Los Angeles and Phoenix aren’t the only cities with news intheir Southwest Indian museums (see page 78). Sunset polled nearly 40museums that devote significant display space to Southwest Indiansubjects and found the following 15 with new displays and otherdevelopments. Some of these showplaces take a general look, but many are tightlyfocused on a subject or region. Any one offers entree into Indianstudies or even nearby Indian country. All have gift shops and manyhave excellent research facilities. ARIZONA Flagstaff.
Museum of Northern Arizona. Created 57 years ago tohalt the shipping of artifacts by boxcar loads from Southwestexcavations to institutions in the East, this museum–with ananthropology collection of more than a million objects–is still theprimary repository of Indian finds from digs on nearby national park andU.S. Forest Service land.
Newest permanent exhibit, “Native Peoples of the ColoradoPlateau,” examines cultures of Indians living in northern Arizonaand the Four Corners region. Don’t miss the full-size reproductionof a Hopi kiva, with original murals from the prehistoric site ofAwatovi. Special exhibits change every two or three months. Through March17 you’ll see “Clay Lockett: Southwesterner,” with 100 ofthe many Indian crafts collected over a lifetime (1906 to 1984) byLockett, for years owner of the museum’s gift shop. Location: 3 miles north of town on U.S.
180. Open 9 to 5 daily;$2 adults, $1 students 5 to 21; (602) 774-5211. The museum has anactive education program including archeological classes for adults andchildren, tours, and lectures.
Parker. Colorado River Indian Tribes Museum. Late January wastarget opening time for an expanded museum devoted to the four tribessharing 278,000 acres: the Mohave and Chemehuevi tribes who historicallyhave lived here, plus Navajo and Hopis, relocated here in the 1930s. A highlight is the world’s best Chemehuevi basket collection,with split willow and devil’s claw baskets woven during the pastcentury.
Mary Lou Brown demonstrates basket weaving most days. The museum is 2 miles south of Parker on Mohave Road at AgencyRoad. Open 8 to 5 weekdays, 10 to 3 Saturdays; free. Call (602)669-9211 to confirm reopening. Phoenix.
Pueblo Grande Museum. Evidence that ancestors of theHohokam lived in the Salt River Valley as long ago as 300 B.C., muchearlier than previously documented, is on view in “Under theBlade.” It shows discoveries from two recent Phoenix digs and addsto the museum’s collection of 20,000 Hohokam items from landadjoining the museum. This prehistoric farming city, with as many as 10,000 people within1 square mile, had sophisticated canal systems, many along routes stillused today.
The digs can be explored outside the museum. Location: 4619 E. Washington Street. Open Mondays throughSaturdays 9 to 4:45, Sundays 1 to 4:45; 50 cents for ages 6 and older;(602) 275-3452.
Ask about workshops this month in beadwork and Indiandyes. Near Sacaton. Gila River Arts and Crafts Center. The Pima andMaricopa tribes recently opened Heritage Park, an outdoor re-creation ofApache, Hohokam, Maricopa, Papago, and Pima villages. Location: 30 miles south of Phoenix, just west of I-10 (exit 175).
Open 9 to 5 daily; closed holidays; $1, 50 cents ages 6 to 17; (602)562-3411. No fee to see exhibit inside the arts and crafts center;restaurant serves Indian specialties. Tucson. Museum of Arizona. To celebrate the University ofArizona’s centennial, this campus opens “Curators’Choice, Treasures from the Arizona State Museum” on February 10.
Of the items chosen from the 100,000-piece archives, many will come fromthe museum’s special strength: the world’s largest collectionof Hohokam artifacts and a notable collection from Western Apachetribes. Also see “Shelter of Caves.” Installed last year, thislife-size diorama of a pueblo cave dwelling shows how archeologistsexcavate caves, what they find, and how they interpret that material. Across the street in the Anthropology Building, “Images Acrossthe Years” documents the museum’s 92-year history withphotographs and text.
