About Us


Welcome! I am proud to share the museum with you.

First and foremost, Arizona State Museum is your state museum. I want ASM to become as relevant to you and to the larger community as it is and has been to researchers, academics, students, professional archaeologists, tribal governments, and state and federal agencies. 

ASM is the preeminent institution engaged in the anthropology and history of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Our researchers are leaders in all areas of Southwestern anthropology, sought after the world over for their expertise. Our unparalleled collections are accessed continuously through tours, research, teaching, and exhibits. This is where groundbreaking research is conducted and where visitors have authentic, life-enriching encounters with the region's enduring cultures through our public programs.

Indeed, the people of Arizona have many reasons to be proud of the Arizona State Museum and you have many reasons to visit with us again and again.

Welcome and enjoy!

Director Patrick D. Lyons, Ph.D., RPA 

Arizona State Museum in Brief

Arizona State Museum (ASM) benefits the University of Arizona and the people of Arizona through teaching, research, public outreach, and professional service devoted to the preservation of Arizona’s rich archaeological and historical resources. ASM faculty teach in six academic departments on campus, reaching undergraduates and graduates both formally and informally in all aspects of Arizona archaeology, anthropology, preservation, and museology. Classes rely heavily on ASM’s rich resources — collections, exhibits, and research labs.

Additionally, as a mandated state agency, ASM closely works with the State Historic Preservation Office, State Lands Department, American Indian governments, and other agencies to ensure best practices in the protection and stewardship of the state's cultural resources.

Established by the territorial legislature in 1893, ASM is the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the region, focusing on the indigenous cultures of Arizona, the US Southwest, and northern Mexico.

ASM has the following state-mandated functions:

Archaeological Research: ASM is the permitting authority for archaeological research on state lands in Arizona and the official repository for archaeological materials excavated from these lands. ASM administers the state burial-protection statutes and is home to the state's official inventory of archaeological and historical sites. As the manager of Arizona's archaeological collections, ASM's repository is the largest and busiest state-run facility in the country.

 

Archaeological Conservation: ASM’s laboratory research sets worldwide standards in museum conservation and our collections research at ASM continues to inform the world about the ancient, historic, and present-day cultures of the region. The museum’s award-winning and nationally recognized exhibits and public programs celebrate the vibrant and diverse cultures of the region with international audiences.

 

Native Relations: A national model in working with tribal leadership, ASM has repatriated thousands of human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. Caring for millions of artifacts in perpetuity, ASM is home to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections of American Indian pottery and basketry.