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Support Groups

Volunteer support organizations are the backbone of American history. No other country in the world has as many non-profit history museums as the United States. The Arizona Historical Society is pleased and proud to have so many dedicated groups and individuals working with us all over the state. We appreciate those who give their time and care.

For many of you, Arizona has become your new home, or at least a place you choose to spend part of your year. We welcome you and encourage you to join one of the groups described below. What better way to learn about our history while lending a helping hand?

Historical League – Tempe

The Historical League is a dynamic organization dedicated to preserving Arizona’s rich cultural heritage and promoting continued public awareness of the Arizona Historical Society, the state’s oldest cultural institution. A 501(c)(3) Arizona nonprofit membership corporation, the Historical League mission is to support the Central Division of the Arizona Historical Society – known as the AZ Heritage Center – through fundraising, volunteerism and community involvement. Since its inception in 1979, the Historical League has contributed more than $1.4 million to the AZ Heritage Center.  Also, its members have volunteered more than 108,000 hours to the League and the museum.

Interesting and engaging speakers share information about a variety of Arizona topics at monthly luncheon meetings from September through June. Historical League tours are designed to provide opportunities for members to visit historical buildings or sites, and are both educational and fun.

The Historymakers™ Gala and Recognition Program honors outstanding Arizonans who have distinguished themselves with noted achievements in diverse areas. The program began in 1992 and since then, 75 individuals have been named Historymakers. The Historymakers Gala, a fundraiser unique to the Historical League, supports grants to the AZ Heritage Center, and the Library and Archives Division, also located at the museum facilities. Through the Recognition Program, Historymakers biographies, oral histories, portraits, personal photos and memorabilia are collected. These fascinating life stories are an important part of the museum archives and exhibits in both the lobby and Historymakers Hall. Find Historymakers information online at HistoricalLeague.org.

The next Historymakers™ Gala will be held on March 4, 2017. For more information, contact the Historymakers Gala Chair, Deb Hester, at shortdeb@gmail.com.

The Historical League has published two cookbooks. Currently available for purchase is Tastes & Treasures, A Storytelling Cookbook, which has sold more than 19,000 copies. A new cookbook will be published in the near future. Five newsletters, Old Ned’s News, are published annually with information about the organization and its many activities.

Visit HistoricalLeague.org to learn about current events, read Old Ned’s News, see Historymakers portraits and biographies, and locate social media icons. For additional information, contact Anne Lupica, Historical League President, by email at info@HistoricalLeague.org. The League maintains an office onsite at the AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park, 1300 North College Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281.

Northern Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society – Flagstaff

In 1905 some Flagstaff citizens got together to form the Pioneers Society of Northern Arizona.  Their constitution and by-laws were beautifully hand written in an old fashioned record book and signed by 152 pioneers.  Interest apparently faded after a few years, and in 1916 the local paper reported an attempt to “reorganize” the Society.   In 1942 history-minded citizens got together again to locate the original site of the flag staff  that gave the town its name. Surviving pioneers disagreed, and a compromise flagpole was placed near the railroad underpass, equidistant from three disputed locations.    In 1953 there was a final reorganization.  William H. Switzer, a 1906 charter member, was elected president of the new Northern Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society.  They began collecting documents, photographs, and artifacts.  At first the Society used one of the buildings at the Coconino County Fairgrounds, but moved to the former Coconino County Hospital for the Indigent (the Poor Farm) in 1959.    In the mid 1960s negotiations began for the museum to become a chapter of the Arizona [Pioneers] Historical Society.  The merger was called off at the last minute, and did not take place in December, 1984.   The Northern Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society is now a support organization for the Arizona Historical Society-Northern Division with headquarters in the Pioneer Museum.  The Board of NAPHS conducts fundraising and helps with the purchase of artifacts that would not otherwise be available.

Yuma County Historical Society – Yuma

The Yuma County Historical Society (YCHS) was organized in 1963 as a section of the Yuma Fine Arts Association (YFAA). They shared a building, which was then called the Century House Museum (today the Sanguinetti House Museum). The YFAA was to be responsible for collecting and exhibiting local art and the YCHS for collecting and exhibiting local history. That same year the YCHS became an auxiliary of the Arizona Pioneers Historical Society (now AHS).

In 1968 State funds became available to certified historical societies through the Arizona Historical Society. The Century House was too crowded for both organizations so YCHS and YFAA separated. YCHS remained at the Century House Museum and became a certified historical society with AHS.

In 1971 the Century House Museum became the first branch museum of AHS and in 1972 the buildings were donated to AHS, but the collections remained the property of YCHS. By 1981 the collections were also given to the AHS and the Rio Colorado Chapter of the AHS was formed. The YCHS, though no longer running the museum and library, were still active in the collection and interpretation of local history.

The new by-laws for the organization stated that the purpose and goals of the YCHS shall be to aid and support the programs of the Rio Colorado Chapter of the Arizona Historical Society. How is this accomplished? The YCHS publishes monographs, books, etc. which detail local history. The YCHS helps with fundraisers and special events in order to increase the operating funds for the AHS-Yuma museum and library, and the YCHS operates the Adobe Annex Museum Shop for the AHS-Yuma museum. The proceeds from the museum shop help pay for publications and are distributed to the AHS-Yuma museum to help with operating costs and special projects.

Arizona Pathfinders – Tucson

The Arizona Pathfinders, Inc. is an organization of dedicated volunteers whose purpose is to support the Arizona Historical Society, Southern Division.

The Pathfinders raise money for special programs and projects. They provide volunteer services for the Library and Archives, Education and Museum Departments, and they assist and host openings of events, receptions and social functions at the Museums of the Southern Division in Tucson.

Pathfinders was formed as a non-profit support group in 1977. The name comes from the sobriquet given to General John C. Frémont, who became the 13th Territorial Governor of Arizona. The Sosa-Carrillo-Frémont House, an AHS historic site museum, is associated with Frémont’s time spent in Tucson when he was Territorial Governor.

To learn more about the Pathfinders, including how to join their organization and participate in their events: check out the Pathfinders website; visit their Facebook Page – Arizona Pathfinders; take a look at the Pathfinders Membership Brochure; read their Newsletter, the Pathfinders Press; or send them an email – AZPathfindersAHS@gmail.com.