Collections

The Japanese Flower Gardens of Phoenix

As early as 1905, Japanese immigrants moved to Arizona with the intent to farm the land. They first planned to establish a sugar beet farm; but this crop would fail to thrive in the heat, and many Japanese farmers left the state by 1915. Despite the difficulty, new farmers continued to arrive, including Kajuro Kishiyama […]

The Iron Lung … Treating Pandemics of the Past

As more and more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we can’t help but think of a particularly important artifact housed at the Pioneer Museum in Flagstaff, the iron lung. This early ventilator saved many lives when a previous epidemic spread across America. Polio left many children and adults paralyzed, some temporarily and some permanently. In […]

Beauty Haul: Powders, Creams, and Makeup from the 1920s

The Arizona Historical Society holds thousands of precious objects in the collections. We protect and preserve these artifacts that share stories from Arizona history to show how people lived and worked in their everyday lives. Some of these objects are large and some are very small. How did women create their signature beauty looks in […]

Preserving The Migrant Quilt Project

The Arizona Historical Society is honored to announce the receipt of the Migrant Quilt Project into its collections. Founded in Tucson in the mid-2000s, The Migrant Quilt Project memorializes the stories of migrants who have died seeking refuge in the United States. It is a collaborative effort between artists, quiltmakers, and activists to document the […]

The Pioneer Hotel Fire of 1970

It was an exciting evening at the Pioneer Hotel on December 20, 1970. Hughes Aircraft, now Raytheon, held their annual Holiday Party in what was one of Arizona’s premier hotels–hundreds of people were in attendance. Winter visitors from all over the US and Sonora were either snuggled up in bed or enjoying the holiday festivities. […]

Memorials and Monuments at the Arizona Historical Society

Starting A ConversationSometime between closing on November 4th and opening on November 5th, the two statues―honoring John Greenway and Padre Eusebio Kino―in front of the Arizona History Museum in Tucson were painted with red spray paint. As a history institution, we paused to reflect on what this means.  First, we have to ask questions about […]

Share Your Arizona Pandemic Story

People often think of archives and museums as places where you go to learn about important historical figures. But who decides what makes a person “important” enough to belong in a museum? Throughout much of modern history, decisions about what museums collect have been made exclusively by archivists and curators.  Yet over the past few […]

Hispanic Heritage Month in Arizona

Did you know that Hispanic Heritage Month is more than fifty years old? It was signed into law as a national week of observance by President Johnson in 1968 and expanded to a full month by President Reagan in 1988. It runs from September 15 to October 15. Hispanic Heritage Month does two important things: […]

Celebrating Navajo Code Talkers Day

During Worl War II, the first Navajo Code Talkers created a unique code that would prove vital to America’s victory in the Pacific. The Navajo were not the first tribe to use their language to transmit messages for the United States during a war. During World War I, Cherokee soldiers became the first known code […]

Buffalo Soldiers and Indian Scouts: Remembering and Uncovering Those Who Served

July 28, 2020 recognizes the 154th anniversary of the passage of the Army Reorganization Act. This act, which reorganized the US military following the Civil War, created both the Buffalo Soldiers and Indian Scouts. Both Black and Indigenous people served in the US Armed Forces before 1866, but this act was the first time they […]

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