“From the very beginning of his education, the child should experience the joy of discovery.” ~Alfred North Whitehead
Museums have something for everyone – anthropology, art, history, nature, science, and more. This page contains a list of many museums around the state. Explore what they have to offer…and see all of the fascinating things there are to discover!
Adobe Mountain Railroad Museum – 23280 North 43rd Avenue #75, Glendale, 623-974-0125. Ride a small, narrow-gauge 1884 locomotive, see model railroad layouts and prototype historical displays. Display themes change regularly.
The name “Amerind,” a contraction of American Indian, illustrates the purpose of this museum, which is located in the Dragoon Mountains of Southeastern Arizona. It is devoted to archeological research and to the study and interpretation of Native American cultures. The library, consisting of some 30,000-plus volumes, is of particular value in the study of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. Archaeology, anthropology, and history are at the core of the collection. School tours are normally given Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Reservations should be made at least two weeks prior to your visit.
Apacheland Movie Ranch Museum (Apache Junction) – Located on the grounds of the Superstition Mountain Museum, this movie memorabilia museum showcases the movies that were filmed at the Apacheland Movie Studio. After a fire destroyed the Apacheland movie set in 2004, only the Apacheland Barn and the Elvis Presley Chapel (built for the Elvis film “Charro”) were spared by the fire and relocated to the nearby Superstition Mountain Museum on the historic Apache Trail (State Route 88).
Arboretum at Flagstaff
Explore 200 acres of gardens and natural habitats with over 2,500 plant species representing everything from high desert to alpine tundra. The arboretum also offers on-site school programs covering grade-specific curriculum in the natural sciences for students in pre-school through sixth grade.
Arizona Capitol Museum – 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, 602-542-4675 (info), 602-542-4581 (tours). This National Register site served as both the Capitol of the Arizona Territory and the State Capitol and has been restored to its 1912 appearance. Presents events and programs on government in the Arizona Territory and early Statehood days.
Arizona Doll & Toy Museum – Located at historic Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix. Displays dolls, dollhouses, miniatures and toys from yesteryear. An authentic schoolroom of 1912 features antique dolls as “students.”
Arizona Hall of Fame Museum – Housed in the restored 1908 Carnegie Library, Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame honors the remarkable women whose contributions to the arts, athletics, business, education, government, the humanities, philanthropy and science, have played a significant role in the history of Arizona and provide a significant contribution to the historical record of the State of Arizona.
Arizona Historical Foundation – Arizona State University Hayden Library, Room 412. Documenting the history of 20th and 21st century life in Arizona.
Arizona Historical Society – Northern Arizona Division (Flagstaff) – The Pioneer Museum in Flagstaff is located in the historic Coconino County Hospital for the Indigent. Exhibits reflect Flagstaff and northern Arizona history, as well as ranching, logging, and transportation.
Arizona Historical Society – Central Arizona Division (Tempe Papago Park) – With over 28,000 items in the collection, this the principal historical museum in the Phoenix metropolitan area covering the changes that have made Arizona what it is today. Concentrating on Arizona in the 20th and 21st centuries, the museum is filled with stories—stories about World War II and its effects in Arizona, stories about the rise of desert cities, and stories about Arizona popular culture. The museum brings stories to life through engaging exhibits, hands-on and multimedia displays, children’s activities, and a variety of educational programs. Located at 1300 N. College Avenue, Tempe.
Arizona Historical Society – Southern Arizona Division (Tucson) – 949 E. Second St., Tucson, 520-628-5774. Interactive and traditional exhibits about Arizona’s dynamic past, including an underground copper mine, early ranch and town life, Victorian-era period rooms, the archaeology of Tucson’s downtown, an original stagecoach, and a 1923 Studebaker. he Arizona’s Treasures exhibit features Geronimo’s rifle and 18th-century Spanish silver artifacts.
Arizona Historical Society – Rio Colorado Division (Yuma) – The Sanguinetti House Museum is in an 1870s adobe building and focuses on the history of the Lower Colorado River from the 1540s to the present.
Arizona Military Museum – 5656 E. McDowell Road, at the Papago Park Military Reservation. “Lest We Forget” to remember those in uniformed military service. The Museum has displays of uniforms, vehicles, artillery and mementos.
Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum – 1502 West Washington, Phoenix, 602-255-3795. One of the largest and finest mineral museums in the Southwest, educating visitors about Arizona’s mining and mineral heritage. Features permanent and changing displays of ore and minerals from Arizona and other states. Over 3,000 minerals on exhibit; highlighting the collection are the colorful minerals from Arizona’s copper mines. Exhibits on the lapidary arts featuring gemstones, carved semi-precious bowls and spheres, well-known Arizona specimen localities, and fluorescent minerals. Free admission.
Arizona Museum for Youth – 35 N. Robson St., Mesa, 480-644-2467. An innovative, nationally recognized fine-arts museum for children ages 4-12. The exhibits encourage creative expression in a “hands-on” environment.
Arizona Museum of Natural History – 53 N. MacDonald, Mesa, 480-644-2169. Formerly the Mesa Southwest Museum, the valley’s only natural history museum has the best dinosaurs in town, a history courtyard where visitors pan for gold, a native peoples’ gallery includes a replica village and pottery. Where else can you enjoy a cool indoor waterfall? Three changing exhibition galleries offer a variety of interesting subjects.
