More Indian Doings at Museum in California, Arizona, New Mexico

Sunset, February 1985 | Go to article overview

More Indian Doings at Museum in California, Arizona, New Mexico


Los Angeles and Phoenix aren't the only cities with news in their Southwest Indian museums (see page 78). Sunset polled nearly 40 museums that devote significant display space to Southwest Indian subjects and found the following 15 with new displays and other developments.

Some of these showplaces take a general look, but many are tightly focused on a subject or region. Any one offers entree into Indian studies or even nearby Indian country. All have gift shops and many have excellent research facilities. ARIZONA

Flagstaff. Museum of Northern Arizona. Created 57 years ago to halt the shipping of artifacts by boxcar loads from Southwest excavations to institutions in the East, this museum--with an anthropology collection of more than a million objects--is still the primary repository of Indian finds from digs on nearby national park and U.S. Forest Service land.

Newest permanent exhibit, "Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau," examines cultures of Indians living in northern Arizona and the Four Corners region. Don't miss the full-size reproduction of a Hopi kiva, with original murals from the prehistoric site of Awatovi.

Special exhibits change every two or three months. Through March 17 you'll see "Clay Lockett: Southwesterner," with 100 of the many Indian crafts collected over a lifetime (1906 to 1984) by Lockett, for years owner of the museum's gift shop.

Location: 3 miles north of town on U.S. 180. Open 9 to 5 daily; $2 adults, $1 students 5 to 21; (602) 774-5211. The museum has an active education program including archeological classes for adults and children, tours, and lectures.

Parker. Colorado River Indian Tribes Museum. Late January was target opening time for an expanded museum devoted to the four tribes sharing 278,000 acres: the Mohave and Chemehuevi tribes who historically have lived here, plus Navajo and Hopis, relocated here in the 1930s.

A highlight is the world's best Chemehuevi basket collection, with split willow and devil's claw baskets woven during the past century. Mary Lou Brown demonstrates basket weaving most days.

The museum is 2 miles south of Parker on Mohave Road at Agency Road. Open 8 to 5 weekdays, 10 to 3 Saturdays; free. Call (602) 669-9211 to confirm reopening.

Phoenix. Pueblo Grande Museum. Evidence that ancestors of the Hohokam lived in the Salt River Valley as long ago as 300 B.C., much earlier than previously documented, is on view in "Under the Blade." It shows discoveries from two recent Phoenix digs and adds to the museum's collection of 20,000 Hohokam items from land adjoining the museum.

This prehistoric farming city, with as many as 10,000 people within 1 square mile, had sophisticated canal systems, many along routes still used today. The digs can be explored outside the museum.

Location: 4619 E. Washington Street. Open Mondays through Saturdays 9 to 4:45, Sundays 1 to 4:45; 50 cents for ages 6 and older; (602) 275-3452. Ask about workshops this month in beadwork and Indian dyes.

Near Sacaton. Gila River Arts and Crafts Center. The Pima and Maricopa tribes recently opened Heritage Park, an outdoor re-creation of Apache, Hohokam, Maricopa, Papago, and Pima villages.

Location: 30 miles south of Phoenix, just west of I-10 (exit 175). Open 9 to 5 daily; closed holidays; $1, 50 cents ages 6 to 17; (602) 562-3411. No fee to see exhibit inside the arts and crafts center; restaurant serves Indian specialties.

Tucson. Museum of Arizona. To celebrate the University of Arizona's centennial, this campus opens "Curators' Choice, Treasures from the Arizona State Museum" on February 10. Of the items chosen from the 100,000-piece archives, many will come from the museum's special strength: the world's largest collection of Hohokam artifacts and a notable collection from Western Apache tribes.

Also see "Shelter of Caves." Installed last year, this life-size diorama of a pueblo cave dwelling shows how archeologists excavate caves, what they find, and how they interpret that material. …

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