January 22, 2008

The Heard Museum

Posted in museums at 9:52 am by classicalmusic

A Phoenix “Point of Pride”

The Heard Museum was founded in 1929 by Dwight and Maie Heard to house their own personal collection of Native American art.  Begun as a small private museum, it has greatly expanded and states as its “mission”:  education of the public about the heritage and living cultures and arts of Native peoples of the Southwest.  It is now recognized internationally both for the quality of its collections and its educational programming.

I had never heard of the Heard until I visited relatives in Phoenix, Arizona, about ten years ago.  One of the sights of Phoenix that they particularly wanted me to visit was this museum.  The building itself is a lovely, spreading, sand colored edifice built on the Mexican hacienda style with lovely arches, pavilions and courtyard garden.

Most of the collection objects are from the 19th and 20th centuries, but since this is a “living” museum, contemporary Native American art is constantly being added to it.

The Barry Goldwater Collection of historic Hopi kachina dolls and the huge collection of contemporary Native American jewelry especially impressed me.

In addition to all of the above, the Heard Museum is the home of the annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest which is generally held in the month of February.

In the last ten years, in fact since I was there, the Museum has expanded to include two more sites:  one in Scottsdale, Arizona, and another in Surprise in the West Valley.  The original Phoenix site is a popular and well attended museum.

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