Explore Tucson

3 University of Arizona Museums Perfect for History Buffs

These University of Arizona Museums each uncover a piece of the history of Southern Arizona.

Art tends to take hold of one’s thoughts through inspiration, beauty and admiration, but one aspect of art that is never overlooked is its ability to preserve the history and culture of the past. This very reason is why art conservation at the University of Arizona is so valuable—because so many of its pieces tell a story that helps paint a picture of the Southwest’s indigenous people. Visit any of the following museums and transport yourself into Tucson’s captivating past.

Arizona State Museum

The oldest and largest anthropology museum native to this region, the Arizona State Museum is home to some fascinating artifacts crafted by ancient residents of the land—including the Hohokam of central and southern Arizona and the Hopi people of northern Arizona. One of their current exhibits, “Life Along the River,” educates visitors on the inhabitants of seven villages along the Little Colorado River through maps, artifacts and dialogue of present day Hopi; Open through June 2019. Other ASM collections include 300,000 catalogued artifacts, 40,000 ethnographic artifacts, 500,000 photographic negatives and original prints and 90,000 pieces of rare literature found in the museum’s library and archives.


 American Treasures of Native Basketry and Fiber Art” (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)
Native basketry and fiber art (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)

Center for Creative Photography

This center is one of the highest quality art museums and study centers for photography on earth and is the largest institution in the world strictly dedicated to documenting the history of North American photography. These scenes captured in time include a collection of over 90,000 works by more than 2,200 photographers that consist of various artforms put together in albums, scrapbooks, writings, negatives and memorabilia. Some of the more notable 20th century North American photographers displayed in the museum include Edward Weston, Lola Alvarez Bravo and W. Eugene Smith.

(©Stephanie Burchett)

The University of Arizona Museum of Art

This museum is home to over 5,000 pieces of artwork, sculptures, prints and drawings ranging from European and American Renaissance period works to present day art. The museum also houses a Western Art collection as well which is being utilized by the current exhibit “The Myth and Mirror: Artwork of the American West” which explores themes of colonization, national identity and manifest destiny, open now until April 1, 2018.