Arizona History Museum

29feb6:00 pm9:00 pmHistory on Tap 2020Arizona History Museum

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Featured Exhibits

Stories of Resilience:Overcoming Adversity in Arizona History

Stories of Resilience:Overcoming Adversity in Arizona History

Open April - December 2019
Everybody has a resilience story to tell, because all humans have the ability to be resilient. And we all face adversity in our lives. For this exhibit, we have chosen several stories to highlight examples of resilience from Arizona’s past and present. In some cases the stories are extraordinary, but all of the people are ordinary in that they were just like us. They struggled, they found a way, they survived. While exploring their stories, we invite you to put yourselves in their shoes and imagine what you would have done in their place. Read more below about the three perspectives featured in the museum: Community Resilience, Faces of Resilience, and Resilient Arizonans.

The Arizona Historical Society would like to thank the generous sponsors of Stories of Resilience: Tucson’s January 8th Foundation, The Marshall Foundation, and The Friends of Arizona History, Inc.

Community Resilience

Community Resilience

Community Resilience focuses on how the Tucson community came together to grieve, comfort and heal in the aftermath of the January 8, 2011, shooting. The January 8th space contains objects from three memorials that were created by the Tucson community in the hours, days, and weeks after the event. Candles, plates, signs, flowers, and more were brought to the different sites to show the love and support from the Tucson community. Visitors to the museum can watch interviews from Ron Barber and Jim Tucker talk about their experience on January 8 and the years after, and learn from Sociologist Monica Casper about how humans channel resilience. Special thank you to Tucson’s January 8th Foundation and The Marshall Foundation for their support.

Resilient Arizonans and Laurie McKenna's "The Undesirables"

Resilient Arizonans and Laurie McKenna's

Resilience Arizonans looks at the lives of ordinary Arizonans who overcame adversity, from 1800 to the present. Although all were southern Arizonans, the people we chose came from diverse backgrounds, demonstrating that resilience is universal.

On July 12th, 1917 in Bisbee, AZ mining companies and the Sheriff armed approximately 2000 citizens and rounded up 1,196 striking miners and their supporters. From there, the striking miners were marched to a baseball park, loaded into cattle cars, and banished to the desert in New Mexico. The strike was called by the IWW and the workers were accused of being subversives, unpatriotic, and a threat to public safety.

McKenna developed a series of works on paper, souvenirs, video vignettes, and curated a series of informative pamphlets. The central work in the installation is comprised of 1,200 individual rubbings of a 1917 penny that commemorates each man, by name who were unlawfully taken and banished from their homes in Bisbee. Laurie considers the process of making the rubbings as an endurance piece, and the rubbings themselves the resulting monument, "A labor of love for the love of labor".

McKenna's The Undesirables was first presented on the 100th anniversary of the event in 2017 in Bisbee, Arizona. In 2018 Laurie received a Artist Research and development grant to explore and expand the performative and video aspects of her work. In August 2018 she brought the installation and added video elements to Cornelius Projects Gallery in San Pedro, CA. San Pedro, along with Long Beach is the center of American west coast shipping with a similar history of labor struggles and IWW union organizing in the first quarter of the 20th century.

John Slaughter’s Changing West: Tombstone, Bullets, and Longhorns

John Slaughter’s Changing West: Tombstone, Bullets, and Longhorns

September 8, 2018 through August 31, 2019

John Horton Slaughter and his wife, Cora Viola Howell Slaughter, shaped southeastern Arizona in the aftermath of the OK Corral shootout. As sheriff, John brought peace to a fledgling Cochise County, making it safer for his cattle, his family, others who would soon come. This exhibit explores one couple and their border ranch, as their world changed dramatically, and an era of large range cattle ranching came to an end.

Permanent Exhibits

History Lab

A new type of museum exhibit that allows community historians and museum visitors to share a story about history. History Lab currently features:

  • “Tucson’s Early Brewers,” by Betty Cook
  • “Tucson’s Black History,” by Zee and Bernard Wilson
  • “Agua Caliente Park,” by the 4th-grade class of Agua Caliente Elementary School
  • “Mine Workers of Bisbee”; “The Tohono O’odham and Pima Indian Experience in 19th Century Arizona Territory”; “Freemasons, African American Women WAACs and Chicanos”; and “Apache Indian History in the Southwest,” all by the University of Arizona History Department Capstone Research class
  • "History of Tucson’s Chinese Community" by Community Curators Sandy Chan, Sue Gilles, Shirley Miller, Jim Sell, & Frances Tom

Mining Hall

Visitors will get a glimpse into the often-dangerous life of an 1870’s miner as they walk through underground mining tunnel and explore a two-story tall stamp mill. This immersive exhibit includes an assayer’s office, repair shop, and miner’s tent.

