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Heard Museum: American Indian Art and Artifacts


As you may have seen on my previous posts Best Attractions in Phoenix and Free Things to do in Phoenix, I was planning a trip to Phoenix, Arizona to watch some spring training games. While that was the main reason for my visit, I was also looking forward to visiting a few local attractions. One such place was the Heard Museum. When I first discovered the Heard Museum, I thought it sounded quite interesting. I was intrigued and was looking forward to learning more about American Indian Art and American Indian people. I was not disappointed.

Heard-HouseGetting to the Heard Museum was not difficult, but they were setting up for their monthly First Friday Event that weekend and had a lot of tents being set up, and a lot of workers running around. I did enjoy walking around and checking out the gardens a bit before I actually made it inside to the museum. More about the grounds at the Heard Museum later in this post.

Heard-Bowls3Once inside I grabbed a map to decide where to start and what I wanted to see first.  The building has two stories with several galleries and exhibits on each floor. Here is a list of some of them by floor.

Heard Museum Ground Floor

  • Freeman Gallery
  • Jacobson Gallery
  • Sandra Day O’Connor Gallery
  • Piper Grand Gallery
  • Crossroads Gallery
  • Pablita Velrade Studio
  • Nicholas Sculpture Garden
  • Harriett Theater
  • Kitchell Gallery
  • Native People in the Southwest Exhibit

Heard Museum Second Floor

  • East Gallery Boarding School Exhibit
  • Jack Steele Parker Gallery
  • Jackson Gallery
  • Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives

Heard-TourLuckily I timed it to be able to take one of their docent tours. I was twice lucky and ended up on a tour led by Carol. She was absolutely amazing and very passionate about the museum and the pieces of art on display. She even told us that the works on display on represent a minuscule amount of pieces that the Heard Museum actually owns. She took us through several rooms and exhibits on site and gave us a good look into what the lives of the people from various tribes in the southwest. I never realized how many tribes were in the area. It was an eye opening tour for sure.

Heard-DollsThere was so much to see that she only was able to give us a general sense of what they had for us to see and what exhibits or areas we wanted to visit again after the tour. I walked through several of the rooms again, and was quite impressed with the baskets. There were so many different sizes, but I really enjoyed all the different textures and the many colors. I also enjoyed checking out the katsina dolls. There is so much history behinds both the baskets and dolls.

Heard-OvenSpeaking of history, here is a little bit of historical information about the Heard Museum for all you history buffs. The museum was opened on December 26, 1929 by founder Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard. In the early days it was a small museum in a small Southwestern town and was a central gathering place for locals as well as school children. In 1956, the Heard Museum Auxiliary was established to assist with educational programs. Today, the Heard Museum Guild numbers nearly 500.

Heard-Bowls2There have been many expansions though the years, but two significant ones happened in 1983, which added 78,000 square feet and 1999 which added 50, 000 square feet. The expansion added several new structures including an expanded Museum Shop & Bookstore; the Steele Auditorium and Dorrance Education Center; The Café at the Heard Museum (now known as the Courtyard Café); an artist studio; and the Nina Mason Pulliam Pavilion. Also added were the Library and Archives, administrative space, collections storage facilities and exhibit preparation areas.

Heard-SticksToday the Heard Museum sets the standard for collaborating with American Indian artists and tribal communities to provide visitors with a distinctive perspective about the art of Native people, especially those from the Southwest.

Heard-JewerlyAfter I finished walking through several of the rooms again, I  was drawn to the Nicholas Sculpture Garden. The Heard Museum is fortunate to have been given works by leading American Indian sculptors such as Allan Houser and John Hoover. They are all so unique and I wish I could share them all. I am going to make a video of some of the pieces and share it here once completed.

Heard-Bowls1I really enjoyed checking out the sculptures and couldn’t end this post without talking about the grounds of the Heard Museum. Like I said, there was a lot of stuff going on because of the First Friday Event set up, but I still enjoyed checking out the many sculptures as well as the Museum Shop and Café. It was a nice little area to sit, relax, and enjoy a drink or a small bite. Probably not so nice in the summer, but it was nice in late February, lol.


Heard Museum Information

For those of you who are planning a trip to the Heard Museum, here is some important information and helpful tips. Or  you can also check out their website if you still have more questions.


2301 North Central Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85004




  • Monday thru Saturday 9:30am – 5 pm
  • Sunday 11 am to 5 pm
  • First Friday of the Month 6 pm – 10 pm


  • Adults: $18
  • Seniors (65+) $15
  • Students (with college ID) 7.50
  • Children (6-17) $7.50
  • Children (under 5) Free
  • American Indians (with tribal ID) Free


Guided tours are included with admission and are offered daily. Hear from experienced docents as they share about the artists, cultures and artwork featured in the museum’s galleries. Free public guided tours are offered daily at noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Please note that our public tour schedule is subject to change on major holidays. Please check prior to your visit.



From I-10 Heading West

  1. Exit 7th STREET, and turn RIGHT (north).
  2. Turn LEFT (west) at the first major intersection, McDowell Road. You’ll need to move across 7th Street quickly to reach the left turn lanes onto McDowell Road.
  3. Turn RIGHT (north) on Central Avenue.
  4. Turn RIGHT (east) into the Heard Museum.

From I-10 Heading East

  1. Exit 7th STREET, and turn LEFT (north).
  2. Turn LEFT (west) at the first major intersection, McDowell Road. You’ll need to move across 7th Street quickly to reach the left turn lanes onto McDowell Road.
  3. Turn RIGHT (north) on Central Avenue.
  4. Turn RIGHT (east) into the Heard Museum.


Ample free parking is available on the museum grounds. For weekend festivals, look for signs along Central Avenue for extra parking.

I had an amazing time walking through and touring the Heard Museum. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I am so glad I was able to visit. The Heard Museum was gracious to host my visit while in Phoenix. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for a great time exploring your wonderful museum.


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  • Heard-Memorial
  • Heard-Museum1
  • Heard-Oven
  • Heard-Statue
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  • Heard-Tour

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