Friday, July 8, 2016

The Heard Museum

The Cultural Gateway to Arizona

Every year millions of visitors come to the Valley of the Sun.  The reasons they visit usually revolve around climate and/or attendance at some special event. While they are here they may golf or hike, enjoy spring training and Phoenix's red-hot indie restaurant scene. Many go on to visit the Grand Canyon, the Red Rocks of Sedona or the mystical lands of the Hopi and Navajo.

The Grand Canyon 2016
Tony Abeyta 

If you choose to visit, you will have much to choose from. But here's an inside tip from a local. Begin your visit by gaining insight on the richness, beauty and culture of our magnificent Sonoran Desert home.  And a great way to accomplish that is by investing an hour or two at Phoenix's remarkable Heard Museum.

Gift of the Earth 1991
Allan Houser (1914-1994)

 Navajo Water Girl 1999
Doug Hyde
Nez Perce / Assiniboine / Chippewa

Dwight and Maie Heard
Dwight Heard arrived in Chicago from Massachusetts in 1886 to work for (True Value) hardware wholesaler Adolphus Bartlett.

Seven years marked to life changing events for Mr. Heard. He married Adolphus' oldest daughter Maie. And, together, he and his new wife experienced Chicago's World's Columbian "White City" Exposition. This is the fair that introduced the world to widespread public use of electric lights and the world's first Ferris Wheel. It is very possible the exposition triggered their lifelong desire to explore the world.

Then, just two years later Dwight was diagnosed with tuberculosis. And, like many others, it  provoked the Heard's to relocate to the fledgling city of Phoenix, Arizona where he began a new career in farming, ranching and publishing.

Over their lifetime the Heard's carefully acquired art and treasures from Arizona (and around the world).  And, they eventually decided to create a museum to showcase their collections with a focus on Native American culture.

Indian Pottery 
Function Elevated to Art

Part of The Goldwater Katsina Collection

Koyola, Hano Clown 2000
Marlin Pinto

A few months before Dwight's death in 1929, the Heard Museum opened to showcase and celebrate the culture and art of the First People's.

The Heard
In addition to its core gallery's there are always new and changing exhibits. My visit last week offered two that I particularly enjoyed. There was a special exhibit "Over The Edge: Fred Harvey at the Grand Canyon" showcasing the Fred Harvey Company's powerful influence in western hospitality and major role in framing America's imagery of the Southwest.

Fred Harvey Santa Fe Railway Advertisements
McClure's Magazine 1912

Mary Jane Elizabeth Colter
The Design Force Behind Fred Harvey

Advertisement for La Fonda Hotel 
Santa Fe, New Mexico
A Colter Designed Hotel

I was also moved by a powerful and immersive permanent new exhibit presenting the Bureau of Indian Affair's boarding school program. The exhibit carefully illustrates and describes its profound and frequently heartbreaking impact on generations of Indian children.

"The Torture Begins"

Culture Wars
Participate in Sports!
Become Civilized!

The Way White People Do.....

Allow at least 2 hours for a visit. The museum is open seven days a week. There is a modest admission fee (admission is free to American Indians and to everyone on First Friday's). 

Consider a little extra time to explore the museum store, bookstore, cafe and coffee / espresso bar all located around the shady forecourt to the museum. The parking is free and the museum is immediately accessible to light rail.

The Heard Forecourt

Come Visit.

Enjoy the sun, the Golf and the food!

But start your visit at The Heard.

Roadboy's Travels © 2016

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