Treasures of the Arizona History Museum

Take a behind-the-scenes look at treasured objects in our collection, including Spanish Colonial silver, Santa Anna’s uniform, Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlotta’s jewelry, famous firearms, and much more.


*Please schedule your guided tour or field trip at least 3 weeks in advance. We cannot guarantee a docent for guided tours scheduled less than 14 days before tour date. *

Field Trips (K-12, College Classes)

Field trips to the Arizona History Museum are 2 hours long and include time in the gallery spaces and in our hands-on exhibit. K-8 teachers: while we prefer a ratio of 1 chaperone to every 5 students, all schools are required to bring 1 chaperone for every 10 students.

There are three different kinds of field trips:

Guided Tours (10-60 students)

Guided tours are for groups of 60 or less. The group will be divided in half, with one half starting in the galleries and the other half will begin in the hands-on exhibit. The group touring the gallery spaces will be led by one of our trained docents. After about 45 minutes, the groups will trade-off. 

Junior Curator Challenge (60-120 students)

The Junior Curator Challenge is an option for all groups, but is designed for groups of more than 60. Each student will be given a booklet that outlines a curator challenge. Then, accompanied by teachers of chaperones, they are free to move around the museum and learn collaboratively with their peers. 

Self-Guided (High School and College Students)

High school and college students are free to roam the galleries under the direction of their instructor. No docent will be provided. 

Admission Rates:

  • K-8: $5 per student
  • High School and College Students: $8 per student
  • Title 1 admission available! Teachers, chaperones, and bus drivers are admitted free of charge.
Group Visits

Is your group looking to visit the Arizona History Museum? We have options to accommodate all groups!

Guided tour (45 minutes to 1 hour)

Guided tours are led by a trained guide. Explore Arizona’s History from ancient times to the present!

Self-guided tours

We offer discounts on self-guided tours for groups of 10 or more. The museum supplies a printed gallery guide to explain each room and exhibits.

Behind the Scenes Tour (90 minutes)

Explore the gallery spaces on a guided tour, then join us in our collections holdings to see what’s not on the museum floor!

Admission Rates:

  • For guided and self-guided tours of the museum, we offer a $1 per person discount for groups larger than 10! Sorry, no discounts on behind-the-scenes tours. 
  • General Admission: $10
  • Senior Admission: $8
  • Behind the scenes tour: $15

Questions about field trips or group visits to the museum? Contact Jaynie Adams at 520-617-1154 or at [email protected].

Please fill out the online form to schedule a tour: 

School Groups – Guided/Self-Guided Tour
Other Groups (Non-school groups) – Guided/Self-Guided Tour

Esperanza Means Hope Resources Center
We provide a variety of materials for personal, classroom, and educational purposes.
visit: Esperanza Means Hope.

Dreaming of the perfect wedding venue?

Need an auditorium for your theater troupe performance?

Looking for meeting and event spaces for your next corporate event?

You’ll find what you are looking for at the Arizona History Museum.

Whether you are hosting an intimate birthday celebration, or a 300 person corporate event, we are just the place for you!

The Arizona History Museum offers many unique spaces to host your next event, party, or wedding.

Visit our Meeting and Event Guide for more information.

If you’re interested in renting a space at the Arizona History Museum, please contact Nicola Brownlee, Facility Rental Coordinator at (520) 617-1141 or [email protected].

See the attached packet for more information on the facilities and pricing:
Arizona History Museum Rental Brochure

We invite you to shop in our wonderful museum store where you will find fine Navajo and Zuni jewelry, reproductions of vintage photographs, maps, and greeting cards from our museum’s collections, children’s toys and books, blown glass artworks, and much more!

The Arizona Mercantile is located near the museum entrance to the right. All sales benefit Arizona Historical Society programs. AHS members receive a 10% discount on all merchandise.

Store Hours:
Open during regular museum hours.

Arizona History Museum Gift Shop in Tucson, AZ

Arizona History Museum Gift Shop in Tucson, AZ

Arizona Historical Society