Many say that the Heard Museum has one of the finest Native American collections in the country. The museum thanks its reputation to the quality of its art and crafts, from pre-Columbian times to the present day. It also shows the American Indian way of life through exhibitions, artist demonstrations, educational programs and festivals.
Pioneer settlers Dwight and Maie Heard built the museum in 1929 in a Spanish Colonial building to showcase their collection of American Indian artwork. Dwight died before it was finalized, but his wife Maie stayed on as the director, curator and lecturer for more than 20 years. The venue now occupies two sites, one in Central Phoenix and one in North Scottsdale.
Hear the stories, follow the history and study the artwork of the country’s indigenous people. There are more than 40,000 objects exhibited across 12 galleries, including paintings, carvings, sculptures and Hopi katsina dolls. Join a free, guided tour in the afternoon to take in all the highlights. The museum’s signature exhibit is Home: Native People in the Southwest. The videos and art displays include cultural objects and craft-making techniques. Listen to the voices of Native Americans from the region’s major tribes as they talk about art, daily life and their relationship with the land.
Join in activities for the whole family at several of the galleries. Create your own pieces of Native art and weave beads, make Apache burden baskets or Yaqui paper flowers. Events at the Heard include lecture series and artifacts markets. The annual World Championship Hoop Dance contest attracts Native American tribes from across North America.
The downtown Heard Museum is open daily throughout the year, except Easter, July 4 and Christmas Day. Park for free on the museum grounds or take the light rail to the entrance on North Central Avenue. The Heard North also has free parking, as well as an American Indian Art shop, café, and sculpture and native plant garden.