The Tuba Trading Post has been in operation since 1870. It is still in operation and has a small grocery and lots of local art, crafts and souvenirs. There is a history walk leading to one of the entrances, that has some interpretive signs about the history of the trading post, the area and the people.
The Explore Navajo Museum, a hands-on museum, is located behind the historic Tuba Trading Post. It has a number of very interesting displays that explain a lot about the life, art and traditions of the Navajo (Dine) People. The displays are well presented and informative. This museum has won several awards and is well worth a visit. Admission is $9 for adults; $7 for seniors; $6 for children 7 to 12 and free for kids under 7. Hours are 8 AM to 6 PM Monday through Saturday and 12 PM to 6 PM on Sunday.
The centerpiece of the main room is a full sized traditional hogan. Inside the hogan are a number of examples of Navajo arts and handicrafts. There is also a seating area where you can sit and watch films about local arts and artists. Traditional hogans are built a very specific way and in a specific order to follow the beliefs and traditions of the people.
Prominant in the main room is the Great Seal of the Navajo Nation along with an explanation of the symbology involved. The seal was officially adopted by the Tribal Council on 18 January 1852 and was designed by John Claw, Jr. of Many Farms, AZ. The seal has a rainbow representing Navajo sovereignty with an opening on top representing the eastern direction with the sun rising. There are the four sacred mountains represented in the four sacred colors of white, blue, yellow and black. The green corn stalk represents the sustainment of Navajo life and the yellow on top represents the pollen used in scared Navajo ceremonies. Finally the animals represent the Navajo livestock industry.
The number four is a sacred number to the Navajo and occurs throughout their philosophy. There are the four cardinal directions, four sacred mountains, four sacred colors, the four seasons and the first four clans. In the main room of the museum, in the appropriate places, are markers showing the four cardinal directions with the colors, mountains, and things associated with each.
Open ONLY one day a week every FRIDAY. Free to the public. Local Natives selling handmade Indian crafts, jewelery, pottery, vegtables, fruits, herbal medicines and garage & flea market items. What a mix. Food vendors selling prepared Native foods like Navajo Tacos, ground steam corns, all sort of soups & stews with fry breads, knell-down bread, blue corn meals. Try something different from each food vendor, the roasted mutton sandwich, traditional Navajo ground cakes, the Pueblo adobe breads, the Hopi piki bread, etc. Well over 70+ vendors every friday and more towards Holiday weekends and festivals. This is an open market as you will see other vendors from off the reservation there selling services. Mingle with the Navajos and other Indian tribes, listen to the atmosphere and the rising smoke from the grills with the aroma of cooking food. Must Go. Best times are mid-mornings till 2pm. Shop for bargins.
A great way to begin your visit to the museum is to watch one or more of the short informative videos available in the theater located just inside the entrance.
Just outside the theater, and before you enter the main room of the museum is a display about the constellations in the Navajo skies and how they influence the beliefs and lives of the people.
There are two types of hogans; male and female. Depicted here is a male hogan. Most ceremonies take place in the male hogans.
Navajo are close to the earth and have a special connection with their animals. Rodeo competitions are very popular, too.