When you grow up in Arizona, sometimes the coolest things are in your own backyard and you don’t even realize it. Recently I spent an afternoon at the Heard Museum in Central Phoenix and thought to myself, “Why haven’t I been here before?”
Entering the grounds, it’s not hard to be in awe of the buildings marvelous architecture and how they complement one another. Even more breathtaking is how nature is incorporated throughout the grounds, including the various gardens that are part of the exhibits. The Heard Museum is a perfect example of combining the use of art, nature, and the charms of Arizona to create something new and exciting for visitors to see.
Upon entering, I was warmly greeted by two gentlemen who told me about the various tours available and offered to answer any questions. Feeling adventurous, I decided to strike out on my own; hoping to create my own adventure on the museum’s vast grounds. This allowed me to pace myself and explore in more detail what interested me.
My first stop was the “Home: Native People In The Southwest” gallery. I was dazzled by the numerous collections of jewelry, instruments, and clothes. What became one of the most vivid encounters of my experience was a wooden fortress. The moment you set foot inside you could smell the freshly cut trees and take in how this structure was built.
The various patterns of how the logs were intertwined to make the structure stable were beautiful. The pattern left a circular hole in the center of the roof and a wooden bench lined the circular hut.
As I proceeded through the Heard Museum I examined more and more artifacts that I wasn’t certain could be topped. The surprises that awaited me throughout my journey were just as informative as they were beautiful.
What I was most impressed with was how interactive and hands-on the experience can be. There were multiple areas such as the Ullman Learning Center and Freeman Gallery that featured kid-friendly activities. Many of the exhibits had video stops or buttons to push that allowed the visitor to listen to personal stories relevant to the exhibit.
An amazing amenity the museum offers are outside benches that allow you take a break from learning and enjoy nature and architecture as water features run near by.
Of course, you can also take a break by visiting the Coffee Cantina or the Courtyard Café, which serves lunch and desserts that include a unique experience of local and indigenous ingredients in the culinary creations. If your stomach is full but your appetite for knowledge is still not satiated, be sure to check out the Books and More shop.
As I left the Heard Museum and weaved through the pillars making my way gradually to the parking lot, the sculptures became more apparent and I discovered some that I had not previously noticed.
The Heard Museum allows visitors to be just as aware of its exterior, not giving up any secrets as to the memorable experience inside.
Memorable. That’s a word I would use to describe my experience. My only regret is that I didn’t come here sooner.
This was a wonderful experience. Next time I hope to find another adventure awaiting.
For more information on the Heard Museum, visit their website at www.heard.org.