Both shows will remain up through September 14. On University Boulevard just inside the U of A’s Park Avenueentrance, the museum and photo gallery are open 9 to 5 Mondays throughSaturdays, 2 to 5 Sundays; free; (602) 621-6302. Window Rock. Navajo Tribal Museum. totally renovated in 1981, theNavajos’ stylish small museum is an excellent introduction toNavajo country, present-day and prehistoric. In telling the story, itmakes good use of photographs and text as well as Navajo crafts andhistoric items. Each month one gallery showcases a contemporary Navajoartist’s work.
In town, on State Highway 264, it is in the Navajo Arts and CraftsBuilding. Open 9 to 4:45 weekdays; closed national and tribal holidays;free; (602) 871-6673. CALIFORNIA Los Angeles. Southwest Museum at ARCO Plaza.
This downtown branchof the Highland Park museum (page 78) opened last November in the formerARCO Center for Visual Arts. As a stage for eight-week exhibitions, the3,100-square-foot space lets the museum share more of its collectionswith the public. Its shows frequently focus on southwest cultures and history: fromMarch 20 through May 18, you’ll see 30 Navajo weavings made from1850 through 1985. The ARCO Plaza branch is on B level of ARCO Tower North, 515 S.
Flower Street. Open 9:30 to 5:30 weekdays, 11 to 5:30 Saturdays; free;(213) 623-4111. San Diego. Museum of Man. When San Diego’s Panama-CaliforniaExposition opened in Balboa Park in 1915, the anthropology exhibitincluded hundreds of Pueblo ceramics, many dating to the 1800s. Nowthrough April 7, about 100 are on view for the first time since then. Along with 150 other pieces, they trace the evolution of Puebloceramics from those made for the user to those made for sale totourists.
You’ll see large storage containers, bowls, plates, andwater jars. Styles range from the unpainted micaceous clay ware of Taosto decoratively painted ceramics of the southern pueblos. The permanent Hopi exhibit was remodeled a few years ago. Besidesa diorama of life on a mesa, you’ll see exhibits of bells, rattles,basketry, toys and games, pottery, kachinas, textiles, jewelry, and afull-size reproduction of a Hopi house. Location: the landmark California Tower building, west end of ElPrado in Balboa Park. Open 10 to 4:30 daily. Admission: $2; 50 centsSan Diego County students; 25 cents ages 6 through 16; first Tuesday ofeach month free; (619) 239-2001. Santa Ana.
Bowers Museum. In 1982, a renovated gallery of NativeAmerican artifacts reopened. Backdropped by a mural of Anasazi cliffdwellings in southwestern Colorado, the exhibits include 50 prehistoricAnasazi ceramic ladles from the largest collection in the West.
Location: 2002 N. Main Street. Open 10 to 5 Tuesdays throughFridays, noon to 5 weekends.
Admission by donation; (714) 972-1900. Forinformation on workshops (beadwork, kachina carving, and so on), callPaul Apodaca at (714) 639-9206. Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Exhibitsinstalled in Fleischmann Audiorium in 1982 and 1983 are devoted toSouthwest artifacts.
In one case, a loom, carding comb, and other toolssurround a Navajo-dressed mannequin adorned in silver and turquoise beltand jewelry. Papago and Pima burden carriers and other baskets fillanother. Pueblo objects include a kachina doll, gourd rattles, andpottery from the Santa Clara, Zuni, and Acoma pueblos. Location: 2559 Puesta del Sol Road. Open 9 to 5 Mondays throughSaturdays, 10 to 5 Sundays; donation; (805) 682-4711. NEW MEXICO Albuquerque.
Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. At the University ofNew Mexico, the Maxwell has some 60,000 catalogued items from nativepeoples worldwide, most from the Southwest. Opening February 12 is “Basketry, Process and Identity,”a show of 225 Southwest, Northwest, California, and Great Basin basketsfrom 1880 to the present.