American Museum of Nursing – The American Museum of Nursing is part of Arizona State University College of Nursing in Tempe. It has exhibits of uniforms, posters, medical care items, photographs and other nursing memorabilia, a research library, rare document room, and an archive. The collection contains first editions of many important nursing texts.
Arizona Popular Culture Experience – The Arizona Popular Culture Experience is a non-profit museum located in The District at Desert Ridge Marketplace. Its compartmentalized structure features themed exhibit halls created around such iconic pop culture properties as Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and DC and Marvel comics. In addition to case after case of collectibles, each room is decorated with artwork appropriate to the property on display. While parts of the facility might resemble the toy store of your dreams, this is a museum and the displays are not for sale. They do have a gift shop, however. The museum’s mission to preserve and present these cultural icons for the present and for the future generations. Founder and director John W. Edwards says, “It is our goal to enlighten and inspire today’s youth to seek out careers in science, mathematics, technology and the arts as a direct result of their experience with popular culture.” School tours are free with advance notice.
Arizona Railway Museum – The Arizona Railway Museum was founded and incorporated in 1983 as a non-profit, educational and historical organization dedicated to the railways of Arizona and the Southwest. Railways of all kinds, past and present, are included in the scope of the Museum. Visitors are welcome take a self-guided walk around the yard and view the equipment. A building houses smaller artifacts, mementos, and displays as well as a Gift Shop and restroom. There is a small fee for entering the display cars. Most of the equipment is also visible through the perimeter fence.
Arizona Science Center – 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602-716-2000. Explore 350 hands-on science exhibits, travel to space in a planetarium, and experience the excitement of an Imax theater. Enjoy science demonstrations and traveling exhibitions.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (Tucson) – A world-renowned zoo, natural history museum, and botanical garden all in one! Also features a faux limestone cave, an exceptional collection of regional minerals, fossils, and geology exhibits.
Arizona State Museum (Tucson) – 1013 E. University Blvd., Tucson, 520-621-6302. Experience the vibrant indigenous cultures of Arizona and northern Mexico through exhibitions, educational programs, a research library, and a museum store. The museum’s scholars and extensive collections are among the most significant resources in the world for the study of Southwestern peoples.
Arizona State University Art Museum – This acclaimed Museum offers American, Contemporary and Latin American art and craft. Located on the ASU campus in the Nelson Fine Arts Center.
Arizona State University 1907 Archive Gallery
(ASU Hayden Library – Tempe, Arizona)
Showcases historical photographs, manuscripts and ephemera relating to the history of Arizona. Periodically changing traveling exhibits are also featured.
Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology – A wide range of changing exhibits features issues and ideas related to culture and society, archaeology and human origins, including an annual Day of the Dead exhibit and festival. Exhibits reflect the research interests of faculty and students and support the museum’s mission to encourage appreciation for different forms of cultural adaptation to a complex and dynamic world. Museum anthropology students work in this exploratory interdisciplinary space, curating exhibitions and developing programming as part of their course of study. In addition to exhibitions, the museum organizes public programs including gallery talks, educational workshops, symposiums, round table discussions, film viewings, and tours. Guided tours for students and the general public are available by appointment.
Arizona Street Railway Museum – The Phoenix Trolley project was started in 1975 by a group of individuals who purchased one of the last remaining bodies of an original Phoenix Streetcar. The project became a Museum and was established as a 501(c)3 Nonprofit Corporation in 1978. Since that time, a Car Barn has been constructed, and Streetcar #116 has been partially restored and made operational. One additional car has been obtained by the Museum and there are now two Streetcars in various stages of restoration. Located on Central Avenue just south of McDowell Station, north of Highway 10, at 25 W. Culver St., Phoenix.
Arizona Wing Commemorative Air Force Museum – The Arizona Wing Commemorative Air Force Museum is a combat aircraft museum and home to the B17 ‘Sentimental Journey’. It offers guided tours, warbird rides and unique military aviation gifts. View WWII and Vietnam memorabilia.
Asarco Mineral Discovery Center, Tucson – Exhibits illustrate the deposition, extraction, and uses of copper. Hands-on exhibits, video theater, cactus garden, picnic area. Free admission. 15 mi. south of Tucson on I-19 and Pima Mine Road. Phone: 520-625-7513.
The Bead Museum (Glendale) – The permanent collection contains beads from around the world, a 15,000-year-old bead, and modern bead art. Their mission is to foster an appreciation for the global historical, cultural and artistic significance of beads and related artifacts.
The Bible Museum – 2000 N. Litchfield Rd., Goodyear AZ 85338 (623)536-8614
Take I-10 West to Litchfield Rd. Head North and continue 2 Blocks just North of McDowell. Located in The Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel in Goodyear. Open 24 Hours – 365 Days A Year! Private tours available by appointment only.
Biosphere 2 Center (Oracle, AZ) – Explore the environment at this center for teaching, learning, and research about Earth, its systems, and its future.
Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum – Displays on mining and life in this mining town at the turn of the century. Admission fee. 10:00 am – 4:00 pm daily. 5 Copper Queen Plaza, Bisbee, AZ 85603. Phone: 520-432-7071.
Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum – 37615 East US Highway 60, Superior, 520-689-2811. Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden features thousands of plants from the world’s deserts. 323 acres with miles of nature paths and specialty gardens.
Buckeye Valley Museum – Prehistory and history of Buckeye Valley. Changing exhibits highlight portions of the museum’s collection. Visit the museum and picnic in the surrounding park.
Butterfly Lodge Museum – The storied past of a famous Western writer and his artist son springs to life at this museum in Greer, Arizona. James Willard Schultz (1859 – 1947) came west in his youth, married a Blackfoot Indian, and became a well known explorer, storyteller, archaeologist and popular author. He wrote 37 adventure stories, beginning with My Life as an Indian. His son, Lone Wolf (Hart Merriam Schultz) became a successful artist with his Indian and Western paintings and sculptures. Their restored 1913 home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, contains original furnishings, artifacts, and works of the father and son.
Casa Grande Valley Historical Society Museum – Come spend an hour or an afternoon at the Historical Museum. Explore the rich heritage of rural Southern Arizona. Experience the 19th Century mining boom as you tour the exhibit. See the miniature agricultural display. Learn how irrigation turned sandy plains into lush cotton fields. See what Casa Grande looked like in 1879 when the railroad ended here and the city was named Terminus. Tour the historic Heritage Hall and the Rebecca Dallis School House. The museum offers tours, lectures series, workshops and children’s programs.
Cave Creek Museum – 6140 E. Skyline Dr., Cave Creek, 480-488-2764. Living history of the desert foothills. Displays of pioneer living, ranching and mining. Indian artifacts from the Hohokam, Yavapai, and Apache. Restored 1920s tuberculosis cabin and 1940s church. Gift shop with additional resources.
Center for Creative Photography (Tucson) – The Center for Creative Photography is an archive and research center located on the University of Arizona campus. They retain the archives of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Garry Winogrand, Harry Callahan, and other great 20th-century photographers—over fifty archives in all. All exhibitions and public programs at the Center for Creative Photography are free and open to the public.
Challenger Space Learning Center – 21170 N. 83rd Avenue, Peoria, 623-322-2001. A space themed learning environment includes a Mission Control Center, Space Craft, interactive exhibit area, video theatre, Galaxy Gift shop, and exhibitions. Reservations can be made to fly a simulated space mission, Rendezvous with a Comet.
Champlin Fighter Aircraft Museum – After 22 years of operation in Mesa, AZ, the Museum was closed on May 26, 2003. Its collection of World War I and II fighters was moved to the Museum of Flight at Seattle’s Boeing Field.
Chandler Museum – The story of Chandler comes to life with artifacts, photographs and reconstructed period rooms. Visit Chandler’s Goodyear School, the San Marcos Hotel, Morrison’s General Store, and a reconstructed 1912 Chandler tenthouse.
Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Acting on the principle that learning is a joy, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix provides hands-on exhibits and educational programs to engage the minds, muscles and imaginations of children and their families – while promoting cooperative interaction, fostering cultural understanding and enhancing parenting skills. Organizers plan to raise approximately $11 million to pay for the exhibits and renovation of the historic Monroe School building at 7th and Van Buren streets. With a projected opening date of 2007, the building will feature four exhibit areas to appeal to different levels of child development. A Place to Grow will have exhibits for young children from birth to three years, including things to stack, touch and explore that allow parents to see their children in action and experience their child’s learning. A Place to Work incorporates imaginative role-playing with a grocery store, bank, mechanical shop, and a costume shop complete with a stage. A Place to Live will feature exhibits that demonstrate the cultural diversity of Phoenix and the rest of the world. A Place to Create will have activities such as printmaking, drawing, painting and ceramics using quality art supplies with Artists in Residence. In March 1999, the museum began touring publicly with a permanent exhibition on board the Museum on Wheels bus. Visit their website and check out their calendar of events, interesting articles, and activities. Click on “Museums without Walls” for fun exhibits that you can “bring home”! Make a donation or sign up to volunteer.
Deer Valley Rock Art Center – 3711 W. Deer Valley Rd., Phoenix, 623-582-8007. View more than 1500 ancient petroglyphs in a protected desert preserve, plus indoor exhibits and video.
Desert Botanical Garden – 1201 North Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, 480-941-1225. Nestled amid the red buttes of Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden hosts the world’s largest collection of desert plants in a natural setting. One of only 44 botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums, this one-of-a-kind museum showcases 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits. Trails include: Desert Discovery, Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert, Sonoran Desert Nature, Center for Desert Living. Tours, demonstrations, interactive exhibits, workshops, special events, café, gift shop, plant shop.
Desert Caballeros Western Museum – 21 N. Frontier St., Wickenburg, 520-684-2272. Regional exhibits, period rooms, a re-created street scene, mineral collection, Indian artifacts, Western Art Gallery, and a park with native plant landscaping.
