This nonprofit is the only Museum dedicated to the art, culture, and history of Native Americans in the Southwest. Approximately 1/3 of the Museum is dedicated to the art, culture, and art of the Native Americans of the Southwest. The balance of the Museum's space id dedicated gallery space for the showing of the past and current art of Native Americans throughout the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii. It is the only in the U.S. that dedicates gallery space for these artists. Additionally there is a strong component of the Museum's mission to educate visitors as well as school children who come as part of their school curriculum. The Museum is a very popular field trip for young children as well as primary school up and through college. I personally guide many school groups throughout the year as well as adults both as part of public tours and specific private adult tours that arrange for a guide through the Museum's scheduler. European tourists to the U.S. are frequent and very interested in this part of our history.
I decide to become a guide at the Heard Museum when my husband and I retired to Phoenix. I had visited the Heard on a vacation visit to Phoenix and had found it to be the most interesting Museum in Phoenix. I was also impressed by the knowledge of the docent whose tour we took. The one year class to become a guide was very interesting and challenging. It was an entirely new part of American history than I had previously been exposed to. Needless to say, I learned a lot. However the quality of the guides is high because of the demands of the course and the requirement of continuing education. Every training session for each new exhibit is first rate. There are guides who specialize in teaching other guides to be comfortable with the new material. They also provide learning sessions for those who cannot attend the formal sessions. In addition, all guides are evaluated every two years. I have found that the guides at the Heard do not need to be prompted to learn. They all tend to be life long learners and very committed to being the best they can be. All this adds to the quality of the experience for visitors to the Museum. I especially enjoy touring school tours of every age. For some children it is their first exposure to a Museum. The Heard Museum remains committed to being an educational experience for all children at all levels. It is the only Museum in the country that dedicates gallery space for the art of Native American Contemporary artists. I feel that this is an important function of the museum because the public sees that Native American art and culture is continuing through the work of Native American contemporary artists. That art, at times combines traditional themes in a contemporary and other times stands alone as American Contemporary Art with little or no reference to the artist's genealogy. These exhibits are often the favorites of older children especially those of Native American ancestry. The Museum is also committed to employing Native Americans at every level, and every job description. Native Americans serve on the Board of Directors of the Museum. I is truly a special place and a jewel of Phoenix. It is certainly a special place for me. I feel the Museum and the people involved, both the volunteers and the staff have given me a great experience, and I hope that I will be able to continue to give my time and energy to this institution for many more years.
I have been a volunteer and participant in the wonderful learning opportunities at the Heard Museum for over 10 years. I have learned so much about the history, culture and life of Native Americans of the southwest. I have had opportunities to travel a variety of native communities of the southwest....and learned so much.
In addition to being the finest Native American Art Museum in the country, the Heard Museum has the most dedicated and passionate group of volunteers (over 600) I have encountered in my life of volunteering. As a docent, I have been educated on the history and culture of Native America far beyond what my American History classes taught me in the '50's. The museum is on the itinerary of world travelers and it is my pleasure and privilege as a docent to welcome them to our world-class collection of American Indian art.
My husband and I first visited the Heard Museum about 20 years ago when we resided in northern CA. We were so impressed we joined as members and continue to support the Museum. When we relocated to Arizona we continued to attend the events including the Book Sale in January; Hoop Dancing in February; Indian Market in March; as well as assorted activities and lectures. I joined the Guild in 2004 and now volunteer as often as I can in the Heard Museum North shop. The Heard Museum is truly one of Arizona's treasures and enjoyed by visitors and residents alike all year long!
The Heard was, is, and will always be one of the finest museums in the world. The HOME exhibit is one of their finest...the sheer artistry of the collections on display and information given plus passionate tour guides make it an "absolutely do not miss" experience. The museum setting is peaceful, calming, and beautiful. The addition of the cafe is a plus.
I joined the Heard Guild in order to volunteer after my interest in Native Americans was heightened through a trip with Heard to Navajo and Hopi lands. This was followed by a course at the Heard and I knew I wanted to learn more. By volunteering in their museum shop I began to learn about the arts and crafts of Native Americans. I greatly enjoy working at their marvelous Indian Fair and Market which is an enormous market having 350 juried exhibitors.
I came to the museumn as a visitor, and stayed to become a volunteer becsuse it is a joy to learn about different cultures, histories and arts. Doing this at the Heard Museum in Phoenix was beyond expectations as the museum itself is so beautiful and inspirational; the collections are intriguing, and displayed to tell the story of the Southwest Indian peoples. To further enhance the experience of the visitor the goal of staff and the volunteers, Indian and non Indian alike, is to be to make the visitor welcome to explore and ask questions, and to gain an enriched perspective of history and of peoples.
I wanted to learn about Indians in the Southwest, and, boy, did I ever! I became a docent, sharing some of this knowledge with peipe from everywhere in the world. I volunteered for nearly every event that the Museum and/or the Guild set up in some way. I made lots of friends, laughing and working our way at the Museum. iI feel like I truly make a difference as a volunteer, to the Museum staff and to other Guild members.
When I retired from medicine, my wife and I became volunteers at the Heard Museum. We joined the museum guild, became Las Guias members (docents),and do other volunteer activities including participation in the annual Spring Fair, and working in the Museum Shop. We contribute financially. We have taken advantage of a magnificient education about the Southwest Indians, their art, history and culture. Through our activities and those of the many other volunteers, we can help educate visitors and create good will toward the Heard Museum. This has been possible because of the professional staff and the passionate Heard Guild members who so selfishly give their time and talents. The Heard Museum is top notch nonprofit organization that I would recommend to anyone who wants to make a difference by volunteering.