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AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park (Tempe)


AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park
1300 North College Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281

AHS _dusk_jpegCourtyard in spring 2016_3

Welcome to the AZ Heritage Center, home of the Centennial Museum,

Explore Arizona’s history with a tour of our Centennial Museum. Take a trip through time, from western frontier days to war times and the post war building boom. Learn how water makes life possible in the  desert, and discover the beauty and variety of Arizona’s vast natural resources. Marvel at the breathtaking desert vistas as you wander through our outdoor spaces.

Nestled against the base of beautiful Papago Park, the museum features exhibits spanning more than 100 years of Central Arizona history, making it the perfect place to enjoy the best of Arizona’s past and present!


More Than A Museum

In addition to the Centennial Museum, the AZ Heritage Center is a cultural center where visitors can participate in a variety of educational and entertaining programming and events for adults and children. Guided and self-guided tours are available for school children and adult groups, and can be customized to meet your needs.

The AZ Heritage Center is also a beautiful and functional event venue, featuring a charming brick courtyard, majestic sandstone lobby, auditorium, theater, and multiple meeting spaces.

Located at the edge of Papago Park in Tempe, near the Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road, our central location is convenient to the metropolitan Phoenix area.


Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m./Friday & Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Closed on Sunday



The AZ Heritage Center is proud to participate in the 2017 Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live event on Saturday, September 23! In partnership with the Smithsonian magazine, select museums around the country are offering free admission to provide visitors with a free museum experience.



Adults $12.00;  Seniors 65+ $10.00; Ages 7 – 17  $8.00

Children 6 and under – Free;   AHS members, Military and Veterans – Free

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school busTours

Come explore the amazing history of Arizona! We offer school tours Monday-Friday and guided and self-guided tours for groups of 10 or more people Monday-Saturday.

To reserve your tour, please fill out either the School Tour Request Form or the Group Tour Request Form. 



Date Time Description Cost
9/21/17 6:30 p – 7:30 p Diverse Cultures & Communities Talk Free
9/21/17 10:00 a – 1:00 p HL Rosewell Book Binding Tour $25/$30
10/2/17 12:15 p – 1:30 p HL Cowboy Up Talk/Book Sign Free
10/3/17 6:30 p – 8:00 p Dogged Pursuit Talk/Book Sign Free
10/13/17 Museum Hours Footprints on the Desert Exhibit Opens to Public Admission
10/19/17 Museum Hours HL Historymakers Exhibit Opens to the Public Admission
11/1/17 6:30 – 7:30 p Phoenix City Rising Presentation-Phoenix Phabulous Free
 11/15/17 6:00 p – 7:30 p Geology of Central Arizona-Sonoran Silver lecture series $5.00 public $4.00 AHS members and McDowell Sonoran Conservancy staff/stewards
11/18/17 9:00 a – 10:30 a History in the Desert Exhibit Opening Event (Browns’ Ranch Trailhead) Free


September 21
Fall Conversations: Presenting The Valley’s Diverse Cultures and Communities
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Join us for Fall Conversations, in conjunction with our Phoenix Phabulous exhibition. Speakers Frank Barrios and Anel Arriola will share presentations exploring the past, present, and future of our Valley’s diverse cultures. Frank will share photos and stories of community building featured in his book, “Mexicans in Phoenix.” Arriola, a local Phoenix artist, will discuss the connection between art, culture and possibilities for community collaboration and dialogue.
Event is free and open to the public, and includes access to the Phoenix Phabulous Exhibition. Admission to other museum exhibits is not included. 
RSVP required. Call 480-929-0292 or email azheritagecenter@azhs.gov.


September 21
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Historical League Tour: Roswell Book Binding, Phoenix, with lunch at St. Mary’s Food Bank Community Kitchen
Roswell Bookbinding has been offering the widest array of bindery services in the Western United States since 1960.  From one to one million, miniature to oversized, they can accommodate all run lengths and configurations. Roswell Bookbinding is binding the Historical League’s upcoming publication Tastes & Treasures Volume II.  St. Marys Food Bank is celebrating 50 years and will be one of the featured historic places in the new cookbook.
Cost is $25 for members. $30 for non-members. Contact Historical League volunteer Ruth McLeod for more tour information.


October 2
12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Historical League hosts, Cowboy Up! Life Lessons from Lazy B, presentation and book signing by author H. Alan Day
Rancher, cowboy and entrepreneur, H. Alan Day, entertains with stories of his 35 years ranching and “cowboying” on his 200,000 acre Lazy B cattle ranch in southeastern Arizona. You won’t want to miss this funny and reflective talk. Advance copies of the book will be available for purchase and autographing…perfect timing for holiday giving. 
Cowboy Up! Life Lessons from Lazy B was written by H. Alan Day with Lynn Wiese Sneyd. 
Presentation and book signing is free and open to the public. Admission to the museum exhibits is not included.




