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Heard Museum

Home > Phoenix > Exhibitions | Galleries | Museums | Places of Interest | Tours
by Judy Karnia (subscribe)
I am a travel writer, life coach and forest therapy guide living in Scottsdale, AZ. Visit my website at
Published September 25th 2021
Unique showcase of American Indian art and history
Art museums generally overlook the important contribution that Native American tribes have provided to American culture. The Heard Museum uniquely showcases American Indian Art in a beautiful setting, just north of downtown Phoenix. In 1928, Maei Heard decided to design a building for the art that her husband and she had been collecting since their move to Phoenix in 1895. The museum has continued to grow since then to its current collection of forty thousand pieces.

You enter Heard Museum through an open courtyard brimming with southwestern charm. This is a relaxing place to enjoy a snack and listen to soothing fountains.

After entering the main building, the curving walls of the Home: Native People in the Southwest exhibit welcome you to wander through the gorgeous displays of pottery, baskets, jewelry and rugs. The native tribes of Arizona come to life through the historical stories, explanations of traditions, and examples of crafts. One wall is filled with a vast array of Katsina dolls. These are given as gifts to young girls as a wish for good health, growth and fertility.

A display of baskets demonstrates how the O'odham adapted to using desert grasses and yucca as materials to create all shapes and designs of plates and bowls. The colors of the pottery of the Maricopa vary with the type of clay available.

Away from Home fills the second story with its exposition of the Indian boarding schools. Starting in 1879, the United States government began forcibly relocating American Indian children to residential schools so that they could be "civilized" and "assimilated". The schools did not allow contact with the families and many of the children grew sick and died. The photos, descriptions, and quotes give powerful exposure to this difficult chapter of our history.

After viewing the other small galleries in the museum, save some time to visit the museum shop on your way out. You can marvel over fabulous authentic American Indian Art available for purchase for anywhere from fifty dollars to thousands of dollars.
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When: Tues-Sun 10am-4pm
Phone: 602-252-8840
Where: Downtown Phoenix, AZ
Cost: $20 (discount if purchase online
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