. Van Buren St.
More than 90 classic, restored fire engines are displayed in the museums air-conditioned galleries. The facility is open daily.
Heard Museum of Native American Culture (602) 252-8840
Main: 2301 N. Central Ave.
North: Scottsdale Rd. and Carefree Hwy.
Experience the culture and art of Native Americans of the Southwest. Visitors enjoy ten exhibit galleries of outstanding traditional and contemporary Native American art, as well as hands-on activities for the entire family.
Hoo-Hoogam Ki Museum (480) 850-8190
10005 E. Osborn Rd.
The museum, housed in an example of the traditional “sandwich-style” home built by the Pimas and Maricopas, explains their cultures. Basket weaving is demonstrated on tours. Traditional food is available at lunchtime.
Mesa Southwest Museum (480) 644-2230
53 N. MacDonald St.
Watch for the “blow-out Grand Opening in May 2000” when this museum unveils its double-the-fun expansion. New exhibits include Arizona and the Movies and a “blue screen,” which allows visitors to “star” in a movie.
Museo Chicano (602) 257-5536
147 E. Adams St.
Museo Chicano presents changing exhibitions on the art, history, and cultures of Latinos, on local to international levels. The museum store carries Latino art and bilingual books.
Musical Instrument Museum (480) 478-6000
4725 East Mayo Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85050
MIM, the valley’s newest museum, offers a shared experience of the history of musical instruments throughout the world. The space is bright and open, providing guests with a warm and comfortable environment. Wireless “hot spots” around MIM provide loops of streamed music, immersing guests in the sounds of musical instruments throughout the museum.
Guests are given wireless headsets to wear throughout the museum. As they approach each display, they can hear the instruments being played, either solo or as an ensemble. Audio and video clips familiarize guests with the unique sounds of each musical culture, allowing them to share a common experience. The wireless audio system is user-friendly for guests of all ages.
Native American Travel and Tourism (480) 945-0771
4130 N. Goldwater Blvd., Ste. 114
This nonprofit organization promotes Native American attractions around the state.
Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum (602) 253-2734
105 N. 5th St.
Located in Heritage & Science Park, the museum features interactive exhibits detailing local history. Prehistoric artifacts, Native American items, and pioneer memorabilia from Arizonas territorial days are displayed.
Phoenix Museum of History (623) 465-1052
3901 W. Pioneer Rd. (exit 225 off I-17)
This living-history museum, open Wednesday-Sunday, features costumed interpreters and 26 historic buildings, which provide a look at life during Arizonas territorial period. Call for hours.
Scottsdale Historical Museum (480) 945-4499
7333 E. Scottsdale Mall
The museum, located in the Little Red Schoolhouse in historic Old Town Scottsdale, preserves, interprets, and displays Scottsdales history.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (480) 994-ARTS 
7380 E. 2nd St.
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art collects, exhibits, and interprets works of contemporary art, architecture, and design. The museum features selections from the Gerard L. Cafesjian studio glass collection, prints from the Segura archives, and works from Scottsdale’s Fine Art Collection.
Sylvia Plotkin Judaica Museum (480) 951-0323
10460 N. 56th St.
Permanent collections of ancient and modern Jewish art, displays of Jewish holiday traditions, and three changing exhibitions each year are museum highlights. School programs, videos, and lectures also are offered.
Tempe Historical Museum (480) 350-5100, (480) 350-5125
809 E. Southern Ave.
The history of Tempe, founded in 1871, is illustrated through hands-on activities, photos, and artifacts. Galleries offer biannual exhibits.
West Valley Art Museum (623) 972-0635
17420 N. Avenue of the Arts, Surprise
In its 18,000 square feet of exhibition space, the West Valley Art Museum shows the best artists of Arizona and the nation in five galleries. The facility is known for its extensive collection of international ethnic clothing.