October 3

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Dogged Pursuit: Tracking the Life of Enrique Garfias, the First City Marshal of Phoenix, presentation and book signing by author Jeffrey Richardson
Jeffrey Richardson will share the results of his 12 years researching the life of Enrique Garfias, first city marshal of Phoenix. Through several key episodes in Garfias’ life, he will offer the case for Garfias as an important figure in the history of the Southwest, not only for his exploits, but for the way he carried out his duties, drawing praise from both the Anglo and Hispanic communities. Richardson will also touch on his research methodology and some of the challenges in assembling a biography on a previously little-known figure. Books will be available for purchase and autographing following the presentation.
Event is free and open to the public. Admission to the museum exhibits is not included.


 November 1
Fall Conversations: Presenting Phoenix City Rising
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Local artist Damian Jim will introduce his brightly colored mural depicting the ancient Hohokam canal system, still delivering water to Valley residents today. He’ll share insights about how he conceptualized the striking design for this larger-than-life mural. This art talk will be followed by water resource expert Sandy Fabritz-Whitney, who will connect Phoenix growth, placemaking and economic development in the context of the Valley’s future water supply, the key to life in our desert. 

Fabritz-Whitney served as Arizona’s director of Water Resources and currently is directs water strategy for Freeport McMoRan.

Event is free and open to the public, and includes access to the Phoenix Phabulous Exhibition. Admission to other museum exhibits is not included. 
RSVP required. Call 480-929-0292 or email azheritagecenter@azhs.gov.

November 15
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
The Geology of Central Arizona…Dynamic Forces at Work , a presentation by John (“Jack”) McEnroe 
Mountains as high as the Himalayas; valleys more than a mile deep; active volcanoes and lava flows; seas; super-continents – these are not the geologic features you see today, but they did exist in the Valley of the Sun and the surrounding area thousands of years ago. Join us as Jack leads us into a discovery of dynamic forces at work – what came before and where we are today.
Presented as part of our Sonoran Silver series in partnership with the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.
Cost: $5.00 General Public, $4.00 AHS Members/McDowell Sonoran Conservancy staff/stewards
Cost of lecture can be applied to museum admission for access to museum exhibits.
RSVP: azheritagecenter@azhs.gov or 480-929-0292


Open to the Public on October 13

Footprints on the Desert: Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona
We are pleased to announce the opening of our newest exhibit on October 13, Footprints on the Desert. The exhibit features notable Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings in Arizona. Wright’s architectural designs reveal painstaking attention to detail, with an intense dedication to sustainability and beauty. The exhibit includes images and artifacts from Wright’s Taliesin West, David Wright House and Harold C. Price House, as well as other Wright designs – including some that were never built. The exhibit will include supplemental information available digitally on mobile devices via the free Cuseum application. Footprints on the Desert: Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona was organized by the AZ Heritage Center in cooperation with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and in conjunction with the year of Wright’s 150th birthday.


Open to the Public October 20

Historical League HistorymakersTM 2017 Exhibit 

The Historical League is proud to present the 2017 Historymakers Lobby Exhibit. The exhibit showcases memorabilia, photographs, and video clips  from the 2017 Historymakers: Ed Beauvais, America West founder; Wink Crigler, X Diamond Ranch owner; The Honorable Jon Kyl; The Papp Family, supporters of educational institutions, culture and the arts; Robert Spetzler, M.D., renowned neurosurgeon and retired Director of Barrow Neurological Institute; and Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr., Pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix since 1997.  


Sonoran Silver Exhibit open Now through May 31, 2018

This exhibit celebrates the 25th anniversary of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. The McDowell Mountain Preserve in Scottsdale is the largest, and one of the most beautiful, urban preserves in the U.S. Learn the history of the Preserve and the Conservancy, and what the Conservancy does to preserve and share this incredible natural legacy.



Save the Date: November 18 at 9:00 a.m.

 Grand Opening: History in the Desert Exhibit                                              Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, McDowell Sonoran Preserve                                        30301 Alma School Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

History in the Desert is an interpretive display featuring an overview of the Arizona Historical Society and AZ Heritage Center, highlighting some Arizona history through artifacts and objects. This exhibit will be on display in the trailhead center from November 18, 2017 through May 30, 2018.

The AZ Heritage Center has been featured by Tempe Tourism! Check it out:

Wedding and Corporate Event Facility Rentals


The AZ Heritage Center features a wide array of venue options for your next corporate event, wedding, or gala celebration.



♦ Romantic Brick Courtyard with water feature

♦ Majestic Sandstone Lobby with grand staircase

♦ Bright and airy Courtyard Pavilion

♦ Steele Auditorium (272 capacity)

♦ Brown Theater (50 capacity)

♦ Scenic Desert Terrace

♦ Expansive Orientation Point

View our online brochure.

Contact our Event Planning Department at 480-387-5367, email DMcKinion@azhs.gov or visit us on WeddingWire.com.