Arizona gained its statehood on February 14, 1912. It was the last of the 48 continental states to be admitted into the union.
Arizona was originally a part of Mexico, the land was relinquished to the US in 1848 and became a separate territory in 1863. In 1854 copper was discovered, and copper mining was Arizona’s top industry until the 1950’s. We are widely known for our “five C’s,” copper, climate, citrus, cotton and cattle. In terms of area, Arizona is the 6th largest state in the country.
Though relatively young for a state, Arizona has a fairly fascinating history, and it is worth learning more about it. We have gathered a small list of just some of the museums that are worth visiting to learn more about the diverse and beautiful state in which we live.
53 N. Macdonald
Mesa, AZ 85201
Tues – Fri: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun: 1 – 5 p.m.
This museum will take you far back into the history of the state, all the way back to the time of the dinosaurs! Learn about the first creatures that called Arizona home. In the museums Southwest Gallery you will learn about the first human inhabitants of North America and the Desert Civilizations that later developed. You can see a Hohokam village with pit-houses outfitted with real artifacts as they would have been used 600-1450 A.D. You can explore Territorial Arizona, the Spanish Southwest, and Arizona’s historic 5 Cs in the History Courtyard. Also in the courtyard is a dino-dig and go gold panning! Discover many of the movies that have been filmed in Arizona, and even be in a western movie yourself!
- Heard Museum, Phoenix
2301 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Monday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
First Fridays (except March): 6 to 10 p.m.
Established in 1929, the mission of the Heard Museum is to educate visitors and promote greater public understanding of the arts, heritage and life ways of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with an emphasis on American Indian tribes and other cultures of the Southwest. Explore the museum’s rich history as one of the Phoenix area’s first cultural attractions, and see how the museum has grown to be one of the world’s finest destinations for learning about American Indian arts and cultures.
- Superstition Mountain Museum, Apache Junction
4087 N. Apache Trail
Apache Junction, AZ 85119
Open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Superstition Mountain Museum collects, preserves and displays the artifacts, history and folklore of the Superstition Mountains, Apache Junction and the surrounding region. This is a 12.5 acre museum site that offers untold photo opportunities with its reproductions of 19th Century businesses including a Wells Fargo office, stage coach stop, barber shop, assay office and other displays of authentic relics of the 1800’s. Occasionally there are gunfighters that will put on a show of what an old west shoot out may have been like. Well marked nature walks crisscross the areas surrounding the museum buildings, all located at the base of the West Wall of the beautiful Superstition Mountain….a one of a kind location. You can also visit the Elvis Memorial Chapel and the Audie Murphy Barn which were moved to the museum, piece by piece, following the second fire which destroyed the Apacheland Movie Ranch.
- Museum at Papago Park, Tempe
1300 N. College Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Tues. – Sat.: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Noon – 4 p.m.
Closed on Mondays and state holidays.
Concentrating on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the museum engages visitors on diverse topics such as World War II’s effects on Arizona, the rise of desert cities, Arizona pop culture and sports, and the state’s geology, among many others. The museum brings stories to life through hands-on and multimedia displays, and a variety of educational programs.
- Pioneer Museum, Flagstaff
2340 N. Fort Valley Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Mondays – Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sundays: Closed except during special events.
The museum is located in the historic Coconino County Hospital for the Indigent. The Hospital was built in 1908 using pumiceous dacite from the Mount Elden Explosive Eruption about 500,000 years ago. The building was used as a hospital until 1938 and was considered a Poor Farm. The exhibits within the museum reflect the history of Flagstaff and northern Arizona. Visitors will learn of the local history of ranching, logging, transportation and life in Pioneer Flagstaff. Festivals and events are also held on the grounds including the annual Wool and Fiber Festival, the Folk Festival and the Heritage Festival.
- Arizona History Museum, Tucson
949 E. 2nd Street
Tucson, AZ 85719
Monday & Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closed for State Holidays
The Arizona History Museum’s focus is southern Arizona history from Spanish colonial through territorial eras. Exhibit topics include mining and transportation. The Arizona’s Treasures exhibit features Geronimo’s rifle, 18th-century Spanish silver artifacts, and hands-on exhibits for children.
No. 5 Copper Queen Plaza
Open Daily: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
A museum that focuses on the history of Bisbee’s mining community. Bisbee’s storied past is recorded, reflected and retold in this museum like no other; it is one of only 2,000 sites nationwide honored as a National Registered Landmark.
- Old Trails Museum, Winslow
212 Kinsley Avenue
Winslow, Arizona 86047
10 am-12 noon & 1 pm to 3 pm
(Closed from 12 noon to 1 pm)
Founded in 1997, the Winslow Historical Society receives, preserves, and interprets information and artifacts representing the history and cultures of the Winslow area, in order to engage and enlighten all visitors to the Old Trails Museum’s exhibits and programs. The Old Trails Museum explores Winslow’s history through permanent exhibits on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, US Route 66 and Winslow’s historic airport, Pioneer settlement (including the area’s first Mormon settlement), Area ranches & ranchers, and trading posts & traders, Ancient Native American life and pottery and much more.
This list is only a small selection of the museums that offer insight to our state’s history. Arizona is a melting pot of cultures and it is fascinating to see the differences and similarities throughout the different regions of the state. Use the above list to help you get started on your educational journey, you can also choose from this more extensive list of museums from Wikipedia.