Discovery Park (Safford)
Southeastern Arizona’s Space, Science, and Cultural Center. Discovery Park offers you the opportunity to explore 200 acres of scientific, historical, and cultural exhibits. Currently open to visitors is the Gov Aker Observatory, containing a 20-inch optical telescope, the world’s largest known Camera Obscura, and many fascinating science exhibits and programs, including a state-of-the-art space simulator ride, the “Shuttlecraft Polaris”. Gov Aker Observatory often hosts meetings of the Desert Skygazers Astronomy Club and is the official visitors’ center for the Mt. Graham International Observatory (MGIO), a division of Steward Observatory, the research arm for the department of astronomy at the University of Arizona. “Nature’s Hideaway” features a wildlife habitat, native flora and fauna in a desert – riparian setting. You will be able to access the refuge from Discovery Park’s hiking trails, or take the Discovery Park Express narrow-gauge train to the old ranch setting. Future Attractions include exhibits on mining, agriculture, and the Tunnel of Time, a fascinating journey exploring over 12,000 years of area history.
Friends of Marty Robbins Museum – Marty Robbins is an important part of Arizona’s entertainment history. Born in Glendale, Arizona, he was a US Navy veteran of WW II, singer, songwriter, author, actor and Nascar race car driver. The Friends of Marty Robbins, Inc. located in Willcox, Arizona, is dedicated to “Keeping Marty’s Music and Memory Alive.” The museum displays are colorful and interesting, some of which are based on songs that Marty wrote.
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center – Housed in the former Carver High School site at 415 E. Grant Street, the museum archives the rich cultural heritage and experiences of early pioneers who made a significant impact on the development of the African-American community. It also showcases the talents of emerging youth artists, local, regional and renowned visual and performing artists.
Glendale Arizona Historical Society – The focus of Historical Society Library is the history of the West Valley and Glendale. The holdings include a large newspaper and photograph collection, exhibits on Glendale ranching and Glendale History from the late 1800s. The Society has diligently restored some of the historic buildings of the city, at Manistee Ranch and Sahuaro Ranch, which are now used as a home base for the Glendale Arizona Historical Society. Group tours year round by appointment.
Glendale Community College Art Collection – There are more than 500 pieces of art on display in the Glendale Community College collection. Spanning prehistory to the present day, the collection is housed in the John F. Prince Library Media Center, where recent renovations create a museum-like setting for the collection. Contents include: an intaglio by Francisco Goya, a flock of Guinea fowl painted by Arizona wildlife artist Larry Toschik, a Colima dog figure from the Early Classic period (300–600 AD) of Western Mexico, a Paolo Soleri bell sculpture, a pottery piece by Juan Quesada from the famed Mexican village of Mata Ortiz, a 19th century Japanese woodblock print by Yoshitoshi, photographs by noted photographers including Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, a painting by nationally recognized Arizona painter Phillip Curtis, a contemporary Southwestern landscape by Arizona painter Ed Mell, an ancient Chinese vessel from the 3rd millennium Neolithic period, and a collection of masks from around the world. If you live in the Northwest Valley of the Sun, these amazing art works are just minutes away. To enrich your art experience, a self-guided audio tour has been created utilizing listening wands—the latest in audio technology. The wand allows you to view the collection at your own pace and in any sequence you choose. View a little or a lot, depending on your time and interest level. To hear the entire tour, please allow an hour and a half. Visit the library’s circulation desk to check out a wand. Be sure to respect the library/study environment while enjoying your art tour. Admission is FREE!
Glendale Police Museum – The new home for the Glendale Police Department Museum was dedicated on August 20, 2010. Located in the City of Glendale Public Safety Building lobby, the Museum is one of a very few of its kind in Arizona, and is proudly dedicated to the men and women in law enforcement. The first floor of the downtown building’s lobby has been transformed into an exhibit of the past. Old radio equipment, batons, badges and uniforms line the walls and fill display cases. There is also a motorcycle used by officers in the 1970s.
Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting – 6101 East Van Buren, Phoenix, 602-275-3473. Almost an acre of fire history exhibits with over 90 restored pieces of vintage fire apparatus, dating from 1725 to 1968; plus children’s activities and a fire engine to climb aboard. There is also a gallery dedicated to wildfire firefighting. Located in the Phoenix Papago Park.
Halle Heart Center – 2929 S. 48th St., Tempe, 602-414-2800. The Halle Heart Center offers visitors the opportunity to learn how to join in the fight against the No. 1 cause of death in America – cardiovascular disease – in an innovative, hands-on way that will educate and entertain.
Heard Museum – 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-8848. Experience the cultures and art of Southwestern Native Americans in a world-class collection of exhibits, traditional and contemporary artwork. Get a taste of what the Heard Museum is about at its branch location, Heard Museum North, El Pedregal Festival Marketplace, Carefree Hwy. and Scottsdale Rd. Or visit the newest satellite location, Heard Museum West, in Surprise AZ.
Henry Hauser Museum – The Henry F. Hauser Museum is located in the Ethel Berger Center, 2950 E. Tacoma Street, Sierra Vista. It features displays about early life in Sierra Vista and the surrounding area, plus a display about Mr. Hauser who was a retired WWII general and one of the most important mayors in the history of Sierra Vista.
Heritage Square – The only remaining group of homes from the original town site of Phoenix. Visit museums, gift shops and restaurants housed in buildings from the 1800s.
History of Pharmacy Museum – Spanning all four floors of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy building, the museum contains a collection of over 60,000 bottles, original drug containers, books, store fixtures, and artifacts from Arizona (circa 1880 to 1950), including several large drug store fixtures from Arizona’s territorial days.
