If you haven’t been to a museum in a while, May might be a good time to get reacquainted. International Museum Day is May 18, and many of Central Arizona’s more than 50 museums are celebrating with deals throughout the month.
If you haven’t been to a museum in a while, May might be a good time to get reacquainted.
International Museum Day is May 18, and many of Central Arizona’s more than 50 museums are celebrating with deals throughout the month.
“People tend to think of the big-name museums in Phoenix or Scottsdale, but there are also many smaller, less mainstream museums,” says Mitch Menchaca, president of the Central Arizona Museum Association, a group of museums in Maricopa, Pinal, Gila and Yavapai counties. The group posts Museum Month promotions on its Web site throughout the month of May.
“There are a lot of undiscovered museums with inexpensive admissions, where you can spend the day in the air conditioning with good amenities like inexpensive places to eat or parks to have a family picnic nearby. There’s a great museum community in Arizona,” says Menchaca.
In addition to large, popular attractions such as Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Art Museum and Desert Botanical Garden, the Valley is home to lesser-known museums like the African American Multicultural Museum, The Bead Museum, Barbara Anderson Girl Scout Museum, Chandler Museum, The Medical Museum and the Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing Aircraft Museum.
With many offering free or cut-rate admission sometime this month, it’s a good excuse to live like a tourist without ever leaving the Valley.
Arizona Museum of Natural History
What: Spend an evening among dinosaurs, Mars exploration equipment and Mesoamerican idols, watching the 2006 Ben Stiller film “Night at the Museum.” Discounted tickets to the screening include popcorn, and historical costumes are welcome.
When: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 8
Where: 53 Macdonald St., Mesa
Cost: Discounted admission is $7 for adults and $4 for everyone age 17 and younger.
Information: (480) 644-2230
Phoenix Museum of History
What: Follow Phoenix’s metamorphosis from dusty desert town to modern metropolis via interactive and educational exhibits at this museum offering half off admission and 10 percent off merchandise in its museum store.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 9. Refreshments will be served at 11:30 a.m.
Where: 105 N. Fifth St., Phoenix
Cost: Half-off rates are $1.50-$3; kids 6 and younger are free.
Information: (602) 253-2734 or www.pmoh.org
Pueblo Grande Museum
What: See the ruins of a prehistoric Hohokam platform mound, ball court and canal system for free at this popular museum. There’s also an outdoor interpretive trail with replicated housing and agricultural systems, three indoor galleries and a theater.
When: Get in free 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. May 16
Where: 4619 E. Washington St., Phoenix
Information: (602) 495-0901 or www.pueblogrande.com
Arizona State University
What: Check out more than 30 museums, galleries and collections for free. There will also be gallery talks and tours.
When: Free admission is good 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 13
Where: ASU’s main campus in downtown Tempe
Information: Visit www.asu.edu/museums for a printable map and schedule.
Heard Museum and Phoenix Art Museum
What: One is a world-renowned storehouse of Native American culture and art; the other is a contemporary showplace of fine art from the corners of the Earth. Both offer complimentary admission when you show your paid receipt from the other museum.
When: Two-museums-for-the-price-of-one offer is good 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 16 and 17.
Where: The Heard Museum is located at 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Phoenix Art Museum is at 1625 N. Central Ave.
Desert Caballeros Western Museum
What: See Arizona’s most Western museum free. Exhibits include cowboy memorabilia, Western-themed art, a replica of a 1915 Arizona main street, dioramas of Western scenes and Native American artifacts.
When: Free admission is good 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 17.
Where: 21 N. Frontier St., Wickenburg, a one-hour drive from downtown Phoenix
Information: (928) 684-2272 or www.westernmuseum.org
Deer Valley Rock Art Center
What: One admission admits two at this 47-acre nature preserve and museum that house the largest concentration of Native American rock art in the Valley. The interpretive trail takes visitors back 5,000 years to when ancient people marked boulders with thousands of petroglyphs.
When: Two-for-one admission is good 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 19.
Where: 3711 W. Deer Valley Road, Phoenix
Information: (623) 582-8007 or www.asu.edu/clas/shesc/dvrac