Category Archives: Museums

Arizona Military Museum


AZ Military MuseumPop quiz, hot shot: What’s the only major Civil War battle ever to be fought in Arizona? If you’re drawing a blank on the answer (it was the Battle of Picacho Peak, by the way), consider spending an afternoon boning up on your history at the Arizona Military Museum.
Inside this 1930s-era adobe building located on an Arizona National Guard base are displays and dioramas exhaustively chronicling our state’s vast military past, including every single skirmish ever fought around these parts. Depictions of historic moments from local military lore are in abundance, ranging from the U.S. Cavalry’s battles with Geronimo and General John J. Pershing’s pursuit of Pancho Villa to the World War II-era caper when 25 captured German soldiers tunneled out of a Papago Park POW camp. And if any kith and kin happen to be veterans, be sure to invite ’em to tag along, as a significant number of exhibits are designed to honor Arizonans who served in every major armed conflict of the last 150 years — from the Spanish-American War right up to the current combat taking place in the Middle East. An endless cache of military supplies and retired vehicles also occupies the place, such as a meticulously restored Huey UH-1C gunship from the Vietnam War. And though freedom ain’t free, admission to the museum certainly is, as there’s never a charge to enter.

Arizona Military Museum

5636 E. McDowell Road

Phoenix, AZ 85008


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800-pound paper airplane soars over Arizona desert

800-pound paper airplane soars over Arizona desert.

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Wells Fargo History Museum

See an authentic 19th-century stagecoach, an interactive telegraph and a collection of N.C. Wyeth’s Western artwork at the Wells Fargo History Museum. Learn about Wells Fargo’s history in the Southwest. Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, except bank holidays. 145 W. Adams St., Phoenix. Free. 602-378-1852,

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A Visit to the Arizona Capitol Museum


Arizona Capitol Museum – Overview

The Rotunda at the Arizona Capitol Museum in PhoenixThe Rotunda at the Arizona Capitol Museum

© 2011 Judy Hedding

The first territorial capital of Arizona was Fort Whipple, an army post near Prescott. The capital was later moved to Prescott. In 1867 the territorial capital was moved to Tucson. In 1877, the capital moved back to Prescott. Phoenix became Arizona’s permanent capital city in 1889 and, in that year, the construction of the Phoenix state capitol building began. Completed in 1900, the cost of the building was about $136,000. The Arizona State Capitol Building was dedicated on February 25, 1901. It was designated a museum in 1977.

The Arizona State Capitol Museum was the actual state capitol building when Arizona became the 48th state of the United State in 19121. The Governor’s Office was located here until the mid-70s. Although the rooms of the Arizona State Capitol Museum are no longer used for state business, the Governor’s Office, other departments and the Senate and House of Representatives are in adjacent buildings.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places2.

Tip: When you visit the museum, you’ll note that it isn’t especially fancy or hi-tech. This building is deliberately very simlar to the original, so don’t expect fancy lighting or big screen videos. The goal here is authenticity

Arizona Capitol Museum – Who Should Go
Arizona Capitol Museum in PhoenixStudents take a guided tour of the Arizona State Capitol Museum.

© 2011 Judy Hedding

The museum is open to the public, but you can be certain that it is highly utilized by local schools for educational purposes.

School Groups and Guided Tours

Reservations are required for all student groups and other larger guided tours. The guided tours focus on the north wing of the 2nd and 3rd floors (offices, House Chamber) and last for about 45 minutes followed by a visit to one of the current Legislative chambers for about half an hour.

Small Groups and Individuals

You are encouraged to visit the Arizona State Capitol Museum during regular hours and tour the exhibits on your own. Stop at the information desk off the main rotunda when entering the building and pick up a flyer with a museum map. Volunteers are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to interpret the exhibits and answer questions for visitors. From 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm the north wing of the 2nd and 3rd floors is set aside for guided tours. If you would rather visit when the museum has fewer large groups, the afternoon is your best bet.

Of Interest to Educators

If you can’t get your students out on a field trip to the Arizona Capitol Museum, check online for available traveling exhibits1about Arizona and its history.Factoid: The motto Ditat Deus on the Great Seal of the State of Arizona means God Enriches.

Arizona Capitol Museum – What You’ll See
Arizona Capitol Museum in PhoenixThe original House Chamber at the Arizona Capitol

© 2011 Judy Hedding

The Arizona Capitol Museum has exhibits on four floors. I suggest that you take the elevator to the top and work your way down! On the 4th floor you can look down into the original House Chamber from the gallery. On the 3rd Floor you’ll learn about territorial Arizona, how a bill becomes a law and you’ll get to know the people of Arizona. This is the level where the Chamber is located. On the second floor of the museum you’ll get a glimpse into the offices, including the Governor’s office, Secretary of State and Mining Inspector. Is Governor Hunt in today? I think he is! On this level you’ll find artwork from the Arizona Capitol Museum collection. Back to the main floor. In addition to the State Seal on the rotunda floor, you’ll see items salvaged from the USS Arizona after the Pearl Harbor attack and learn about its history, see an exhibit about Arizona’s state symbols1, and see a fascinating exhibit about the Merci Train (Gratitude Train).

Did you know that each of the 48 states and Washington D.C. received a rail car full of gifts from France after WWII? You can see a display of the items that were in Arizona’s boxcar at the Merci train exhibit. The actual box car is located at McCormick Stillman Railroad Park2 in Scottsdale.

Tip: On your way to the Museum Shop stop and compare the mosaic of the Seal of Arizona in the rotunda floor to the Seal of Arizona by the front door. What’s missing on the seal in the floor? If you can’t find it, ask a volunteer!

Location, Hours, Admission
Arizona Capitol Museum in PhoenixArizona Capitol Museum

© 2011 Judy Hedding

The Arizona Capitol Museum is located in downtown Phoenix, at the same location as the current state capitol offices and legislature. Here is a map with directions and parking information for the Arizona State Capitol.1

Arizona Capitol Museum Address:
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Arizona Capitol Museum Phone:

Arizona Capitol Museum Hours:
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. It is closed on state holidays2.

Arizona Capitol Museum Admission:
There is no charge to visit the museum.

Museum Rules

  • No food or drink is allowed. If you bring food items with you, you may leave them at the information desk and enjoy them in the 1st Floor lounge at the end of your visit.
  • Photography is permitted.

Museum Store
The store hours are from 9:30 to 4 p.m. This is a great place to buy Arizona-themed gifts and books!

Tip: Your visit to the Arizona State Capitol Museum will probably take between an hour and two hours, with some extra time allotted for shopping at the Museum Store.

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