Photo captured by Katie Gitre

Arizona State Museum 

All Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10:00AM - 5:00PM

Location:
1013 E University BlvdTucson, AZ 85721
West University 

Parking:
Available at Euclid Avenue and Second Street or at Tyndall Avenue and Fourth Street.

Phone:
(520) 621-6302

Introduction:

The Arizona State Museum (ASM) is located on the University of Arizona's campus at 1013 E University Blvd. and provides many educational and entertaining experiences. It offers exhibits from Arizona cultures of the American Southwest and northern Mexico and has one of the world's most extensive collections of Southwest American Indian basketry. The ASM, established in 1893, was initially a store for the gathering and insurance of archeological assets. However, today there are a lot of beautiful pieces of art in the Arizona State Museum from Mexican Folk masks, pottery and textiles, along with digital and still photographs. The Arizona State Museum offers numerous chances to encounter the old and continuing Native societies of the area through substance rich displays, dynamic docent visits, drawing in programs, energizing travel visits, hands-on workshops, an examination library and chronicles, and an instructive gallery store. In fact, the Arizona State Museum is the most traditional and biggest human sciences exhibition hall in the Southwest, home of the world's most significant accumulations of Southwest Indian stoneware and American Indian basketry, and is an offshoot of the Smithsonian Institution.

History:

Native people groups have existed in the North American landmass for over ten centuries to this day. The Arizona State Museum exemplifies and analyzes the way in which people in the Southwest lived. Examples include the investigation of the native peoples’ residences, means of life, craftsmanship, and socialization. 

Employees of the Arizona State Museum discover archaeological sites established by the native people living in the North America continent. Investigating original places of the past people allows us to learn new and exciting facts about the past. The Arizona State Museum workers recognize how these people lived, what they wore, what they ate, etc. by inspecting the archaeological sites rigorously. Unfortunately, these sites erode and vanish over time due to the natural power of the environment. However, research shows how these people lived day-to-day and what kind of villages they created. 

Collections:

Comprising of in excess of 3 million questions, the Arizona State Museum's accumulations are held in trust for the general population of the province of Arizona and incorporates 300,000 indexed archaeological curios, 40,000 ethnographic antiquities, 500,000 photographic negatives, and unique prints, and 90,000 volumes of an uncommon and elusive book and production titles.

Some of the collections that the Arizona State Museum includes in its exhibit are archaeology, bioarchaeology, ethnology, library and archives, photography, and other museum collections.

ASM's accumulations are by and open primarily to scholastics and others looking for inquiring information.

Some of the artistic works of the pottery featured in the pottery exhibit

Modern Museum Features        

Along with the online exhibitions, the Arizona State Museum provides modern-day podcasts that allow people to explore the Southwest culture. Modern-day podcasts consist of a digital audio file made available through numerous mediums of technology. The podcasts include some of the very artists and potters featured in the museum. Marilyn Ray, who is part of a large family of Acoma potters, is the most recent podcast available to listen to in the museum. She discusses the materials and techniques she uses in her Southwest pottery designs alongside her inspiration and motifs of the craftsmanship. 

You can find the online exhibitions at the Arizona State Museum website: http://www.statemuseum.arizona.ed

 Current Exhibits: 

“Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest” (until December 1, 2020)

According to the Arizona State Museum website, the “Paths of Life” exhibit “explores the origins, histories and contemporary lifeways of 10 regional Native cultures”. The exhibit consists of displays featuring prominent American Indian tribes across the Southwest such as the Navajo, Hopi, O’odham, and Western Apache. The displays use a combination of artifacts, videos and pictures to bring visitors into the lives and cultures of Indigenous peoples. Visitors learn about the ceremonies and traditions of Indigenous peoples in addition to the way they hunt/grow their food.

“Woven Through Time” (until August 4, 2022)

Basketry and other fiber art are some of the cornerstones of American Indian culture. In their exhibit, the Arizona State Museum illustrates the history and culture of basket weaving. While they only display a couple examples of basket weaving, their collection features around 35,000 artifacts including sandals, mats, and cradleboards.