Hopi Cultural Center (Second Mesa) – This pueblo-style museum/motel/restaurant/gift shop complex is enjoyed by both visitors and local Hopi. It’s on the west side of Second Mesa just before the road plunges down on the way to Third Mesa. The museum has exhibits of Hopi culture and crafts along with many historic photos. There’s a small gift shop just inside the entrance. You may also see artwork for sale inside the gallery and displayed by vendors on tables outside. At the restaurant you can try traditional Hopi foods like piki bread, paatupsuki (pinto bean and hominy soup), or a breakfast of blue pancakes made of Hopi corn. They also serve American, Mexican, and pizza dishes. A free picnic area and campground are located among the juniper trees, and you can use the restrooms in the Cultural Center.
House of Broadcasting Museum – Walk back in time with Arizona’s radio and television legends. This museum offers a compendium of personalities and paraphernalia from this dynamic broadcast industry, preserving for all time Arizona’s beginnings, for generations to experience and treasure for years come.
Huhugam Heritage Center – The Huhugam Heritage Center tells the stories of the history, culture, and language of the peoples of the Gila River Indian Community and honors the ancient Huhugam. Through exhibitions, classes, programs, and its collections, its goal is to educate Community members, youth, and visitors.
Huhugam Ki Museum – Perhaps the best way to gain appreciation for the lifestyles, history and culture of the O’odham (Pima) and Piipaash (Maricopa) tribes is to begin your visit to the community at the Huhugam Ki Museum, 10005 E. Osborn Road. Huhugam Ki, meaning “House of the ancestors,” describes the museum, which is constructed of adobe and desert plants, reflecting the beauty of the Southwest. Inside you will view exhibits that share our unique heritage, from the days of the ancient Hohokam to the achievements of today. Baskets, pottery, photos and other articles create an understanding of a people enriched by the strength of their ancestors.
International Wildlife Museum (Tucson) – Tucson’s Natural History Museum.
Katydid Insect Museum – 5060 W. Bethany Home Rd., Glendale, 623-931-8718. This tiny museum features all kinds of insects and arachnids, both native and exotic. (The museum is now closed, but I keep hoping it will come back someday.)
Lowell Observatory offers extensive outreach activities to educate visitors about the exciting world of astronomy. Choose from a variety of daytime, nighttime, and offsite programs for school children to enjoy.
Manistee Ranch – Call (623) 435-0072 for tours of Manistee Ranch, a late example of the Queen Anne Revival Style, 5127 W. Northern Ave., Glendale.
The Medical Museum – Phoenix Baptist Hospital and Medical Center
The museum features antique medical and pharmaceutical artifacts dating to the early 1800s, including rare drug jars, poison bottles, old medicine bags, and quack medicine items.
Mesa Historical Museum – For over 40 years, the Mesa Historical Museum has been a primary heritage destination in Arizona. As the most visited history museum in the Phoenix area, it has earned a reputation as local destination with a long history of preservation and innovative programs. The first comprehensive exhibit on Mesa, originally on display at the Arizona Museum of Natural History, has become a permanent installation at the Mesa Historical Museum. This exhibit shows the history of Mesa through more than 200 historic photographs and artifacts.
Mesa Southwest Museum – 53 N. MacDonald, Mesa, 480-644-2169. Now called the Arizona Museum of Natural History, this museum of cultural and natural history features permanent and changing exhibitions on Arizona and the southwest, from dinosaurs to ancient Indians, from the old west to the space age. Accessible exhibits for a family audience.
Meteor Crater Museum of Astrogeology – Visit the world’s best preserved meteorite impact site! The Visitor Center’s Discovery Center is the most extensive interactive display of meteor impact science of its type in the world. It includes guest-generated computer simulations, a meteorite fragment weighing over 1400 lbs.; artifacts from early exploration and scientific study of the crater; high-tech graphics of space, meteorites and asteroids, and solar system; plus exhibits from Apollo astronaut training and meteor collisions worldwide and on other planets. The modern building also features an 80-seat widescreen theater, indoor crater viewing area, crater trail access, artifacts and exhibits, gift shop, and Subway restaurant.
Mohave Museum of History and Arts (Kingman) – Dedicated to the purposes of preserving the heritage of Northwestern Arizona.
Museum of Contemporary Art (Tucson) – A home for new art and new ideas. Youth under 17, Veterans, Active Military, and Public Safety Officers are always free.
Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix) – Bob Ulrich, the retired CEO and chairman emeritus of Target Corp., had an idea – a Musical Instrument Museum on a global scale – a collection of musical implements representing every single country in the world, featuring both ancient artifacts and contemporary inventions. There may be no other museum in the world that has set itself so ambitious a goal. The institution began by purchasing a major collection of 1,200 instruments from the Fiske Museum at the Claremont Colleges in California: American, European and world instruments dating from the 17th through the 20th centuries. These are accompanied by many other purchases, some of them newly commissioned. There’s something here for nearly every taste, with most of the instruments branded by nationality rather than by type. The five major galleries are devoted to Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the United States and Canada. The displays are organized by country and no land – not even the tiny island of Comoros – seems to be left out. Every nation is judged to have a musical culture important enough to justify a panel or two of text, displays of some distinctive instruments and a video showing them being played in native surroundings. The United States gallery organizes its displays by style, with exhibits devoted to klezmer, Appalachian music, Sousa bands, country and western, Japanese-American drumming, conjunto, jazz, bluegrass and hip-hop. The museum also has a conservation lab and an “experience gallery,” in which instruments can be played by visitors, and its Artist Gallery displays loans of celebrity instruments. The multiple themed galleries as well as a concert hall are contained within a 190,000-square-foot building which has an interior designed to convey the graceful lines of a piano. The institution is run by an accomplished staff of ethnomusicologists.
