First time in Phoenix? Don’t miss these five museums. Even if you have called the Valley of the Sun home for years, chances are you may have overlooked one of these gems.
Phoenix Art Museum. This is the cultural heartbeat of central Phoenix. For more than 50 years, the Phoenix Art Museum has been the Southwest’s premier destination for world-class art. More than 18,000 works of American, European, Asian, Latin American, and Western American art are on display. You’ll see works by Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Arizona favorite Philip Curtis. Don’t miss the modern and contemporary art wing and fashion design gallery. The museum plays host to regular festivals, movie screenings, and educational programs. Kids will love PhxArtKids, an interactive space for children.
Musical Instrument Museum. One of Arizona’s newest museums, the Musical Instrument Museum, or MIM, has quickly carved out an important niche in the local arts and culture scene. The MIM strives to share and celebrate the history of musical instruments throughout the world with its collection of instruments from around two hundred countries around the world. Wander the bright, open space and listen to musical instrument samples using the museum’s wireless headsets. Flat-panel monitors throughout the museum give visitors the opportunity to see instruments performed. The MIM also hosts numerous concerts and performances.
Heard Museum. This is one of the world’s best repositories of Native American art, crafts, and jewelry. There are ten exhibition galleries, free guided tours, an outdoor sculpture garden, art gallery and trading post-style gift shop, and a renowned café. The Heard Museum presents six to eight new exhibitions every year, as well as ongoing exhibits that showcase the museum’s large collection of American Indian art.
Arizona Science Center. More than 300 hands-on exhibits in five themed galleries make for a day of fun and learning at this favorite downtown museum. Children and adults will enjoy learning how their body works in the All About Me exhibit, or experiment, observe, and test your ideas in the popular Get Charged Up! Gallery. Catch the latest thrilling documentary at the IMAX theater, go on a journey across the galaxies at the Dorrance Planetarium (the first in the world to use new, state-of-the-art NanoSeam dome technology), or get a workout on the Rock Wall, a 15-foot climbing wall that will give you a whole new view on things.
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archeological Park. This non-profit museum and park, located on a busy city corner, can be easy to miss. Take the time to stop by for a fascinating glimpse into the Phoenix valley’s prehistoric past. The museum and park preserves the history of the ancient Hohokam people who once inhabited central and southern Arizona. You’ll get up close to a prehistoric ball court at this remarkable archeological site, which has been operated by the city of Phoenix since 1929.