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Museums in Arizona
Try these Underated Phoenix Museums!
Blah blah Phoenix Art Museum, yada yada Heard Museum, something something Arizona Science Center – that’s probably the furthest some people get when trying to list cultural centers in the Valley of the Sun. Well heck, Phoenix is the sixth largest city in the country, and there’s much more to museum hopping around here than some may realize.
Musical Instrument Museum
A fairly recent addition to Phoenix’s cultural scene is the Musical Instrument Museum – established in 2010 right at the 101 and Tatum Boulevard. Housing more than 15,000 instruments in this two-story, 200,000-square-foot complex, MIM is the largest museum of its kind on the globe.
Roughly 200 countries are represented in this northern Phoenix museum thanks to the Geographical Galleries, while the Artist Gallery showcases memorabilia of world-famous guitar gods, piano men, soul singers, and classical stars.
Additional collections at MIM include the Mechanical Music Gallery, the hands-on Experience Gallery, and the Conservation Lab. Other features include the 300-seat MIM Music Theater for special events, the onsite Café Allegro, and of course, a museum store.
MIM is open daily, offers free parking and group tours, and will only run you $18 per adult – and less for kids, teens, and tots.
Pueblo Grande Museum
Maybe you’ve passed the sign on the way to Sky Harbor International Airport, but were too busy worrying about your carry-on busting open to give it much thought. Well the Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park is a must-see for Valley visitors and residents – located right in the thick of Phoenix.
Both a National Historic Landmark and a Phoenix Point of Pride, the Pueblo Grande Ruin preserves irrigation canals and platform mounds from the Ancient Sonoran Desert People – known less formally as the Hohokam.
The site has been operated by the City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation Department since the early days of 1929, and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Pueblo Grande visitors are encouraged to take it inside for exhibits on archaeology and the Hohokam people, as well as shopping for Native American art, jewelry, crafts, you name it.
Hall of Flame Fire Museum
Last one for you culture vultures. The Hall of Flame Fire Museum, accompanied by the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, is an uno-acre fire history center set in east Phoenix.
Open daily, this adorably- titled, incredibly inexpensive museum is home to nearly 100 pieces of fire fighting equipment, artifacts, and memorabilia – some of which date to friggin’ 1725.
The hall is divided into six galleries, exhibiting everything from horse-drawn “firetrucks” and vintage uniforms to the fiery beginnings of the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management.
Neighboring Phoenix icons like Papago Peak, Phoenix Zoo, and Tempe Town Lake, the Hall of Flame is perfect for kids, parents, bored couples looking for a random activity, and visitors alike.
Arizona Railway Museum
Make the most of your next visit to the Phoenix metro area with a fun and festive tour of the Arizona Railway Museum. A premier attraction in the city of Chandler, the Arizona Railway Museum is ideal for families who seek a unique experience, or for those who love and appreciate trains.
Established in 1983, the AZ Railway Museum is a non-profit organization, dedicated to preserving and celebrating railroads and trains of the southwestern U.S., with an emphasis on those from Arizona. Be sure to check out their Railroad Steam Wrecking Crane and Tool Car, and the Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive No. SP 2562.
An ideal family destination in Phoenix is the Heard Museum. Known as one of the “world's finest destinations for learning" and one of the first cultural attractions in Phoenix, it was founded in 1929. There are two locations in Phoenix, displaying American Indian Arts and exhibits on American Indian cultures. These “living museums” are recognized world-wide, for the quality of collections on display.
Both locations have a Cafe and a wonderful Museum shop with authentic artwork, jewelry, pottery, paintings, sculpture and weavings for purchase. With 10 exhibition galleries in the central Phoenix Museum and two galleries in the North Scottsdale Museum, visitors can spend all day admiring the displays.
John Wesley Powell Museum
Browse through the John Wesley Powell Museum in Page to see photos, sketches and memorabilia of John Wesley Powell's voyages on the Colorado River from 1869 and 1871. You'll also find a wonderful collection of Native American artifacts on display - as well as the history of Page, and films of the construction of Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.
To learn more about Major Powell, stop by the Powell Museum bookstore and gift shop to stroll through the variety of books on Major Powell. While in Page, make the most of your travels to northern Arizona by exploring as many of the wonderful and charming area attractions.
Kingman Army Airfield Museum
Discover one of Arizona's premier museums. The Kingman Army Airfield Museum proudly displays a collection of photos, artifacts and displays from World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War. The Museum is housed in the original 1942 wooden hangar at what is now the Kingman airport.
The Route 66 Museum and the Mohave Museum of History and Arts are other must-see museums in Kingman. Lace up your hiking boots for a great hike in the Hualapai Mountain Recreation Area. Make the most of your next visit to northwestern Arizona.
Museum of Northern Arizona
Learn about the Colorado Plateau through the variety of exhibits, collections and over five million Native American artifacts at the Museum of Northern Arizona. The Museum is the only accredited museum in Flagstaff, and is dedicated to preserving the Northern Arizona heritage.
The 200-acre museum is home to the award-winning permanent anthropology exhibit entitled “Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau.” Take your time strolling through eight different galleries, and viewing the anthropology, biology, geology and fine art collections. See the iconic landscapes and explore the city of Flagstaff while enjoying your visit to northern Arizona.
Musical Instrument Museum
With a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments, the Phoenix-based Musical Instrument Museum is the largest of its kind – in the world. Opened in 2010, the Phoenix MIM was founded by Robert J. Ulrich, an avid collector of African art. You can find the MIM just south of the 101 Freeway in the far north of Phoenix.
Spread across the 15,000 pieces in the MIM's collection, you'll find objects and artifacts from over 200 countries and territories – every single inhabited continent is represented. The ground floor features the Experience Gallery, while the top floor features the Latin America Gallery.
The Sharlot Hall Museum
Gain insight into Arizona's history. The Sharlot Hall Museum began in 1928 from Sharlot M. Hall's vision to save Arizona's history with her collection of artifacts and documents. The Prescott campus includes seven historic buildings, the Fort Whipple Museum and the beautiful Rose Garden. They host several festivals throughout the year. The Library and Archives' collection of rare books and historical photographs is a must-see while visiting the Museum.
Historical plays and living History programs are also performed at the Blue Rose Theater. The Bashford House, a beautiful Victorian home, was saved from demolition and moved to it's current location on the Museum campus, to house the gift store – enjoy your stay in northern Arizona.