Museum of Northern Arizona
View exhibits relating to the Museum’s four main disciplines: anthropology, biology, geology, and fine art. Experience the arts, sciences, cultures, and history of the Colorado Plateau through the museum’s Discovery Program. Creative and enthusiastic educators lead unique hands-on activities, workshops, classes, and tours for students of all ages. Displays include geologic models, fossils, and mineral specimens. Admission fee. Located three miles north of Flagstaff on U.S. Highway 180, Open daily 9 am – 5 pm, except Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Phone: 928-774-5213.
Northern Arizona University Deaver Herbarium (Flagstaff) – The Deaver Herbarium is a public facility housed in the Biological Sciences Department at NAU. The primary resource at the herbarium is the collection of dried plants from the southern Colorado Plateau and adjacent deserts. It functions as a teaching and research facility. Currently, the Deaver Herbarium houses a collection of over 90,000 dried specimens of ferns, conifers and flowering plants.
Northern Arizona University Art Museum (Flagstaff) – Located in historic Old Main on Northern Arizona University’s North Campus, the NAU Art Museum presents art exhibitions featuring local, national and international artists. The Marguerite Hettel Weiss Collection, displayed on the building’s third floor, includes painting and sculptures by noted artists such as Philip C. Curtis and Francisco Zuniga, as well as turn-of-the-twentieth-century American furniture and antiques. The main floor features four to six special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art yearly.
Old Pueblo Trolley – An Operating Transit Museum (Tucson) – In addition to the electric streetcar division, OPT has a number of historic buses, and the recently opened Southern Arizona Transportation Museum at the downtown Historic Depot.
Petersen House Museum (Tempe) – A restored Queen Anne Victorian house built by one of Tempe’s pioneers in 1892.
Phippen Art Museum (Prescott) – The Phippen Museum’s permanent collection consists of paintings, etchings, drawings, bronze sculptures, photography, American Indian artifacts and jewelry that date from the late 19th century to the early 21st century. All materials in the collection are created by artists of the American West.
Phoenix Art Museum – The largest in the Southwest, the museum features about 18,000 art works in its collection of American, European, Asian, Latin American, Western American, modern and Contemporary art, and fashion design. Not to be missed are the Thorne Miniature Rooms of historic interiors and the interactive ArtWorks Gallery for children. Take advantage of the audio guide to create your own tour, visit the Museum Store for unique gifts, and attend art classes, gallery talks, educational and family programs.
Phoenix Museum of History – The Phoenix Museum of History existed in some form since the 1920s, holding prized artifacts from Phoenix’s early days. In 1996 it moved into its current 20,000-square foot location in Heritage & Science Park. The museum had to close on June 30, 2009, because it didn’t have enough money to operate. Hopefully it will be able to reopen at a later date or merge with another organization.
Phoenix Police Museum – The museum features a mock-up of an early 1900s police station as well as a 1919 Ford Model T Police Car.
The Phoenix Zoo – 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, 602-273-1341. One of the nation’s largest non-profit zoological parks, it is home to more than 1300 animals, including 200 endangered or threatened birds, mammals and reptiles from around the world. Voted one of the Nation’s Top 5 Zoos for Kids!
Pima Air and Space Museum (Tucson) – One of the largest air and space museums in the world, and the largest non-government funded aviation museum. You’ll see more than 300 aircraft and spacecraft including many of the most historically significant and technically advanced craft ever produced, both from the United States and throughout the world.
Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum – 3901 W Pioneer Rd., Phoenix, 623-465-1052. 90-acre walking area of history and lifestyle of territorial Arizona. Self-guided tours, interpreters in period costumes, historic Opera House, special events.
Powell Museum – An oversized yet accurate replica of the long boat used by John Wesley Powell on the Colorado River is on the front lawn of Page’s only history museum. Within the museum, you can see sketches, photos and other memorabilia of Powell’s epic Colorado River voyages in 1869 and 1871, along with a unique collection of Native American and pioneer artifacts. Other exhibits focus on the geology of the canyons cut by the Colorado and the history and development of Page. Films on Lake Powell, dam construction and other subjects are shown free upon request. 6 North Lake Powell Blvd., Page AZ 86040, 928-645-9496.
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park – 4619 East Washington, Phoenix, 602-495-0901. The park includes a 1,500-year-old Hohokam culture ruin along an interpretive trail as well as an onsite museum with three exhibit galleries and a theater featuring exhibits of the Hohokam and other cultures of the Southwest. The site also includes some of the last remaining intact Hohokam irrigation canals. Explore these prehistoric Hohokam Indian ruins, and let your children discover the excitement of archaeology in hands-on exhibits.
River of Time Museum – Features history of lower Verde Valley, including geology, ancient Indians, trappers, miners, cowboys and modern day development along the Verde and Salt Rivers. 12901 N. LaMontana Blvd., Fountain Hills.
