2020 - 2021 Exhibitions
All the Single Ladies: Women Pioneers of the American West
Tales of the long-ago Wild West portrayed women in one of two stereotypical ways: the seductress or the wholesome farmer’s wife. In reality, the experiences of early pioneer women were far more diverse. While it is true, most women who moved west were married and traveling with husbands and families, many maverick single women sought another path to pursue their dreams of freedom from strict Victorian norms, adventure, and opportunity.
All the Single Ladies: Women Pioneers of the American West tells select stories from these trailblazing women’s lives. Meet unmarried 19th century women homesteaders, Harvey girls, boarding house owners, teachers, madams, prostitutes, and entertainers. Learn how these women brought a richness and vivacity to the fabric of life in an emerging American West.
Exhibition made possible by a grant from AZ Humanities
The Dirty Thirties: New Deal Photography Frames the Migrants' Stories
"The Dirty Thirties" explores the journeys of rural migrants fleeing the Dust Bowl, drought, and economic difficulties during the 1930s. In desperate search for jobs and new opportunities, thousands of former farm owners and ex-tenant farmers left their homes in the Southern Plains states and set off to the cotton fields of Arizona and the “Promised Land” of California, where supposedly work could be found. This exhibit explores why the migrants left, their journey westward, their experiences living and working in Arizona, and what life could be like for those who traveled onto California. Told primarily through the compelling documentary photography taken under the auspices of the New Deal programs of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, some images from this exhibit will likely stay with you throughout your lifetime.
Dorothea Lange. Migratory Cotton Picker, Eloy, Arizona, 1940. ca 1960. Gelatin Silver Print. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Buffalo Soldiers: The 10th Cavalry Regiment Told Through the Art of David Laughlin (1928 - 2020)
Buffalo Soldiers: The 10th Cavalry Regiment Told Through the Art of David Laughlin paints a picture of daily life for African American soldiers serving in the post-Civil War American West. Through his paintings, drawings, and block prints, artist David Laughlin depicts the 10th Cavalry Regiment’s daily activities while stationed in AZ from 1885 - 1896. With the US Government pushing for western expansion, the Buffalo Soldiers’ tasks ranged from building outposts and laying telegraph lines to protecting settlers, stagecoaches and railroad crews and fighting Native Americans, outlaws and rustlers. Their days were full and difficult, however their military service offered them a chance to obtain better rights as citizens in the recently liberated United States.
For this exhibition we are partnering with GSAAC ; a local Buffalo Soldiers Educational group that is working to erect a Buffalo Soldiers Memorial Plaza here in Tucson. Help support GSAAC's memorial project mission by donating.
Ongoing & Permanent Exhibits
Celebrity Landscapes in Cinema
Desert Hollywood explores the “celebrity careers” of prominent Southwestern landscapes in film and television. More than mere backdrops, these landscapes including Monument Valley, the Imperial Sand Dunes, Lake Powell, the Moab area and the Sonoran Desert surrounding Tucson have become familiar, even iconic, through their supporting roles in film. Featuring video clips, stills, and behind-the-scenes photography. This exhibition explores how these landscapes have starred in a variety of genres from westerns to sci-fi, whether it's Monument Valley portraying central Arizona in John’s Ford’s 1939 Stagecoach or Yuma’s Imperial Sand Dunes portraying desert planet Tatooine in Star Wars IV: A New Hope.
Sacred Walls: Native American Muralism
The Museum celebrates the unique artistry of Native American muralists, via a large mural on the outside wall of the Museum and several floor-to-ceiling murals within the Museum by noted Native American artists including Dose, Dwayne Manuel, Jaque Fragua, & Anitra "Yukue" Molina.
The Weavings of the Diné
A premier collection of pre-1940’s Navajo textiles, including Chief’s blankets, Eye Dazzlers, Saddle blankets, Germantown weavings, Yei weavings and child's blankets.
The Dawn of American Landscape
Masterpieces by the preeminent Nineteenth century landscape painters. Works by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and other master artists. This collection captures the transcendental spirit of these artists' search and expression of the sublime.
Arizona Women Uncovered
Who would have guessed! Arizona Women Uncovered offers a unique insight into the lives of early pioneer women through the evolution of their undergarments.
Arizona Women Uncovered was curated in collaboration with Claudine Villardito of Black Cat Vintage.
Cartography of the Americas
Learn about North American history through an impressive collection of vintage maps from the great mapmakers of the new world.
Immerse yourself in the beautiful arts of the Hopi people.
Teachings of the Spider Woman
Textiles tell stories, and this exhibit helps us to find them in each amazing, uniquely crafted work.
Weavings of The Dance:
Early Yei Textiles
This collection of amazing weavings tells the story of Navajo healing ceremonies.