“In a stately Spanish-styled building … there stands the Heard Museum, housing one of the most interesting and individual collections in the world. Its rare relics were all purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Dwight B. Heard on their various journeys together throughout the world.”
– Phoenix Gazette, c. 1929
Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard were world travelers, and they collected art made in the countries they visited. In 1892, Maie Bartlett’s family and her fiancé Dwight Heard traveled to Egypt voyaging up the Nile as far as Aswan with one of Thomas Cook’s tours. The Heards moved to Phoenix from Chicago in 1895 and, while they collected from the Southwest, they continued to collect art from around the world.
A trip to Hawai’i in 1924 was followed in the winter of 1925 with a second trip to Egypt and the Sudan. In the 1920s as the collections filled their home, named Casa Blanca, they decided to place the collection in a museum to be built on their property. Their vision of a public collection was realized with the opening of the Heard Museum on December 26, 1929. The museum’s upstairs galleries presented cultural arts from Around the World.
In 2006, more than 75 years after its grand opening, the Heard Museum opened a new exhibition to honor that first exhibition and to share with the public how the collections have grown through the generosity of donors and individual artists who have given work to the museum.
Around the World: The Heard Museum Collection includes items from the Heards’ world travels as well as important works from later donors like Byron Harvey III. Many of the pieces in this exhibition reveal the global-reach of the Heard as an important nexus for preserving indigenous art and culture. Visitors can view rarely displayed works by indigenous peoples of Canada and Mexico, as well as Guatemala, the Philippine Islands, New Zealand, Zaire and Sudan—From exquisite cradleboards from Plains Indian cultures to Guatemalan paintings and masks from Africa.
Around the World: The Heard Museum Collection was curated by Tricia Loscher and Ann Marshall, Ph.D.