Robert S. Dietz Museum of Geology, Arizona State University – Includes mineral displays as well as vertebrate fossils, a Focault pendulum, and a working seismograph. Free admission. Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Located in ASU’s Physical Sciences Complex, F-Wing. Phone: 480-965-7065.
Rosson House Museum – This 2,800 square foot beautiful 1895 Victorian style home features ten rooms. View what life was like for residents of Block 14, owners and tenants both, in early Phoenix during Arizona’s late territorial times all in its original location. Located in historic Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix.
Sahuaro Ranch Park Historic Area – 9802 North 59th Ave., Glendale, 623-939-5782. One of the Valley’s oldest and most magnificent ranches, this preserved 1885 homestead contains 13 original historic buildings and structures, a rose garden, barnyard, and orchards. The lush grounds include citrus, figs, date palms, olives, apricots, peaches, pecans, and grapes. Visitors may also see peacocks, chickens, and other small animals. Changing exhibits, home tours, and special events highlight the agricultural history of the west valley.
Scottsdale Historical Museum – The mission of the Scottsdale Historical Museum is to present, preserve and interpret through research, exhibits and educational programming, the prehistory, history and cultural heritage of Scottsdale and the Southwest. Permanent exhibits of Winfield Scott and local history of Scottsdale Arizona, housed in a restored little red schoolhouse in Old Town Scottsdale.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art – Founded in 1999, the only museum in Arizona devoted to the art, architecture and design of our time. Global in its focus, the Museum is a unique and vital cultural resource for the Southwest. Paintings, photographs and sculpture are just some of the talent you’ll see at this art museum. The museum presents a wide variety of educational programs and special events for the entire family.
Sedona Heritage Museum – Located at 735 Jordan Road in Uptown Sedona, the museum at Jordan Historic Park focuses on Sedona’s first industry – raising apples. Drive across the bridge on Mormon Wash and park in the lot; then take one of the scenic pathways through the fruit orchard and past vintage farm implements to the museum. Expect to spend at least an hour or as many as three hours looking at the exhibits and touring the historic buildings. The 4000-square-foot Apple Barn houses a 40-foot-long apple sorting machine from the 1940’s. The museum opens daily at 11:00 am, admission is $3.00, and the last tour of the day begins at 3:00 pm.
Sharlot Hall Museum (Prescott) – Museum dedicated to providing educational adventures in human and natural history of Central Arizona.
Shemer Art Center and Museum – The Shemer Art Center and Museum is a historical site operated since 1984 by the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. It is a family-oriented art education center and museum, offering community members a unique and inviting atmosphere to enjoy and learn about the visual arts. Shemer’s range of exhibitions is diverse, including traditional and nontraditional works by contemporary Arizona artists. Admission is free for most shows.
Sirrine House – Mesa’s only fully-restored, Victorian era historic home museum.
Sky Harbor Art Program – Through the art collection, exhibitions and aviation archive, the Phoenix Airport Museum’s mission is to enhance the public’s experience by creating memorable environments in the airport system that promote Arizona’s unique artistic and cultural heritage. All Sky Harbor exhibitions are free and viewable by the public 24 hours daily.
Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications and Computation – A privately funded group preserving Engineering, Communications and Computation History. The Museum offices are located in the old Coury House in Historic Downtown Glendale in a section known as ‘Catlin Court.’
SRP Heritage History Center – Exhibits and self-activated video presentations on pre-historic Native Americans, the construction of Roosevelt Dam, and the history of SRP’s role in water and electric power in Arizona.
Sunnyslope Historical Society – Sunnyslope Historical Society docents will be happy to give tours to individuals and groups of all ages or you may explore the museum on your own.
Superior Historical Society – Governor Bob Jones House Museum
230 W Main St.
The history of mining, the people, and the community of Superior, Arizona – from the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 through the final close of the copper mine in 1996.
Superstition Mountain Museum (Apache Junction) – Includes exhibits on the geology and natural history of the area, military history, mining artifacts from the Goldfield ghost town, an exhibit on Jacob Waltz and the Lost Dutchman Mine. It’s also the site of the Elvis Memorial Chapel and Apacheland Movie Ranch Museum, a movie memorabilia museum showing the movies that were filmed at the nearby Apacheland movie studio. 4 miles northeast of Apache Junction on the Apache Trail (State Route 88).
Sylvia Plotkin Judaica Museum – The Sylvia Plotkin Judaica Museum has grown to be one of the Southwest’s most important institutions of education in the Jewish heritage. With a full program of exhibits, events and activities, the Museum offers all audiences a unique insight into the 5,000 years of Jewish culture.
Taliesin West – Taliesin West was built by Frank Lloyd Wright and his apprentices in the 1930s and constantly expanded by the Wright until his death in 1959. Wright and his apprentices created Taliesin West using rocks from the desert floor and sand from the washes to keep the design in balance with the surrounding environment.
Telephone Pioneer Museum – Interactive displays trace the history of telecommunications in Arizona from the 1870s to the present day. Features changing exhibits including photographs, hand tools, switchboards, coin phones, directory, telegraph, teletype, and bell system memorabilia.
