Heard Museum

Phoenix, AZ



Heard Museum Doubles Venue Space


Artist's Rendering of Museum Expansion Space

The Heard Museum, acclaimed as one of the nation's finest museums of Native American culture, artifacts and fine art, announces the opening of its major expansion. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the Heard is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1929 by Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard to house their personal collection of primarily Native American artifacts. Today, the museum is a recognized national leader in building partnerships with Native American communities to preserve and sustain their cultural heritage.

"Our new expansion doubles the size of the museum and allows us to greatly expand our programming, " says Martin Sullivan, director of the Heard Museum. "We can now give visitors twice the experience they are coming to see. This project has been the dream of so many people. It's incredibly exciting to see it become a reality. People from around the world visit the Heard Museum to experience the art and cultures of the Southwest. "

The $18.1 million expansion adds 50,000 square feet of new exhibit, performance and visitor services space to the museum grounds as well as 18,000 square feet of newly renovated space in the pre-existing facility. In total, the project brings to central Phoenix 130,000 square feet of space for new exhibits, performances, meetings, educational programming, museum shop and bookstore, and collections storage plus an expanded library and archives. The project was designed by Langdon Wilson Architecture Planning with Phoenix architect John Douglas. Kitchell Contractors, also of Phoenix, did the construction.

The expansion adds three major new exhibit galleries to the museum, bringing to 10 the number of galleries. New spaces include an Introductory Gallery, which provides an overview of the museum and illustrates the relationship of Native people to their lands; the spacious Crossroads Gallery, which showcases contemporary works by cutting-edge Native artists; and a smaller, changing gallery, the Lovena Ohl Exhibit Gallery, named for the former director of the Heard Museum Shop and Bookstore.

The comprehensive design reorients the Heard Museum entrance to Central Avenue to provide better visibility and access to the campus and adds a new, greatly enlarged Museum Shop and Bookstore near the entry. For the first time, the Heard now has a 400-seat auditorium for music and dance performances by Native American artists, and an Education Pavilion with classrooms for school tours, lectures and workshops. The Library and Archives are also more than double in size.

A new exhibit of contemporary artwork will open in conjunction with the Grand Opening. The exhibition, Art in 2 Worlds. The Native American Fine Art Invitational 1983-1997, is a retrospective that celebrates Native contemporary artists who have exhibited in the Heard Museum's seven Invitational fine arts exhibits.

Three other exhibitions will also be showcased during the opening festivities. Blue Gem, White Metal: Carvings and Jewelry from the C.G. Wallace Collection continues at the museum through September 1999. Wallace operated trading posts in Zuni, New Mexico, and Sanders, Arizona, from 1918 to the 1950s. Also through September 1999, Cradles, Corn and Lizards is an interactive experience for children and adults that explores the cultures, landscape and wildlife of Arizona.

HORSE, illustrating the importance of horses in Native American cultures, is up through January 2000.The Public Grand Opening of the expanded museum takes place Sunday, February 28, 1999. It is sponsored by American Express. The public day features free admission, hands-on craft activities, artist demonstrations, music and dance performances and traditional Native American foods. Grand Opening festivities continue through Saturday and Sunday March 6 and 7, 1999, with the Heard Museum's signature event, the 41st Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market. This is one of the country's premier Native American art markets, attracting more than 400 of the nation' s top Native American artists.

Scene from Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market. Pictured is Victor Beck, a noted Navajo jeweler, showing a visitor a silver necklace.

This construction project is the fourth, and most extensive, expansion in the museum's nearly 70-year history. Although it is ambitious in scale and scope, it remains true to the spirit of the Heard Museum's landmark Spanish Colonial style. The expansive new addition features 52 graceful arches, repeating the signature architectural element that is so closely associated with the Heard Museum.

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Copyright 2012 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.