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Best Local History & Culture in Phoenix

By: Cityseeker
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Phoenix Police Museum

This interesting museum opened in 1993 and offers a colorful history of the Phoenix Police Department. Learn more about various men and women who have kept law and order in the city. Located in downtown Phoenix, exhibits include recreations of old jail cells from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as a Model-T police car from 1919. The kids can play 'cops' and try on old police uniforms.

Phoenix, AZ, United States
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The Gallery @ City Hall

Celebrating the cultural achievements of Phoenix and to celebrate the state's centennial birthday, the city commissioned this gallery in 2012. Presiding in City Hall, the gallery spans over 100 years of history with gorgeous pieces of art and unique exhibits. The collection holds over 1,000 pieces from rotating exhibits that delve into the history, culture and creation of Phoenix. From urban planning exhibits to photography of the area throughout the past century, exhibits are educational and fascinating to see in person.

Phoenix, AZ, United States
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The Rosson House

The Rosson House is a beautiful structure built in keeping with the Queen Anne style of the Victorian Era. Constructed in 1895, it has been restored to all its former glory and today serves as a museum. Visitors get a glimpse into the lives of late 19th-century Phoenix denizens through the preserved articles and housewares on display. The house is located in the quaint Heritage Square and is one of eight restored residences here. Guided tours around the house are available and it is open almost 365 days a year. Check website for more details and information.

Phoenix, AZ, United States
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Arizona Jewish Historical Society

Founded in 1981, the Arizona Jewish Historical Society protects and promotes the history of the Jewish people in Arizona. Run by the society, the Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center houses a museum gallery that displays the contributions of the Jewish people to various industries as well as agriculture and commerce. The museum houses an extensive archive including voice and video recordings of the locals. The Society also conducts regular programs and discussions that encourage dialog between generations and rental spaces available for corporate and social functions.

Phoenix, AZ, United States
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Arizona Capitol Museum

The elegant Arizona State Capitol rests amid the bustle of downtown Phoenix. A stirring escape into the history of the 48th state of the United States, the picture-perfect capitol building showcases Classic Revival architectural style, topped with a gleaming copper dome. Enlisted on the National Registrar of Historic Sites, the capitol building is replete with opulent interiors. Arizona State Capitol is now synonymous with the Arizona Capitol Museum, which traces Arizona's roots as a territory and its transition to statehood. The museum houses a treasure trove of collections, exhibits, artifacts and events which lend deep insights into Arizona's rich and nuanced history and culture. The marvelous capitol is fronted by a garden housing diverse botanic wonders, guarded by the national flag which flutters in all its American glory.

Phoenix, AZ, United States
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Heard Museum

Founded in the 1920s by Dwight B. and Marie Bartlett Heard, this museum houses tributes to Native American art and culture. At the Heard Museum, permanent displays are showcased along with traveling exhibits displaying the rich heritage of the people. The center was renovated to include an educational facility called the Ullman Learning Center. Free tours are offered daily and there's plenty of parking space. See website for more details.

Phoenix, AZ, United States
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Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park

The Pueblo Grande Ruin and Irrigation Sites, are outdoor archaeological open spaces, housing the museum. Exhibited at Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park are the ruins of a prehistoric settlement of people who lived, farmed and prospered for centuries in this region. Known as the Hohokam, they built their first irrigation system more than 1,000 years ago. They were the first people in the area to develop this kind of canal system. Phoenix's lone National Historic Landmark, sections include an authentic ball court, irrigation canals and a football field-sized platform mound. The site was declared as a National Historic Landmark in the year 1964.

Phoenix, AZ, United States
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Arizona Military Museum

Officially operated by the Arizona National Guard Historical Society, the museum exhibits preserved items and artifacts on the history of Arizona's military. The facility is housed in a historical adobe building, which was built in 1936 and used as a shop by German prisoners during World War II. On display are vehicles, uniforms, mementos and artillery items spanning time periods from the Spanish conquerors to the more current Desert Storm. Included are exhibits from the Korean conflict, Vietnam and the Spanish-American Wars. Interesting ones include a diorama depicting an underground escape by German prisoners of war and an army helicopter used during the Vietnam War. Admission is free but donations are encouraged.

Phoenix, AZ, United States
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Deer Valley Rock Art Center

Visit the traditional home of the ancient Hohokam and Patayan peoples who left traces of petroglyphs (rock art) in the Hedgpeth Hills. View more than 1500 of these on a quarter-mile trail. Different interpretations of the designs can be studied at the indoor exhibits. Remember to carry a cap, sunblock, binoculars and plenty of water during your visit. It would be advisable to carry along a notepad to jot down points. Children get an opportunity to create their own petroglyphs out of clay.

Phoenix, AZ, United States
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