The University of Arizona

Group Tours at Arizona State Museum


Docent Jane Swicegood in the Paths of Life exhibit

Docent-led Tours & Activities - Free with Paid Admission

Docents are friendly, specially-trained museum volunteers who answer questions and lead tours at Arizona State Museum.

Tours are free with paid admission.

Tour Schedule

Special Request tours are scheduled in advance online, and allow you to request and reserve the tour of your choice at a specific start time. Special Request tours are available for groups of four or more, and required for groups of 10 or more. See below for tour options and instructions.

Drop-in tours are the same as “Special Request” tours, but are provided on a first-come / first-served basis during regular docent shifts, Monday–Saturday afternoons October 1 through April 30. Drop-in tours start at 1 p.m. If the 1 p.m tours are full and there is enough demand, docents will be available to repeat tours or answer questions until 3 p.m. Ask at the front desk for drop-in tour availability when you visit ASM!

Tour Options

1. Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest Exhibit Tours
See, hear, and touch highlights of the Yaqui, O’odham, Apache, Navajo, and Hopi sections of the ground-breaking Paths of Life exhibition with knowledgeable guides. A full tour covers five culture groups and lasts 60 minutes, but can be customized to include two or three culture groups and shortened to 30 or 45 minutes upon request. While docent tours are geared toward adults, all ages are welcome.

2. Museum Orientation Tour Get a taste and see the highlights of the current exhibits at Arizona State Museum! General orientation and overview tours last about 30 minutes. While docent tours are geared toward adults, all ages are welcome.

For More Information or to Schedule a Tour:
Use the online Special Request Tour Form to schedule a tour, or email Mackenzie Massman for more information. A minimum two-week advance notice is required to process Special Request tours.


Hands-on Discovery Carts
ASM docents set up discovery carts for visitors to learn hands-on about Southwest Native pottery, basketry, and other traditional arts and crafts. Discovery carts are offered occasionally by “docent choice” Monday–Saturday afternoons between 1 and 3, October 1–April 30, and during special museum events. Check at the front desk for more information.

All docent-led tours and activities are subject to change according to docent availability.


Curator-guided Tours

Arizona State Museum offers curator-led, adult group tours during regular business hours Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. by appointment. Advance notice is necessary. Scheduling is dependent upon availability of curators. Minimum 6 people in your group. $20.00 per person (includes discounted museum admission):

We are pleased to offer your group any combination of the following: Reposotiry Curator Arthur Vokes tours members of the public through the archaeological repository

  • The Pottery Project: Curators discuss more than 200 choice specimens from ASM’s premier and nationally recognized collection (at 20,000+ whole vessels, it is the largest collection of its kind in the world!). The vessels trace 2,000 years of pottery making traditions in the Southwest. 30+ minutes .
    More about The Pottery Project
  • Conservation Laboratory: Meet ASM’s world-renowned conservators and tour their state-of-the-art laboratory. See the preservation work they conduct on ASM’s vast and varied collections as well as those from other institutions. 30 minutes.
  • Archaeology Laboratory: Learn about laboratory research procedure—the equally important counterpart to field excavation. You will see computer models and reconstructions and learn how artifacts are catalogued and used as research tools. 30 minutes.
  • Zooarchaeology Laboratory: Zooarchaeology is the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. Learn why archaeologists are interested in the relationships between humans and animals throughout history. ASM’s Stanley J. Olsen Laboratory of Zooarchaeology houses two modern comparative vertebrate collections with a total of more than 3,500 fish, bird, reptile, amphibian, and mammal specimens.
  • Collections Overview: Learn about the museum’s collecting philosophy and its practices in care, storage, and use. 30 minutes.
  • Library: ASM's library, established in 1957, is a non-circulating research Mecca specializing in the archaeology, ethnology, and material culture of the American Southwest and northern Mexico. Nestled in magnificent architectural surroundings, this collection is regarded worldwide as the premier resource for the study of Southwest anthropology. 20 minutes.

To schedule a curator-led group tour, contact Darlene Lizarraga by email, or telephone 520-626-8381. Minimum 6 people in your group. Payment ($20 per person) must be made in advance. Phone with a credit card handy or send a check payable to “University of Arizona / ASM.” No portion of your payment is tax deductible.

Darlene Lizarraga
Marketing Office
Arizona State Museum
PO Box 210026
Tucson, AZ 85721-0026


Rafting Down the San Juan River

Travel Tours

For Arizona State Museum's travel tours (learning expeditions) to various destinations throughout the Southwest and Mexico, led by museum experts, see our Travel Tours page. Come travel with us!

Photos by ASM Staff