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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hidden Gem: The Arizona Historical Museum interactively paints Tucson’s past

    Alex McIntyre

    A statue of John Campbell Greenway stands guard near the entrance to the Arizona History Museum at 949 E Second St. on Thursday, Sept. 10. The museum offers daily admission for the low cost of $5 in addition to other events.

    Right off campus lives a place where Arizona’s history is waiting to be discovered.

    The Arizona History Museum, located on 949 E. Second St., is a part of the Arizona Historical Society, which oversees a community of history museums in the state. The museum has collections that date back to the Spanish colonial era and more recent history through World War II.

    Exhibits are constantly held and changed in the museum, with its most famous being the “Geronimo” exhibit.

    The “Geronimo” exhibit, eponymously named, is a visual biography with key artifacts including Geronimo’s surrendered rifle and photographs of his peace negotiation.

    Another notable exhibit is “The Silverbell Artifacts including the Desert Crosses.” This exhibit consists of 32 lead artifacts that were found here in Tucson near Grant and Silverbell roads in the 1920s. These artifacts were featured in an episode of “America Unearthed” on the H2 Channel.

    A new exhibition called “I Am Tucson” opened Aug. 1. “I Am Tucson” is an interactive, hands-on exhibit in which Tucsonans have the opportunity to become part of the exhibit. It highlights the community’s likes and dislikes of Tucson and also gives them the chance to proudly identify as Tucsonans. Participants can add personally drawn maps to the exhibit walls, incorporate their favorite David Fitzsimmons cartoons and complete a crossword puzzle that quizzes Tucsonans on their local knowledge.

    Today, photographer Ken Blackbird will be present at the museum from 4 to 5:30 p.m. to talk about his exhibition that has been up since April. In the museum, Blackbird dedicates an entire room to displaying live-action shots of a Native American rodeo in Wyoming, bearing resemblance to Tucson’s annual rodeo in late February.

    “The Arizona Historical Society hosts four museums in Tucson. Each one portrays a specific piece of local history, but this museum has a little bit of everything,” said Eric Gonzalez, the museum operations manager. “This is a great place to learn about Tucson’s history, and even though the name says Arizona, it’s also just as much about Tucson’s history—Southern Arizona included.”

    When asked about their favorite exhibits, Barbara O’Leary, a museum volunteer, said “it changes with each exhibit, but my all-time favorite is the hands-on exhibit upstairs,” while visitor Shirley Pinkerton said “I like the mines,” referring to the Arizona Mining Hall.

    A library is also located inside the museum and is free for the public to use.

    Admission to the museum is $8 for adults and students entry is discounted at $5. The museum also offers a deal to visit on Mondays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., for Family Night and Cheap Date Nite, as admission is only a buck.

    The museum is open on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Make sure to bring a jacket, as the museum stays at a very cool temperature.

    Follow Justice Amarillas on Twitter.

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