Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

June 14, 2017

Courtesy of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Museum Features Rare Historic Artifacts, Works by Renowned Artists

The Peak’s Summer Fun Contest Prizes Include SideKick Passes to Museum

Scottsdale Museum of the West

Located near Old Town in Scottsdale’s arts district, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is a premier cultural destination in a locale that has been called “The West’s Most Western Town.”  The Peak thanks the museum for its generous support of its Summer Fun Photography Contest and the Summer Fun Write Stuff Contest. Prizes for both contests include complimentary admission for two adults.  You will find links to information about the contests towards the bottom of this article.

Open since January 15, 2015, the $11.4 million museum features regularly changing exhibitions of Western art and artifacts on loan from some of the world’s foremost collectors and institutions. In addition, the museum immerses its guests in the essence of the American West through entertaining events and informative programs. Interactive games and activities, as well as multi-media kiosks strategically located throughout the galleries, provide insightful stories about the art and objects on exhibit.

Scottsdale’s Museum of the West was named the “Best Western Museum” (2016 and 2017) and the “Best Western Art Museum” (2016) in the nation by the editors of True West magazine. In November 2015, the museum became a Smithsonian Affiliate organization. A partnership with Arizona State University will provide additional resources, enabling the museum to become a communication and learning center for studies of the West.

Artworks and Exhibitions

The museum’s entry walkway features a monumental installation piece, “Diamond Bloom” by contemporary artist Curtis Pittman, acquired through the Scottsdale Public Art Program. Inside the museum, the Scottsdale Charros Gateway Foyer features artist Maynard Dixon’s dramatic 1935 mural “Kit Carson with Mountain Men.”

Exhibitions currently on view include:

"Grand Canyon Grandeur" by Yoshida

“Grand Canyon Grandeur” by Yoshida

Grand Canyon Grandeur (June 6, 2017 through December 31, 2017)
On loan from The A.P. Hays Collection

This exhibition includes 100 striking and historically important portrayals of one of the world’s most revered natural wonders. Oil paintings, watercolors and prints dating from the 1850s to the 1950s capture the ecological, sociological and visual diversity of the Grand Canyon, while showcasing a range of artistic styles such as naturalism, impressionism and abstraction. Themes presented include the artist and the viewer, Native Americans at the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, the American presence at the canyon, exploration, the Colorado Plateau, and the canyon rim. Thomas Moran, Eanger Irving Couse, Gustave Baumann and Gunnar Widforss are among the celebrated artists included in this exhibition. (Located in the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust Fine Arts Gallery)


"Graceful Spirit" by John Coleman.

“Graceful Spirit” by John Coleman.

Of Spirit and Flame: John Coleman Bronzes from the Collection of
Frankie and Howard Alper (Opened June 6, 2017; Ongoing)

This selection of more than 20 bronze sculptures by award-winning sculptor and painter John Coleman celebrates one of the nation’s most important artists of the American West, as well as the arts patronage of collectors Frankie and Howard Alper. Coleman’s stories about Native American culture are conveyed throughout the exhibition, as his artistic process is illuminated. (Located in the Alper-Coleman Gallery)

Courage and Crossroads: A Visual Journey through the Early American West
(Ongoing Exhibition)

On loan from the Peterson Family Collection
The story of America’s West in the 19th and early 20th centuries comes to life through more than 100 paintings and sculptures by artists ranging from Thomas Moran and Alfred Jacob Miller to Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. The exhibit also includes vintage photographs by Edward S. Curtis, historic Native American objects, objects associated with Kit Carson, and the presentation style pipe tomahawk of Captain Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. (Located in the Zaplin Lampert Gallery within the second-floor Peterson Family Wing)


Confluence of Cultures in the American West: A Selection of Contemporary Artists from the Peterson Collection (Ongoing Exhibition)
On loan from the Peterson Family Collection

Martin Grelle, Paul Calle, Lindsay Scott, Howard Terpning, Z.S. Liang and Alfredo Rodriguez are among the celebrated contemporary Western American artists featured in this exhibition. Themes include mountain men, Native Americans, cavalry and settlers, buffalo, and the friendship and tensions between mountain men and Native Americans. (Located in the Bruner-Messinger Gallery within the second-floor Peterson Family Wing)


