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Arizona State Museum

As one of the oldest and largest museums in the southwestern region of the United States, the Arizona State Museum (ASM) exhibits a wide variety of anthropological and ethnographic artifacts, including original prints and photographic negatives. In addition to offering visitors the chance to experience the Native cultures of the southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico, the ASM is also one of the leading anthropological and historical research institutes in the region. The main focus of the ASM Research Division is studying the movements and influence of the Native peoples of the region. By organizing a trip to the AZ State Museum, visitors will not only have the opportunity to learn about the life of the ancient peoples through the artifacts they left behind but also conduct their own research through the ASM library and archives, which are open to the public. Learn more about the Arizona State Museum in the following sections:

  • Exhibits and events at the Arizona State Museum
  • Visiting the Arizona State Museum

Exhibits and Events at the Arizona State Museum

The Arizona State Museum currently houses more than three million objects. The ASM collects different types of artifacts, ranging from archaeological items, such as pots, baskets and masks used by the Native peoples, to bioarcheological items, such as skeletal remains uncovered during ASM excavations. In addition to material artifacts, the museum also offers access to more than 500,000 photographic negatives and prints, which document the excavations and the uncovered artifacts.

Note that not all available objects are on display for the public. While scholars and students can apply for access to the full ASM collection, the public can only view the artifacts that are currently rotated on display. Similar artifacts are generally organized and presented as a unique project exhibit centered on a certain theme for a specific period of time. The ASM Pottery Project Exhibit, for example, is an exhibition of pottery items constructed by the Native peoples throughout the ages. Note that the ASM typically showcases a small number of choice items from the whole collection. The pottery exhibit, for example, only displays 150 out of 24,000 artifacts. Selected by the museum's curators, several important items are also sorted by theme and available with a photograph and accompanying text via the ASM website.

The Arizona State Museum organizes a wide variety of learning events as well, such as lectures, field expeditions and workshops. Also, the ASM has previously organized artifact appraisal events hosted by the museum's curators and archaeologists. During such events, visitors have a chance to present certain artifacts and learn more about them, such as their age and origin. By accessing the Event Calendar through the museum's webpage, you will be able to review the happenings scheduled for the entire month.

In addition to the diverse collections on display, the ASM has also opened its library and archives to the public. The materials available through the ASM library specialize in anthropology, ethnology and archeology with a focus on the peoples of the southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico. Note that the museum's library is open to the public only during specific times of the day and specific periods in the year.

Visiting the Arizona State Museum

When planning an excursion to the Arizona State Museum, visitors can complete certain steps to ensure they have the best possible experience during their visit. In-state and out-of-state tourists, alike, must first check the museum's working hours in order to plan their visiting day accordingly. Note that the ASM is generally closed on Sundays and during state and federal holidays. The next step is to review the price of admission. Note that while adults are required to purchase a ticket, certain groups of visitors such as individuals younger than 18 years of age, researchers and students, are able to enter the museum free of charge. You are not required to purchase a ticket when visiting the library and the museum store as well.

After obtaining information regarding the ASM working hours and ticket prices, visitors can review the exhibits and events offered by the museum on a specific day to determine when to make their trip. Once you choose a date, you can decide how to arrive to the ASM. School and college students also have an opportunity to visit the museum as part of an educational trip. If you're part of such a group, the travel arrangements will generally be organized by your teachers. Student groups are generally self-guided. In certain circumstances, however, the ASM may provide a docent to serve as a guide for smaller student groups. Visitors who are not part of a student tour can schedule a tour visit with either the museum docents or the ASM curators. If you opt in for the curator-guided tour, you will be able to witness the curator restoring the precious artifacts housed in the state museum.