The Heard Museum has one of the best, if not the best display in the U.S. of Native American art. To get a good overview of the Native American culture check out this Phoenix museum. This museum makes our list of top Arizona attractions to see on vacation. The grounds are beautiful and filled with Native American sculptures, water features and Palo Verde trees.
Inside the Arizona Heard Museum
The museum is laid out more like a gallery of fine art. As you enter the arched doorways you will walk to your right down an outdoor courtyard filled with beautiful fountains, desert trees and areas to sit and relax or eat a meal at the Heard Cafe.
You will walk through tall glass doors where you can choose to take one of the many daily guided tours or take a self guided tour through ten exhibition galleries. Five of the exhibits are ongoing and five change out.
The ongoing exhibits include:
- Home: Native People in the Southwest
- Every Picture tells a story
- Remembering Our Indian School Days: The Boarding School Experience
- Around the World: The Heard Museum Collection
You can expect to see an outstanding display of American Indian pottery, beautiful turquoise jewelry, sculptures, woven grass baskets, textiles, katsina dolls, authentic clothing, bead work and much more.
Arizona Museum Activities
The museum offers several festivals throughout the year, especially fun is the World Championship Hoop Dance contest that takes place in February.
Top contestants from many different tribes come from all over the United States and Canada to take part in this annual event where they compete for cash and the title of World Champion. Hoop dancing is a traditional dance representing the circle of life.
The contest is an incredible show to watch as the dancers manipulate many hoops at a time with great speed. They dance to live music on a large dirt circle on the main grounds of the Heard Museum. The competition is two days from morning until sunset. Tasty fry bread and tacos are served.
Another popular event is the Indian fair and marketplace where you can purchase jewelry, Kachina dolls, and other authentic items.
While in Phoenix, be sure to visit this very nicely done southwestern museum. You will walk away with a much better understanding of this fascinating culture and guaranteed to learn something you didn’t already know.
- Phone: 602-252-8848
- Location: 2301 N Central Phoenix, AZ (main museum)
- Secondary Locations: Two smaller museums, one is located in Surprise and one is in Scottsdale: 32633 N Scottsdale Rd Scottsdale, AZ and 16126 N Civic Center Plaza Surprise,AZ
- Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park (7 miles)
- Phoenix Art Museum (1 mile)
- Orpheum Theater (2.5 miles)