Pioneer Museum

AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park (Tempe)

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

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Welcome to the AZ Heritage Center, home of the Centennial Museum, where we honor the state’s rich heritage, celebrate the present, and together, create a vibrant and sustainable future. Our museum features exhibits spanning more than 100 years of Central Arizona history, and introduces visitors to the life and work of Arizonans, past and present.

Current exhibits include:

  • Natives and Newcomers – A glimpse into early settlement life

  • Roosevelt Dam – Construction and impact on Arizona

  • Arizona in the War – WI & WWII, POW camps, Japanese Internment Camp

  • Desert Cities – Post-war urban, suburban and economic development

  • Pop Culture & Entertainment – Wallace & Ladmo, Bob’s Big Boy, Fox Theatre

  • Natural History – Rocks, minerals, fossils, a meteor and moon rock

  • Copper Mining – Scale model of an Arizona copper mine

  • Routes – A kid-friendly, hands-on look at the history of transportation in Arizona

  • SRP: The Power of Water – How water powers and feeds the desert, sponsored by SRP.

  • Historymakers™ – Meet the movers and shakers who have shaped Arizona’s history. Sponsored by the Historical League, an AZ Heritage Center support group.


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 and theater, and multiple meeting spaces.

Located at the edge of Papago Park in Tempe, our central location is convenient to the metropolitan Phoenix area.


Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m./Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Admission: Adults $10.00;  Seniors 65+ $8.00; Ages 7 – 17  $6.00

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



For groups of 10 or more, we offer guided and self-guided tours for school children and adults. Have a special request? Let us know – we can create a special program for you. 

For more information call 480-387-5365, or fill out a Tour Inquiry form.


Now Open: Phoenix Lights!

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What were those strange lights in the night skies over Phoenix on March 13, 1997? From Henderson, Nevada, across the Phoenix valley, to Tucson and beyond, numerous people reported seeing an enormous object with strange lights. See the flight path, listen to first hand accounts and 911 recordings from that night, and make your own decision…… extraterrestrial spacecraft? military flares? or……??


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


Coming Events! 

 Candles, Muckers & TNT, Early Mining in Arizona

A presentation by Bill J. Harrison, “Arizona’s Road Scholar”
Date Correction: Tuesday, September 20th from 1:30-2:30 pm in the Brown Theater


Early mining in Arizona was a dangerous occupation.

With only a candle to guide their way, miners worked in a black, creaking, stinking, hot, humid, and dangerous world filled with cave-ins, poisonous gas, explosions, and fire.

 This remarkable talk is filled with the dynamic stories of early miners: their challenges, superstitions, and courage. You’ll hear the shocking tale of greed and stupidity that lead to the death of seven miners. You’ll marvel at the story of an entire mining town that rid itself of troublemakers by “taking out the trash”.  You’ll witness the most miraculous rescue in Arizona history.

$5.00 admission, $4.00 for AHS Members
Book your seats in advance by calling 480.929.0292


Wedding and Corporate Event Facility Rentals

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

Choose from:

♦ 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 or visit us on