Tempe Historical Museum – The Tempe Historical Museum is a community history museum that comprehensively explores Tempe history through exhibits, activities, speakers, collections, research services, and programs while embracing the important responsibility of collecting and caring for the artifacts and the written, spoken and pictorial records of Tempe. Tempe History Detectives is an on-going museum activity for children between the ages of 6 and 12. The program is designed to engage children in educational activities that will arouse their curiosity and excitement about history while they explore Tempe’s past. There are two levels of difficulty for ages 6-8 and 9-12. Each level has activities appropriate for the age group.
Titan Missile Museum – The Titan Missile Museum is the only publicly accessible Titan II missile site in the nation. Tour the underground missile site. See the 3-ton blast doors, the 8-foot thick silo walls, and an actual Titan II missile in the launch duct. Visit the launch control center, experience a simulated launch and more!
Tohono Chul Park (Tucson) – Award-winning Tohono Chul Park is where nature, art and culture connect. Named one of the World’s Great Botanical Gardens by Travel + Leisure and listed by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top 22 Secret Gardens in the U.S. and Canada, there is something for everyone. This oasis in the desert offers a respite from the hectic pace of daily life, provides an informative look at the region’s fascinating cultural traditions and its even more interesting flora and fauna.
Tucson Children’s Museum – Fun, interactive, educational exhibits and hands-on programs to excite children about learning and challenge children to reach their full potential.
390th Memorial Museum – The 390th Memorial Museum is located in Tucson, Arizona on the grounds of the third largest aviation museum in the United States, the Pima Air and Space Museum.
Tucson Museum of Art – The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block encompasses an entire city block in historic downtown Tucson, and features original and traveling exhibitions focusing on Art of Latin America, Art of the American West, Modern and Contemporary Art and Asian Art as well as tours, education programs, studio art classes, and Museum Store to delight and educate visitors.
University of Arizona Arizona State Museum – The museum brings to life the cultural history of the southwest.
University of Arizona Campus Arboretum – The University of Arizona holds a truly unique collection of plants from arid and semi-arid climates around the world. Many campus trees are the largest specimens in Arizona and have been designated as Great Trees of Arizona. There are 5 trees on the National Register of Big Trees. Several are unique to the entire Southwest; a few were the first of their kinds to be planted in the Western Hemisphere. Explore the UA Campus Arboretum – virtually or actually. Visit the website to see Plant Walks and Wildlife Maps, and find out What’s In Bloom each season. The campus is open 7 days a week, absolutely free. Many trees are labeled, and more signs are being made. The UA Campus Arboretum is a member of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.
University of Arizona Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium – Hands-on science exhibits, exciting shows in the planetarium theater & science workshops.
University of Arizona Herbarium – A herbarium is a museum for plants. Plant specimens are collected, preserved, and stored for future study. The U of A Herbarium is open to the public Monday through Friday 9am – 12pm and 1pm – 5pm #113 Shantz Building on the U of A campus. Use the herbarium to research class projects, to identify weeds as well as to help in identifying rare plants.
University of Arizona Mineral Museum – Minerals, gemstones, and meteorites from around the world. Over 1900 minerals on display as well as an additional 6,000+ micro mount specimens. On the University of Arizona campus in the Flandrau Science Center.
University of Arizona Museum of Art – Changing exhibitions and a growing permanent collection of art ranging from 15-century to contemporary art.
University of Arizona Pharmacy Museum
A collection of over 60,00 artifacts from pharmacies in Arizona.
Wells Fargo History Museum
100 W. Washington St.
(Wells Fargo Plaza, downtown Phoenix; enter on Adams Street side.)
From 1858 on the stagecoaches of Butterfield’s stageline, through wild days at Tombstone, to extensive railroad service to the mines, Wells Fargo’s history in Arizona is classic western history. All are featured in this new museum. Unique to this museum is the art gallery featuring western-themed works by famed illustrator N.C. Wyeth. Please contact the museum to schedule tours.
West Valley Art Museum – Dedicated to preserving the largest collection of ethnic dress and textiles in the Southwest, as well as ethnographic fine art prints and Arizona art.
Central Arizona Museum Association
A guide to more than 50 museums in the Valley of the Sun. Central Arizona museums have something for everyone – history, art, science, anthropology – explore the diversity! (A PDF brochure listing central Arizona museums is available.)
May Museum Month
The Central Arizona Museum Association and Robinsons-May department stores offer a “May Museum Month” Promotion. Participating museums give 2 for 1 admission or a free memento during the entire month of May. Museum Passports are available at Robinsons-May stores around the Valley. May 18, considered International Museum Day, is the inspiration for this annual event. Visit www.azcama.com for more information on May Museum Month.
Museum Ed-Ventures Resource Guide
This guide contains information about many of the state’s cultural institutions, related educational resources and field trip opportunities. It was designed to provide a starting point for teachers to plan the ultimate education experience for young minds. Visit www.azcama.com and click on Museum Educator’s Council of Arizona (MECA) for more information and to download a Museum Ed-Ventures Resource Guide.
Tucson Association of Museums
Their Educator’s Resource Guide is your “one-stop shop” for information on educational opportunities offered by Tucson-area museums. They provide links to the finest cultural, historical, and educational facilities in southern Arizona, many of which have special programs for teachers and students.
Do you know of another good field trip destination not listed here?