4 Museums to Visit in Phoenix

December 27th, 2018 by

3 artifacts at Heard MuseumPhoenix is an urban oasis that’s home to a diverse collection of museums. Explore Arizona’s history or learn all about musical instruments, right here in the Valley of the Sun. Every venue offers a unique look at the world, and all are worth exploring. Whether you’re entertaining snowbirds or looking for a new way to spend a hot afternoon, here are four top cultural adventures in the Phoenix area.

The Heard Museum

A cultural icon, The Heard Museum was founded in 1929 and has continued to grow and expand since opening its doors. Today, enjoy 12 renovated galleries, an outdoor sculpture garden, and an outdoor amphitheater.

The museum’s collection features 40,000 objects that tell the story of Arizona’s native peoples and the greater Southwest. You’ll discover baskets, beadwork, jewelry, pottery, and textiles. Listen and learn about the 22 American Indian communities that still call Arizona home.

View the display of fine artworks featuring 4,000 pieces representing the American Indian Fine Art Movement over the last century. Have a snack at the café, and browse contemporary native art at the museum store and bookshop.

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

Located on the Mesa Arts Center campus, Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum opened in 2005 and includes five galleries over its 5,500 square-foot space. The museum’s permanent collection is housed in the first gallery, while another dedicates space to the works of local artists.

Exhibitions rotate several times each year, so visit often for the full experience. Stop by for a lecture, live performance, or workshops and classes. At the gift shop, you can pick up a copy of the 2019 Original Print calendar. The prints are also on display in the museum’s lobby.

Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Get into the spirit of the West at Scottsdale’s museum. This 43,000 square foot institution showcases the art, history, and stories of the Old West, featuring 19 states and Arizona. Browse the rotating exhibitions by artists, collectors, and other museums.

Once you’ve explored the galleries, wander through the sculpture courtyard, take in a show at the theater, and peruse the museum’s shop. Stop by Heritage Hall, filled with photographs of historical individuals, and stroll the Main Street replica, which features a saloon and trading post.

Musical Instrument Museum

Where can you find a collection of more than 6,000 musical instruments? At The Musical Instrument Museum, of course! This venue features five galleries dedicated to different geographical regions and artifacts from 200 countries.

Venture through the Mechanical Music Gallery, which displays instruments that actually play themselves. The Artist Gallery, on the other hand, showcases a variety of instruments played by some of the world’s greatest musicians, from John Lennon to Tito Puente.

No visit to the Musical Instrument Museum would be complete without spending time in the Experience Gallery. Loaded with instruments, guests are encouraged to play them all. Fans of instrument preservation can view the conservation lab from a window display.

Visit a cultural mecca nestled in the Valley of the Sun. Rich with museums, these are just a few to start your adventure in Phoenix.


Heard Museum” via Flickr by jaycross. Used with permission via CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original

Posted in Phoenix Adventures