The Abe Hays Family Spirit of the West Collection (Ongoing Exhibition)
Permanent Collection

A one-of-a-kind showcase of 1,400 saddles, spurs and other quintessentially Western objects featuring eight themes: working cowboys; Wild West shows; Western gear made in prisons; rodeos and fairs; Western movies and parades; outlaws and lawmen; Western saloons; and illustrations. (Located in the Abe Hays Family Gallery)

Marjorie Thomas: Arizona Art Pioneer (December 20, 2016 through January 7, 2018)

More than 40 artworks by trailblazer, artist and early Scottsdale resident Marjorie Thomas, whose life and career link the chronicle of Arizona’s art and history. Her drawings and paintings portray desert landscapes, Native peoples and ranch scenes, often including imagery of the donkeys, horses and sheep that played an integral role in the region’s early history. (Located in the Derek Earle Emergence Gallery)

The Scottsdale Craftsmen: A 70-Year Legacy (December 20, 2016 through January 7, 2018)

A celebration of the diverse artists and craftspeople at the historic Arizona Craftsmen Center, and the center’s significant role in the emergence of postwar Scottsdale’s cultural identity. (Located in the Ellie and Mike Ziegler Heritage Hall Gallery)

Heritage Hall (Ongoing Exhibition)
Guests can explore inspiring images and biographies of people, past and present, who have made contributions to the American West.

"Life and Adventures of Buffalo Bill," Rennard Strickland Collection

“Life and Adventures of Buffalo Bill,” Rennard Strickland Collection

The Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History
(June 20, 2017 through September 30, 2018)
Permanent Collection

This inaugural exhibition features Western film posters, lobby cards, and associated ephemera and memorabilia dating from the 1800s to the present, curated from the world’s largest—and most historically important and inclusive—collection of Western film graphic arts. The first of many planned exhibitions featuring posters and objects from the collection, it celebrates the American West, cowboys, Native Americans, the history of the movie industry, and the power of the West’s cultural legacies. It also pays tribute to Rennard Strickland (Osage/Cherokee), whose collection of more than 5,000 items was acquired in late 2016 in an education and community partnership between Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West and the Arizona State University Foundation for A New American University. (To be installed in the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation Great Hall)

Buildings and Campus

Owned by the City of Scottsdale and operated by Scottsdale Museum of the West (a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization), Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is a stunning 43,000-square-foot, two-story main building designed by Phoenix-based architectural firm Studio Ma. An adjacent building designed by noted architect Vito Acconci and located on the historic Loloma Transit Station site preserves elements of its classic design. The building has been repurposed as administrative offices and the Ridenour Learning Center.

The museum campus was designed by landscape architect Colwell Shelor of Phoenix and features low-water use desert plantings. Both indoor and outdoor spaces are certified as LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold, conserving precious natural resources while raising public awareness of their vital importance to the Western region.

Scottsdale’s Museum of the West also features the beautiful outdoor Christine and Ted Mollring Sculpture Courtyard, with a changing selection of sculptures. The 135-seat Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Theater/Auditorium hosts performances, special programs, events, and the 10-minute film “Spirit Is,” highlighting the story of the American West. The Sue and Robert Karatz Museum Store offers a tempting selection of Western-themed art and gifts.

Museum Hours

Tues., Wed., Fri., Sat.: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thursday: 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m., November-April
9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., May-October
Sunday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed Monday

Admission Prices

Adults: $13
Seniors (65+) and Active Military: $11
Students (Full-time with ID) and Children (6-17 years): $8
Members and Children 5 and under: FREE


3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is located near Old Town in downtown Scottsdale’s arts district, one block west of Scottsdale Road at First Street. The museum is readily accessible from throughout the metro Phoenix area, and is within easy walking distance of numerous art galleries, retail stores and restaurants.


More Information

Phone: 480-686-9539
Website: www.scottsdalemuseumwest.org  Website


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Author: The Peak

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