The University of Arizona
Mexican folk maskPueblo ladderArchival materials storage boxesAnimal skull


Due to budget cuts and lack of staffing:

  • The Archives will be closed July 1–December 31, 2016.
  • The Library will be closed  July 4–8 and December 23 2016–January 2, 2017
  • Reduced public hours for the ASM Library:
    July 11–August 19, 2016                  Open on Wednesday, 1–4pm
    August 22–December 22, 2016      Open Tuesday–Thursday, 1–4pm
  • As of July 1, 2015, all ASM Collections offices, including the Library and Archives, are closed to researchers and other visitors on Mondays and Fridays. Exhibit galleries and the Museum store remain open.

Collecting for more than a century, Arizona State Museum (ASM) holds vast and varied collections focused primarily on the peoples of the American Southwest and northern Mexico. Many aspects of our collections are unparalleled by any other comparable museum in the world and rank among the world's most significant resources for the study of the peoples and cultures of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

In addition to being highlighted in our own exhibitions and research, ASM collections are accessed by scholars and students around the world. Museums throughout the country borrow our materials for their own exhibitions, and book publishers use our images for national and international publications.

Notable Facts About ASM’s Collections

ASM holds a comprehensive collection of Southwest Indian basketry, totalling about 25,000+ woven pieces of rare and outstanding baskets, sandals, cradle boards, mats, cordage, and preserved fibers.

At 20,000+ whole vessels, ASM's collection of Southwest Indian pottery is the world's largest and most comprehensively documented.

ASM is the nation's largest and busiest state-run archaeological repository. Materials excavated on Arizona's state lands are curated here for federal agengies and tribal governments.

Among the millions of objects in its care, ASM holds c. 300,000 archaeological specimens, notably Hohokam, Mogollon, and ancestral Pueblo; and c. 30,000+ cubic feet of comparative sherds, chipped and ground stone, and environmental samples.

ASM holds c. 40,000 ethnographic specimens, including:

  • One of the largest collections of Seri materials
  • An extensive Navajo textile collection that includes one of the largest rugs ever woven
  • A large and extremely well documented collection of Western Apache material
  • Over 3,000 ethnographic items from northwest Mexico, including pottery, basketry, and textiles
  • More than 600 outstanding examples of Mexican folk masks, and 400 folk costumes

ASM has a 90,000 volume library specializing in southwestern anthropology and comparative material from around the world. The library's catalog is searchable online.

ASM's archives holds more than 1,500 linear feet of field notes, diaries, project records, research files, and manuscripts from numerous prominent archaeologists, ethnologists, and institutions. Finding aids to selected collections are available for searching through the Arizona Archives Online.

ASM holds c. 500,000 photographic prints, negatives, and transparencies, plus digital images.

ASM has a comprehensive comparative collection of southwestern vertebrates. You may browse the collection online by common names, scientific names or taxonomic heirarchy.

Documentary Relations of the Southwest (DRSW) contains thousands of documentary records on the colonial history of northern Mexico and southwestern United States. Online finding aids allow searching of several archival collections and a database of persons who appear in the historical record of northern New Spain.

AZSITE contains a computerized inventory of archaeological and historical sites within the state of Arizona. Records are available to qualified archaeologists and land managers at the museum or online.

In addition, ASM holds more than 8,000 objects from other areas of the world have been selectively collected as comparative materials and for use by other University of Arizona departments. Examples of these collections include Japanese and Chinese costumes; west African sculpture and masks; Philippine pottery, basketry and weapons; oil lamps and cuneiform tablets from the Middle East; prehistoric Andean textiles; and Old World stone tools.

Note Regarding Appraisals

Ethical guidelines prevent us from providing appraisals. For businesses that can assist you with appraisals you may consult our List of Resources (PDF * ). The list does not indicate any preference or recommendation by the museum. It contains mainly businesses in the Tucson, AZ area. For other areas you may refer to the American Society of AppraisersOpens in a new window to locate an appraiser or check with a local gallery that deals with American Indian art.

* PDF requires Adobe Acrobat ReaderOpens in a new window.

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