The Arizona Historical Society (AHS) is proud to honor Delia Muñoz and the Superstition Mountain Historical Society with the 2020 Al Merito Awards.
Both award recipients were recognized virtually at the Annual Arizona Historical Society Membership Meeting on June 30.
Dr. James Burns, Executive Director of the Arizona Historical Society said, “Congratulations to Delia Muñoz and the Superstition Mountain Historical Society! Both Delia and Superstition Mountain Historical Society go above and beyond to create new ways to connect people with Arizona’s history. Delia’s deep knowledge of the Flagstaff community allowed her to connect with communities and fight discrimination in the historic record ensuring that important stories from Flagstaff’s minority communities were preserved.” Dr. Burns continued, “The Superstition Mountain Historical Society is devoted to education, publication, and research of Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, and has become one of the major cultural attractions along the historical Apache Trail. The museum is embraced by the community and has become a point of pride preserving history for future generations.”
For thirty years, Delia Muñoz was dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Northern Arizona with students, researchers and the public through her work with the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives at Northern Arizona University.
While at NAU, Muñoz took the lead on the Los Recuerdos del Barrio en Flagstaff collection. Oral histories, photographs, memorabilia, and life stories of Flagstaff’s Spanish, Basque, Mexican, and Mexican-American families filled a void in the Cline Library Archives. Oral histories were also collected from the African-American and Asian-American communities. Without her work, important stories of early Flagstaff would have been lost.
Muñoz co-founded Flagstaff Nuestras Raices promoting Hispanic culture and history. Each year the group hosts Celebraciones de la Gente educating the public about Dia de los Muertos and Hispanic culture. Delia was integral to the Arizona Historical Society’s Pioneer Museum exhibits Todos Unido: The Hispanic Experience in Flagstaff and Resilience: Women in Flagstaff’s Past and Present.
Muñoz continues to teach and mentor in Flagstaff. Her work will be of value to historians long into the future, and she has helped AHS to tell meaningful, powerful stories for their museums.
The Superstition Mountain Historical Society was founded in 1980 by individuals who shared a common and urgent interest in the preservation of the area’s history. The Superstition Mountain area is rich with history from centuries past and is a source of some of Arizona’s most famous legends and colorful stories.
The group originally was concerned about losing elders before they could tell their stories; they did not want a part of Arizona’s history to be lost. Society members and volunteers researched and gathered oral histories from those who lived it.
As the society’s membership grew, so did the group’s aspirations, with the priority of establishing a museum, library, and archives. In 1989 a building was rented at Goldfield Ghost Town on the Apache Trail, and the museum opened its doors to the public. Continued hard work by society members enabled property to be purchased, and in October 2003, the museum moved to new quarters on the Apache Trail. As the museum has continued to grow and flourish. it has become a hub of activity with people walking the grounds and visiting the many educational exhibits on the grounds and in the museum. Each season, the museum hosts special events, free lectures, classes, and school tours. The Superstition Mountain Historical Society embraces the mountains and the area’s history as its own and is dedicated to preserving both for future generations. Learn more: https://superstitionmountainmuseum.org/about-smhs/
The Arizona Historical Society established the Al Merito Award in 1973 to recognize individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions and serve as role models for preserving Arizona’s rich history. Learn more and view past award recipients.