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Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff


Where Gumbo Was #491

The Museum of Northern Arizona, located in Flagstaff, was established as a central collection location for Indigenous material and natural history specimens.

Founded in 1928 by zoologist Dr. Harold S. Colton and artist Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton from Philadelphia, it is dedicated to preserving the history and cultures of northern Arizona and the Colorado Plateau.

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One exhibit — Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau – was my favorite. Presented in their own words, the exhibition reflects tribal histories, values, and cultures of ten Colorado Plateau tribes: Acoma, Dilzhe’e Apache, Diné (Navajo), Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Southern Paiute, Southern Ute, Yavapai, and Zuni.

This is a contemporary display showcases what makes the tribes unique. The most interesting though are the narratives. One reads: “Zuni Values. First you have to understand about rain... The gift of rain the Kokkos bring is like a blessing. Snow is like a promise,” Virgil Wayco.

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The Archaeology Gallery documents more than 12,000 years of occupation in the region and features rare objects including large pottery vessels, sandals and other footwear, a large fragment of a kiva mural, and a large cache basket.

Within the geology gallery is a mural illustrating the major eras in the development of life on earth. Illustrations depict what geologists think the region may have been like, while bones and stones in the cases exhibit the clues geologists use to understand these ancient eras.

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The Grand Canyon offers another window into geological history. Researchers continue to study clues and try to determine the events that created this 277-mile-long canyon.

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The museum sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, on homelands sacred to Native Americans throughout the region.

The museum honors past, present, and future generations who have lived here for thousands of years and will forever call this place home.

Congratulations to George G, who correctly identified the location!


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