Phoenix, AZ

Top 4 Museums to Visit in Phoenix, Arizona

Haris Mohammad

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Phoenix, Arizona.Joe Cook/Unsplash

Phoenix, Arizona’s capital, is the largest city — both by area and population — in the state and among the largest in the United States. It’s also among the most popular tourist destinations in the country, thanks to its beautiful desert landscape, great food, vibrant culture, and a long list of tourist attractions.

In this article, we will look at some of the best museums to visit in this lovely city.

Musical Instrument Museum

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Cymbals exhibit, Musical Instrument Museum.Instagram/mimphx

Established in 2010, the Musical Instrument Museum is the largest museum of its kind in the world. It boasts a collection of more than 15,000 music-related objects from around the world.

What makes this museum truly amazing is that visitors can watch and listen to many, or most, of the instruments on display. There are display monitors near exhibits, and they provide you with headphones.

They can even play some of the instruments in the museum’s Experience Gallery.

Another highlight of the museum is its Artist Gallery, with videos, photographs, instruments, outfits, and other memorabilia related to renowned personalities in the music industry, like Elvis Presley, John Lennon, John Denver, Pablo Casals, and Taylor Swift.

To top it all, the museum has its MIM Music Theatre, a comfortable, acoustically superb 300-seat theater that holds regular concerts. You can visit their website for more details on the dates and artists.

If you are a music lover, you can easily spend an entire day here. But there’s enough for even those who are not too much into music. Make sure you reserve at least 3 hours for this place.

Phoenix Art Museum

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Phoenix Art MuseumInstagram/phxart

Established in 1959, the Phoenix Art Museum is located on North Central Avenue. It is the largest art museum in the Southwestern United States.

The museum’s permanent collection boasts over 20,000 objects, spanning many cultures and periods. The collection includes works of art — representing many centuries from the past — from Asia, Europe, America, and Latin America. It includes modern and contemporary art, photography, and fashion design.

One highlight of the museum is The Thorne Miniature Rooms that represent a world in minuscule. “Created at an exacting scale of one inch to one foot, several of the rooms replicate actual rooms found in the United States and Europe, while the remainder were inspired by the architecture and interior design of their respective periods and countries.”

Yayoi Kusama’s You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies is another exhibit that stands out.

Besides the permanent galleries, the museum also has numerous temporary exhibitions and public programs year-round.

Heard Museum

The Heard Museum was established in 1929 and is today one of the best museums for anyone interested in the history, art, and culture of Indian Americans, the indigenous people of the United States.

The museum boasts a collection of nearly 40,000 items, including jewelry, dolls, pottery, and rugs.

The items are showcased in a dozen exhibition galleries, outdoor sculpture gardens, a contemporary art gallery.

One highlight of the museum is the exhibition on the 19th-century boarding school experiences of Native Americans. It is focused on the experiences of thousands of children who were separated from their families, sometimes forcibly, and sent to government boarding schools so they could be “civilized.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if you find the experience strong and moving. Or even disturbing.

Altogether there are a dozen “exhibition galleries, free guided tours, outdoor sculpture gardens, a renowned café, a contemporary art gallery, and trading-post style shopping,” and more.

The museum also hosts various festivals and programs where you can meet artists and learn more about them. The famous annual Guild Indian Fair & Market hosted by the museum draws over 600 artists and 10,000 visitors.

One of the best places to visit in Phoenix, without a doubt.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, this is among the very best children’s museums in America.

The museum has hundreds of exhibits and activities — “thoughtfully designed to be unique, to arouse curiosity, and to engage the minds, muscles, and imaginations” of their visitors.

Among the most popular areas is the Noodle Forest, which consists of a thicket of towering Styrofoam tubes and allows both parents and children to participate.

The Market: Role Play Paradise and The Climber are also loved by the visitors.

If you have kids (ten or below), the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is a must-visit. The kids will love it.

So these were the top four museums to visit in Phoenix. I must add that even as we get out of the shackles of the pandemic, some of the places might not be fully open or may have some restrictions. So please make sure you have researched before visiting.

Also, please follow the guideline. Have fun but stay safe.

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