The University of Arizona

About Arizona State Museum

Photo slideshow: ASM Celebrates 120 Years!

Did You Know?Arizona State Museum's north building

The people of the state of Arizona have many reasons to be proud of their State Museum!

Arizona State Museum…

  • is the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest, established in 1893 by the Arizona Territorial Legislature.
  • is the state's official permitting agency for archaeological and paleontological projects across the state.
  • is the state’s official archaeological repository and is the largest/busiest non-federal intake facility in the country.
  • administers the Arizona Antiquities Act; assists state and federal agencies in enforcing related legislation and repatriation.
  • is the University of Arizona’s anthropology museum and is one of the oldest research units on the campus.
  • hosts researchers from around the world who use the collections to expand the frontiers of knowledge in archaeology, ethnology, and ethnohistory.
  • accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
  • is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

CollectionsAn assortment of objects from ASM's collections

Arizona State Museum’s collections and experts are among the world’s most significant resources for the study of southwestern cultures.

Arizona State Museum…

  • holds a comprehensive collection of American Indian basketry, totaling 25,000+ woven pieces of rare and outstanding baskets, sandals, cradle boards, mats, cordage, and preserved fibers representing every indigenous basket-making culture in North America.
  • holds the world’s largest whole-vessel collection of Southwest Indian pottery (20,000+ specimens).
  • cares for more than 3 million objects, including more than 300,000 catalogued archaeological artifacts, 40,000 ethnographic artifacts, 500,000 photographic negatives and original prints, 90,000 volumes of rare and hard-to-find titles, 6,000 maps, 1,500 linear feet of archival documents, and more than 1,000 sound recordings.
  • curates the artifacts used by pioneering archaeologists to define the Mogollon and Hohokam cultures, as well as the Salado phenomenon.
  • holds one of the nation’s top Navajo textile collections that includes some of the earliest and most rare examples of this type of weaving, including one of the largest Navajo rugs ever woven.
  • holds one of the largest collections of Casas Grandes pottery in any museum outside of Mexico.
  • holds one of the largest collections of Seri material in the U.S.
  • has more than 500 outstanding examples of Mexican folk masks from the renowned Cordry Collection.
  • holds the archives, papers and original field notes and drawings of SW anthropology giants such as Emil Haury, Grenville Goodwin, Edward Spicer, Clara Lee Tanner, and others.
  • has more than 4,000 comparative vertebrate skeletons in the Stanley J. Olsen Laboratory of Zooarchaeology.

More About Collections at ASM

ResearchResearch at Chevelon near Winslow, AZ

Arizona State Museum was built on a cornerstone of research more than a century ago. ASM scholars are leaders in the field of Southwest anthropology. Research at ASM cuts across numerous fields and involves many disciplines.

Arizona State Museum…

  • conducts research on late prehispanic migrations, the emergence of the Salado phenomenon, and connections between the ancient peoples of Arizona and present-day tribal communities.
  • conducts ongoing excavations to understand Hohokam life.
  • continues more than 25 years of research on ancestral Hopi villages near Winslow, Arizona.
  • collaborates in research, study, and teaching with the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico.
  • conducts research on the intriguing “trincheras” or terraced hilltop sites found in Arizona and Mexico.
  • conducts research on the living legacies of Spanish and Mexican water rights in the Southwest.
  • prepares and publishes broad interpretive histories that situate the United States and Mexico in continental and global contexts.
  • has compiled thousands of computerized records and documentary materials on the colonial history of the greater Southwest and northern Mexico.
  • has researched and edited a documentary history of the Hopi during the Spanish and Mexican periods (1540–1848).
  • is researching and editing a documentary history of the O’odham people.
  • studies the history of environmental change in the borderland regions of Arizona and New Mexico.
  • conducts research on prehistoric human biological and cultural adaptations to desert ecosystems.
  • conducts research on the prehistoric and historic use of animals by southwestern peoples and is creating an interactive mapping database of Arizona archaeological faunal remains to benefit wildlife management practices.

More About Research at ASM

Public ProgramsKids trying mano and metates at Arizona State Museum

Arizona State Museum presents a full calendar of exciting programs and events that celebrate the enduring cultures of the region. ASM reaches out to students of all ages and all interest levels.

Arizona State Museum…

  • offers a full calendar of events and programs for learners of all ages and interest levels.
  • hosts more than 200 Native artists from around the region and visitors from around the world at the annual Southwest Indian Art Fair.
  • shares its expertise through lectures, workshops, summer camps, and travel tours.
  • interprets museum research through content-rich exhibits and fun hands-on activities.
  • has a nationally acclaimed, education-based museum store—Native Goods—that supports the region’s Native artists by selling only authentic, handmade arts and crafts.
  • trains community volunteers to educate visitors through guided tours.
  • has a volunteer program that matches individual interests and skills with available positions within the museum for more than 7,000 hours of annual service.
  • offers a membership program with a host of annual benefits.
  • facilitates an internship program that places university students in positions throughout the museum and at the National Park Service’s Western Archeological Conservation Center.
  • opens dialogues through its blog.
  • presents audio and video podcasts on a variety of subjects.
  • can be followed on FacebookOpens in a new window, TwitterOpens in a new window, PinterestOpens in a new window, and YouTubeOpens in a new window.

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