A Closer Look at the History and Mission of the Heard Museum

Heard museum in Phoenix, AZ

The Heard Museum was founded in 1929 by Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard, who were passionate philanthropists and art collectors. The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve and interpret the arts and cultures of Native Americans, with a focus on Arizona and the Southwest. Over the last 90 years, this mission has evolved from a small museum showcasing European decorative arts and Native American baskets, to a nationally-recognized institution devoted to presenting the art, cultures and histories of indigenous people.

Today, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ holds important collections in anthropology, archaeology and fine art; hosts educational programs; organizes traveling exhibitions; and supports research into native culture and history. Its permanent exhibits range from traditional fine art works and artifacts, to interactive exhibits that explore the history of Native American tribes. In addition, its rotating exhibitions feature the work of contemporary Native American artists from across the U.S., presenting visitors with a unique opportunity to learn more about modern indigenous cultures.


The Heard Museum also offers classes and workshops for children and adults in all around Phoenix, as well as a multitude of special events throughout the year. Its world-renowned annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market is held each March and features the work of hundreds of Native American artists from around the country. With its mission to serve as “a bridge between cultures” – both past and present – the Heard Museum serves as an important hub of cultural education, understanding and appreciation.

The Heard Museum is a testament to the vision of its founders – Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard – who believed in preserving Native American culture and art for generations to come. Their dedication continues to serve as an inspiration today, with the museum being recognized as one of the most important historical and educational institutions of its kind. It is a place for visitors to explore the many diverse cultures, stories and traditions that make up the fabric of American history. By preserving and celebrating Native American art, culture and history, the Heard Museum helps ensure an essential part of our shared heritage remains accessible to future generations.

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