Photographs and interviews with weaversaccompany the display. Also up this month is “Shared Images,”showing how Spanish weavers and carvers and Rio Grande Pueblo pottersinfluenced each other’s designs. A permanent exhibit covers”People in the Southwest.” Location: north of Grand Avenue on University Boulevard. Open 9 to4 weekdays, 10 to 4 Saturdays, 1 to 4 Sundays; free; (505) 277-4404.Ask about frequent workshops and basketry demonstrations.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Visitor Center Museum.Most space is devoted to life at Chaco from about A.D. 500 until thesecities were abandoned around 1200. A pottery retrospective includesspectacular effigy jars and tall cylindrical jars in the typical Chacoanblack-on-white designs.
You’ll also see turquoise and shelljewelry, a painted wooden headdress. Displays explain space-age archeology methods used here in the1970s, and map the Chacoan influence, locating prehistoric highwaysleading from this land. Location: 70 miles south of Farmington, 170 miles northwest ofAlbuquerque. Open 8 to 5 daily; free. Call the park for road and routeinformation; (505) 786-5384.
Pecos. Pecos National Monument. About 15,000 artifacts excavatedfrom this former Pueblo Indian trading center by A.
V. Kidder and storedfor 60 years with the Peabody Foundation in Massachusetts have comehome. Last August the museum opened in the E.
E. Fogelson VisitorCenter, a gift from neighbors Colonel E.E.
Fogelson and his wife, GreerGarson. On display are 150 items, mostly bowls, dating from A.D. 800through its heyday as a Southwest trading center (1300 to 1500) andending with the pueblo abandonment in 1838. Unlike anything made in theRio Grande Valley Today, they include Pecos’ distinctive shinyglaze in browns, black, rosy reds, and yellows. About 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe (and 70 miles northeast ofAlbuquerque), the monument is 6 miles off I-25. Open 8 to 5 daily inwinter; (505) 757-6032. Santa Fe.
The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. TheWheelwright was founded in 1937 to preserve religious objects andknowledge from Hosteen Klah, renowned Navajo medicine man who feared theold tribal ways would be lost forever. In 1975 these materials, held intrust, were given to the Navajo Community College in Tsaile, Arizona. The museum has broadened its focus to native people of theAmericas, but it’s still known for its unparalleled collection ofNavajo sand paintings, tapestries of sand-painting designs created byKlah and his family, plus the finest Navajo cultural research collectionin the world. February 24 through May 12, you’ll see “Iikaah: ThePaintings that Heal,” including some Klah tapestries plussand-painting drawings by 56 Navajo artists on brown paper, most neverpreviously displayed. With just enough alterations to take the”power” out of them, the drawings are almost identical to sandpaintings done during old Navajo ceremonies. Location: 704 Camino Lejo.
Winter hours are 10 to 4:30 Tuesdaysthrough Saturdays, 1 to 4:45 Sundays; free; (505) 982-4636. Ask about sand-painting demonstrations and other special events. Taos.
Millicent Rogers Museum. Last July a new wing opened,nearly doubling the space in this museum devoted to Southwest Indian andHispanic cultures. Proudest new exhibit is “The Maria Poveka FamilyCollection,” some 75 pots acquired from the legendary MariaMartinez (Poveka is her Tewa name). With her husband Julian in the1920s, she rediscovered how to create shiny black pottery; they inventedthe technique of painting on black mat designs.
In seven decades, theirfamily has become an innovative, prolific pottery-making dynasty. Other new displays highlight the Millicent Rogers collection ofsome 4,500 objects, about half collected by the heiress in the’40s. One exhibit is on Southwest Indian jewelry. Also see19th-century Navajo and Hispanic textiles; “Pottery of theSouthwest,” from prehistoric times to the present; and “Oo oonah,” 75 paintings and drawings by Taos Indian children. Location: 4 miles north of Taos Plaza; ask locally for directions.
Winter hours are 10 to 4 Wednesdays through Sundays; $3 adults, $1children and seniors; (505) 758-2462. Ask about workshops, field trips.