Is Phoenix known for its museums?
The answer to that question depends on what you’re looking for in a Museum. Phoenix has a deep history that spans Millenia. The area was originally home to nomadic cultures that hunted mammoths. It’s an area where artifacts and fossils are still regularly discovered. That makes it steeped in history. The museums here are just as varied as the area’s inhabitants. You’ll find great options for adults and children with unique focuses and elements you don’t typically find in a museum. If you have to make a choice, choose from these 3 best museums in Phoenix.
Experience local history and art at the Heard Museum.
This museum is focused on American Indian art. Its mission is a critical one. Founded in 1929, it’s recognized across the world as a leader in integrating art with storytelling. When you visit the Heard, you won’t just view incredible pieces of artistry. You experience the story of America’s first inhabitants. The exhibits and art on display aren’t limited to a specific timeframe either.
What are some of the standout exhibits and collections at the Heard?
- Functional artistry – A lot of what we consider artistically beautiful was standard practice for its time. Specific members of a tribe would create baskets or beadwork and
become extremely skilled in their craft. That led to greater embellishment, design, and craftsmanship in items that were meant for adornment as well as functional use.
- Native People in the Southwest – This a legacy exhibit and one of the largest collections of first nations artifacts and cultural items. Containing more than 2,000 items it allows visitors to get a complete feel for the skills, daily life, and culture of the original inhabitants of Phoenix. This includes interactive exhibits as well as stunning modern art pieces.
- Metal casting – The art of bronze casting is incredibly beautiful. Works include statues, wall hanging, and other examples of the medium. The Heard has been gifted several collections that span multiple native American artists from across the country.
Pick up a new instrument at the Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum is a recent addition to the Phoenix museum pantheon. It first opened in 2010 and was inspired by a similar museum in Belgium. At 200,000 square feet that include a concert hall, there’s plenty to see and do. This is a highly interactive museum, making it a great alternative to a day at the park. Almost all of the instruments can be picked up, played, and experimented with. That’s because the museum itself was founded by the former CEO of Target. He is an avid lover of music from around the world and wanted to share his passion.
What are some of the standout exhibits and collections at the Musical Instrument Museum?
- The Experience Gallery – This is the perfect place for younger children to experience a world of music. Unlike the individual regional galleries, it includes instruments from around the world. Every instrument in this collection can be played, and play is encouraged! The Encore gallery is set aside for school visitors, but may be open to the public as well!
- Special Exhibitions – As of the time of this writing the special exhibition is dedicated to inlaid work. The art of inlay is time-consuming, incredibly artistic, and requires true mastery of the craft. Materials include wood, shells like abalone, glass, stone, bone and metal. The current collection spans master luthiers from across the globe and includes guitars and banjos in a variety of themes and styles.
- The Mechanical Music Gallery – One of the most interesting times in musical history was the late 19th and early 20th century. It was this time before the creation of records and when mechanical music device creation was at an all time high. These intricate machines are designed to play music by themselves. Designs were ingenious and include music boxes, player pianos, and oddities like a self-playing violin.
Develop a taste for modern art at the Phoenix Art Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum has been leading the way in local exhibition curation since 1959. With a rich history of collecting and displaying traveling exhibits, whether you’re visiting for the first time or the fiftieth, you’ll find something new. The Phoenix Art Museum doesn’t specialize. That means you never know what you’ll see. From fashion to photography, statuary to painting, you’ll find something beautiful, arresting, and thought-provoking. All of this art can work up a real hunger for the culinary arts.
What are some of the standout exhibits and collections at the Phoenix Art Museum?
- The Asian Collection – This collection spans a wide range of different items and regions. Sections include samurai armor and vases. The craftsmanship on every piece is truly stunning. Pairing historical significance and artistry makes this an exhibit you won’t want to miss. Portions of the exhibit rotate regularly in order to better preserve them. That means you’ll have a great reason to re-experience it time and again.
- The Modern Art Collection – At 2400 pieces, this is a vast collection that spans all of American and beyond. Famous works include pieces from Picasso, O’Keefe, Raymond Johnson and much more. Modern art provides a look inside the mind of an artist, melding math, form, and color into creative works that remain unparalleled even today.
- Lectures and Talks – There’s always more to a piece than can be described in a placard or audio tour. Many have rich back-stories as do the artists that created them. Learning more about individual pieces is the heart of the talk and lecture series. These are always changing. No matter which collection you choose to learn more about, you’ll be treated to an in-depth exploration from a knowledgeable and passionate speaker.
Direction from the Musical Instrument Museum to L & M Granite Countertops
Musical Instrument Museum
4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050
Get on AZ-101 Loop W from N Tatum Blvd
3 min (0.9 mi)
Take AZ-51 S and I-10 W to S 23rd Ave. Take exit 199A from I-17 S
20 min (21.7 mi)
Take W Sherman St to S 25th Ave
1 min (0.4 mi)
L&M Granite Countertops
801 S 25th Ave #6, Phoenix, AZ 85009