The Heard Museum is one of Phoenix, Arizona’s finest cultural features. The museum’s collections and exhibitions showcase the best of traditional and contemporary Native American art with a major focus on Native Americans of the southwest. Founded by Dwight and Maie Heard, two Arizona pioneers, in 1929, the Heard Museum thrives today at three locations and remains one of the most acclaimed institutions of Native American history and culture.
The Heard Museum’s permanent collections are home to more than 35,000 Native American artifacts that attract thousands of visitors every year. Among its famous holdings are: a complete Navajo Hogan, Mareen Allen Nichols contemporary jewelry collection, the Barry Goldwater Collection of Hopi kachina dolls, and the exhibition on Native Americans and nineteenth century schools.
While many of the artifacts at the Heard are unsurpassed in quality, the museum prides itself on giving voice to past cultures by doing more than simply warehousing items on shelves. The museum strives to promote education and to bring the past to life with its various educational programs designed to captivate audiences and inform one and all.
Heard Museum History.
Dwight and Maie Heard founded the museum in 1929 to showcase their personal collections of art. Their passion for the southwest and its historic cultures spurred them to buy the La Ciudad Indian ruin which contained a treasure trove of archaeological items that comprised much of the Heard’s early collection. Although Dwight Heard died of a heart attack before the museum opened to the public, Maie worked as curator, director, and museum guide for over twenty years.
After Maie Heard’s death in 1951, the museum continued to expand in many ways. While its collections grew, its educational programming also began to thrive with the incorporation of the Heard Museum Auxiliary. By the late 1990s, the museum had more than tripled in size and added additional structures for a shop, bookstore, education center, 400-seat auditorium, extra galleries, café, etc…In the last decade, the Heard has opened branch galleries in Scottsdale and Surprise, Arizona.
The Heard Gift Shop.
Rather than gift shop, this special area might easily be termed a contemporary gallery. All items are authentic Native American creations. There are no reproductions. Visitors to the Heard Gift Shop have the unique opportunity to buy artistic works by Native American artists.
Heard Festivals and Special Events.
One of the museums most anticipated events is the famous Spanish Market held in November. Hispanic and Native artisans exhibit and sell their traditional wares while mariachis bands perform. The Spanish Market contains items such as pottery, furniture, painting, and silver work. However, other famous festivals and events include February’s Championship Hoop Dance Contest, the March Indian Fair, and December’s Holiday Festival. View the Heard Museum’s calendar of events to find out about other festivals and special exhibitions.
Getting To The Museums.
There are three museums each located in a Valley of the Sun community. Nominal fees apply with discounts for seniors, students and young children.
Main Heard Campus
Heard Museum North
Heard Museum West