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For more than 80 years, the Heard Museum has attracted visitors from around the globe who come to learn about the arts and cultures of the Native peoples of the Americas. The museum and its grounds are an oasis of Spanish Colonial architecture, with courtyards, water features and sculpture gardens. The Heard Museum, which has more than 130,000 square feet of galleries, classrooms and performance space is known worldwide for its exhibits, programs, and festivals celebrating Native artists. Visitors can also purchase museum-quality, authentic American Indian artworks in the museum store. Free public tours are offered daily at noon, 2 and 3 p.m., beginning at the Information Desk (private group tours are also available). Gallery talks are offered on a varying schedule.

  • Bartlett Heard and Dwight Bancroft Heard, c. 1928. (Heard Museum - RC46:3)
  • View of the entrance of the Heard Museum in the early 1950s. (Heard Museum - RC76(E97):66))
  • Steele Auditorium at the Heard Museum.
  • Courtyard adjacent to the Heard Museum entrance.
  • Participant in the 2005 World Championship Hoop Dance Contest.

The Heard Museum opened quietly in December 1929, several months after Dwight Heard passed away from a heart attack. During its early years, as today, the museum was a central gathering place for locals as well as school children. Lectures, workshops and talks about the exotic lands the Heards had visited brought people from all around to the Heard Museum.

The museum underwent significant growth upon Maie Heard’s passing in 1951. In 1956, the Heard Museum Auxiliary was established to assist with educational programs. Today, the Heard Museum Guild numbers nearly 500. In 1958, the Auxiliary launched two aggressive fundraising projects, a museum shop and a fair. Both activities continue with great success today, thanks to the continuing support of Guild members who work in the Shop and plan the Indian Fair & Market, which today draws nearly 20,000 people.

In 1967, a major expansion created the museum’s first collections storage area, a new auditorium and two floors of galleries, including one gallery designed to present the Goldwater Katsina Doll Collection that Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona had given to the museum in 1964.

The museum’s activities revolve around collecting, preserving and presenting art ranging from ancestral artifacts to contemporary paintings and jewelry. Exhibitions lay the foundation for learning about the cultures and experiences of the people – past and present – who create art. The Heard draws on its extensive collection as well as loaned artwork to present a mixture of long-term and changing exhibitions.

The Heard Museum actively collects American Indian fine art, and a variety of paintings, drawings, prints, photography and sculpture can be found throughout the museum’s galleries and grounds. Fine art exhibitions reflect the scope of the museum collection, which contains historic drawings more than a century old as well as contemporary canvases.

Annual Festivals

The Heard hosts the annual El Mercado de Las Artes, usually in November, with strolling mariachis and artwork by Hispanic artists from Arizona and New Mexico including santos, pottery, colcha embroidery, furniture making, painting, printmaking and silver and tinwork. The Heard also hosts the annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest, typically held in early February. The Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, a juried art fair and festival, has been held yearly since 1958.

The Indian Fair and Market is held annually in March and features over 600 Native American artists, and includes a juried competition for the best artwork of the fair appropriately called "Best of Show." Approved artists compete in eight classifications: Jewelry and Lapidary Work; Pottery; Paintings, Drawings, Graphics, Photography; Wooden Carvings; Sculpture; Textiles/Weavings/Clothing; Diverse Art Forms; Baskets.

1. "Heard Museum," Official Museum Website, accessed September 21, 2016. 

2. "Heard Museum: An Official Phoenix Point of Pride," Phoenix Point of Pride website, contains general museum information, accessed September 21, 2016. 

3. "History of the Heard Museum," Museum Website, accessed September 21, 2016. 

4. "Heard Museum Directions & Parking," Museum Website, accessed September 21, 2016. 

5. "Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives," Museum website, the library has an extensive digital collection, accessed September 21, 2016. 

6. "Native American Artists Resource Collection," Museum website, accessed September 21, 2016. 

7. "Current Exhibits at the Heard Museum," Museum Website, accessed September 21, 2016. 

8. "Heard Museum Art Collections," Museum Website, Note: part of the collection is online, accessed September 21, 2016. 

9. "Heard Museum Shops," online shopping, Museum Website, accessed September 21, 2016. 

10. Heard Museum, HEARD MUSEUM: NATIVE CULTURES AND ART, e-book, 1997, a history of the museum, accessed September 21, 2016. 

11. "Heard Museum," Facebook page, accessed September 21, 2016. 

12. "Heard Museum Videos," several on a variety of topics, Museum Website, accessed September 21, 2016. 

13. "Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona - USA," YouTube video set to music, 1:43 minutes, February 2015, accessed September 21, 2016. MAPS, FORMS, BROCHURES 

14. "Museum Maps," Official Website, accessed September 21, 2016. 

15. "Registration Form," required for researchers for Archives access, Heard Museum Website, accessed September 21, 2016. 

16. "Brochures & Guides, downloadable, for the museum, Heard Museum Website, accessed September 21, 2016.