The Pottery Project (until March 4, 2020)

In this exhibit, viewers can explore the tradition of Native pottery. The Arizona State Museum has over 24,000 vessels, making it the largest collection of Southwest Indian pottery in the world.

“Life Along the River: Ancestral Hopi at Homol’ovi (until June 29, 2019)

Through a variety of different artifacts, visitors learn about the Hopi people, who lived along the Colorado River in the 1300s.

“Hopi Katsina Dolls: Enduring Meaning and Stylistic Change” (until June 29, 2019)

Katsina dolls are representations of the Hopi ancestor spirits called Katsinam; they are traditionally given to children as gifts. This exhibit showcases around 70 Katsina dolls the are from the Arizona State Museum’s collection.

“The Resiliency of Hopi Agriculture: 2000 Years of Planting” (until June 29, 2019)

This photographic exhibit illustrates traditional Hopi farming practices and the resiliency of their products despite the arid desert heat.

“One World, Many Voices” (March 2, 2019)

This exhibit consists of more than 45 photographs of artists from Canyon Records, an independent label specializing in Native American music. Artist portraits include Radmilla Cody, Carlos Nakai, and Tony Duncan. Visitors also have the opportunity to see the Canyon Records’ Grammy Award.

To learn more about the ASM's current exhibits, please visit-http://www.statemuseum.arizona.edu/exhibits_events/current-exhibits

The Museum Gift Store: 

From prized kachinas, stoneware, basketry, gems, floor coverings, and Yaqui Pascola covers, to books for kids and grown-ups, DVDs, and a large group of other intriguing collectible things, the offerings at Native Goods are stand-out. Native Goods is the name of the Arizona State Museum's gift shop. In fact, Native Goods is unlike most museum stores because it is one of the only shops in the nation offering bushels, stone carvings, and fragile shell pieces of jewelry by the Seri, who live along the territory bank of the Gulf of California in northern Mexico, and basketry created by the Tarahumara from Mexico's well known and the secluded Sierra Madre. 

Photo captured by Katie Gitre

Baskets in the store can range from $30-2,500 dollars

Photo captured by Katie Gitre 

(Book & Posters: Both offered at the store)

The ASM's Admission:

What is also nice about the museum is the fact that students, children, and staff, are eligible to receive free admission. This goes to show that the state of Arizona wants people to want to come in and gain more knowledge about the state’s culture and its past history. Inside of the Arizona State Museum is a museum gift shop that is a neat place to visit before the end of your museum tour. It offers native goods and unique and educational art that derive from the native cultures of the US Southwest and northern Mexico cultures. The inventory sold in the store represents some of the pieces of work that are featured in the actual museum. That way after leaving the museum tour, everyone is able to take a bit of Arizona home with them forever.

Admission Cost

  • Adult 18+ years: $5.00
  • ASM Members/Staff: Free
  • Children and youth from 0-17 years: Free
  • UA/Pima CC staff/students with school ID: Free
  • Blue Star Museum program (active duty military personnel and their families): Free (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
  • Researchers/Scholars with appointments: Free
  • Library visitors: Free
  • Store visitors: Free

Guided Museum Tours: 

Docent Tours 

  • Schedule
    Monday 1pm-3pm
    Tuesday 1pm-3pm
    Wednesday 11am-3pm
    Thursday 1pm-3pm
    Friday 11am-3pm
    Saturday 11am-1pm
  • Docent tours are $7 and include the price of admission
  • Tour options: “Paths of Life”, Pottery Project, Museum Orientation Tour

Curator Tours

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 10am-12pm or 2pm-4pm
  • Space is limited to 10 people
  • $20 per person 
  • Behind the scenes into the climate-controlled storerooms

Arizona State Museum

1013 East University Boulevard
PO Box 210026
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0026
520-621-6302

References: