Ten exhibit galleries, outdoor courtyards, an education center, a large gift shop, and a multipurpose amphitheater constitute this enormous museum, displaying one of the best collections of traditional and contemporary Native American artwork anywhere. The museum also boasts more than 35,000 Native American artifacts in its permanent collection, from baskets and blankets to moccasins and Kachina dolls.
For anyone interested in understanding the American Indian culture better, I'd certainly suggest a visit to The Heard Museum. It's hard for me to pass a museum by--there's just so much history waiting to be passed on to those who enter in.
As the guide led us through the museum, this Coming of Age outfit caught my interest. Just look at the fringing! We were told that this ceremony is more important than a wedding or the birth of a baby to Indian culture.
Other points of interest were:
A replica of a pueblo oven (picture 2)
Displays, oral histories and distinctive characteristics of the Native American groups (picture 3)
Time passed quickly and before we knew it our stomachs told us it was time for a quick bite. The Arcadia Farms cafe had a delicious selection of Southwest lunch entrees and desserts. I ordered Strawberry Chicken Salad with Poppyseed Dressing ($11.99)--it was great! The cafe is open daily from 9;30 pm-3:00 pm. (picture 4)
While my husband was attending his business conference, Helene and I made plans to see the Heard Museum. We met Helene and her husband at a dinner gathering the night before.
The Heard Museum was founded by Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard in 1929 to house their collection of American Indian artifacts and art. The original museum was 1/8th the size of today's building. It has grown to more than 2,000 pieces of 'sweeping landscapes, poetry and person recollections'.
There is a fantastic permanent exhibit on Native People in the Southwest. It features art, crafts and the history of the American Indian culture. There was so much to see that a couple of hours passed quickly!
Free docent led tours are scheduled each day at 1:30pm and 3:00 pm. We thought it would be wise to have a guide point out the highlights, since the collection was so vast.
Here are some of the things you'll find here:
Katsina Dolls from the 1800's and up to the present time (picture 2)
Handmade Comanche Moccasins from the late 1800's (picture 3)
A Navajo Woven Blanket (picture 4)
Torquoise and Silver Handcrafted Jewelry (picture 5)
Admission is $10 for adults; $9 for seniors;$5 for students with ID; $3 for children 6-12.
Hours are daily from 9:30 am-5pm. The museum is closed on major holidays.
This is a good place to start if you're looking to learn about Native American Indian culture. Since my family is from the largest Native reservation in Canada, I can tell you this is a good representation of our vast and varied cultures. My only complaint is that I should have visited when an event or performance was taking place, you can check their website for details.
Perhaps I've been spoiled by the many Native American museums from where I live, so while this museum didn't give me the "wow" factor I'd still highly recommend you give it a go when in the Phoenix area.
Daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Note: The museum will close at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
$6 Seniors (65+)
$3 Children 4-12
FREE for children under 4, Native Americans with proof of tribal enrollment and Heard Museum members
The Heard Museum developed from the passion that pioneer settlers Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard felt for the Southwest, its inhabitants and its history. The Heard’s dream of sharing the beauty of their private collection with the public was realized in 1929 when the Heard Museum first opened its doors.
Today, the Heard's collections include approximately 39,000 works of cultural and fine art. The collections remain at the core of the museum’s mission and serve as an internationally known resource for learning about the rich cultural heritage of Native peoples. While maintaining an emphasis on the cultures of the greater Southwest, the Heard collections also include American Indian fine art from throughout North America including drawings, paintings and sculpture.
Key collections areas feature textiles, katsina dolls, pottery, jewelry, baskets, cradleboards, paintings, sculpture and World Cultures materials.
From the website...
"The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, is a private, non-profit museum founded in 1929 by Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard to house their personal collection of cultural and fine art.
More than seven decades of history have transformed the world famous Heard Museum into what USA Today describes as "the nation's most prestigious private Indian arts center."
The mission and philosophy of the Heard Museum today is to educate the public about the heritage and the living cultures and arts of Native peoples, with an emphasis on the peoples of the Southwest."
"The internationally acclaimed Heard Museum is one of the best places to experience the myriad cultures and art of Native Americans of the Southwest. With a commanding presence on Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix, the museum hosts nearly 250,000 visitors a year and "… provides Indian artists with a wonderful home that will excite and inspire visitors from around the world."
Arizona Highways, October 1999
It you enjoy Native American culture, than you need to visit the Heard Museum. It is always interesting to watch visitors own perceptions of Native Amercian culture change when they compare what they learned from television to the truth.
The artifacts and the history here are amazing. From the story of the original indian settlers of Arizona, who turned the harsh desert into a giant farming community to the indian suffering at the hands of the European settlers to how the indian communites are today, I find it all facinating.
I would not skip this on a visit to Phoenix!
Free Public Guided Tours
Daily at noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m., experience a free public tour through the museum's 10 exhibit galleries. 45 mins.
The museum of here is filled up, and there is it.
There are many documents such as the geographical history, the animals and plants of Arizona, the mineral, too.
The history from each native American tribal ancient times, the lifestyle are explained intelligibly.
I bought the sand picture of the Navaho at a stand of here.
(It is over good thought of Arizona.)
The Heard Museum is an interesting cultural museum. The museum itself is typical of many of these types of museums that exhibit the Native Americans of this region, their history, art, etc. There are also other various art displays such as modern art pieces. The grounds are lovely and the museum has a nice cafe with an outdoor eating area. A nice 2-3 hour diversion close to downtown.
this museum has native american artifacts originally in personal collections. re my terminology -- some exhibits use "native american," but most use "indian" (the common descriptor until very recently, at least in the "white" world).
the museum has pottery (some more than 1,000 yrs old), items used in daily living, clothing (including gorgeous dresses of many fabrics), art, jewelry, baskets, and everything else imaginable. there is a very extensive display of various katsina (also called kachina) dolls, which represent various spirits in native american mythology. there are also SHORT films and many hands-on activities for kids -- beads, paper sculptures, puzzles, etc.
the displays are organized by geographic area around the world, with individual displays on the various tribes in each area. DO NOT SKIP side rooms that look boring at first. two of the most fascinating exhibits were ones i almost skipped and was very glad i did not -- the "learning center" and the gallery on the history of the ways the united states has dealt with "the indian problem," ranging from extermination to forced acculturation into the "white" world (see my separate "things to do" tip on "heard museum, exhibit on 'the indian
the gift shop (602/252-8344) is large and has jewelry, beadwork, weavings, totem animals carved from many materials, books, prints, etc. many are expensive, but are clearly worth it b/c of their quality. the best prices are in the children's section.
admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and $4 for kids over 6 yrs old. open every day from 9:30 am to 5 pm. free parking; use the east lot rather than the north one. it is a little confusing to navigate to the entrance, but once you are inside, curved wood panels guide you easily thru the different exhibits. all galleries have wheelchair access, and there are elevators also.
allow 3 or 4 hours for this wonderful museum. you will not regret it.
there is an arcadia farms restaurant just outside the museum, see my "restaurant" tips for phoenix.
In this museum you can learn how indian tribes lived many years ago here: in Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Nevvada, New Meico .... It deserves a visit and it takes around 2 hours. The Kachina room is very interesting: I have never seen so many Kachinas before ...
And also the building is interesting
for an overview of the museum, see my separate "things to do" tip on "heard museum, in general."
while i was there (september, 2005), one of the rotating exhibits was a gallery on how the united states has dealt at various times with the "indian problem." this exhibit was extremely moving and should not be missed if it is still on display.
among other things, the gallery included items, letters, photographs, and very short
films from the government boarding schools to which native american children (as young as age 6) were sent involuntarily from approx 1875 to as late as 1975. here the children were forced to speak english and punished for speaking the tribal languages, trained for various manual occupations, and for the most part taught to reject their own cultural heritage in favor of one from the "white" world. the exhibits include reconstructions of classrooms and dormitory rooms. it is difficult to imagine how emotionally brutal these practices were until you see the actual displays.
In a beautiful setting, The Heard Museum is a very nice museum dedicated to Native American art and culture in the U.S. This is one of the best Native American museum we have ever visited. Visit it when you are in town! See the art and learn about the culture of the tribes that have lived here in Arizona for generations. They have a wonderful collection of Kachina dolls,baskets,pottery, art and jewelry to name a few exhibits. Very nicely done museum!
If you visit in Feb. Don't miss the Hoop Dancing Contest-it is incredible!
The Heard Museum is a great place to start your Arizona adventure. You will see lots of art, sculpture, clothing and learn about Native Americans. The museum was a day well spent. It could easily take you all day to ramble through and see everything. Very worthwhile.
The Heard Museum is recognized as one of the premier museums of Native American art in the world. If you have time for only one museum in Phoenix this should be it.
It is a good idea to join the guided tour when visiting the Heard Museum. It's free and it gives more perspective to the stuff you're viewing.