Every Picture Tells a Story

Every Picture Tells a Story

Picture the deep blues and reds of ripe blueberries, strawberries and cherries. Or a lizard wriggling its way across the hot desert sand. Can you see the sunlight dancing across the water as a whale breaks the surface?

Images that tell stories live at the heart of the Every Picture Tells a Story which offers families a chance to enjoy pottery, baskets, clothing and more along with special hands-on activities and games.

“Every Picture Tells a Story is an experience that people of all ages will enjoy,” says curator Diana Pardue. “The premise of the exhibit is that a museum visit can be entertaining and educational at the same time.”

Created around seven distinct geographic regions, Every Picture Tells a Story illustrates how the wildlife and vegetation inspire American Indian artists. The seven geographic regions of the exhibit feature:

Vast Grassy Plains – A star-filled night sky acts as the backdrop for beaded bags, pouches and items of clothing that depict stars and the night sky. Kids are invited to create and decorate paper cuff bracelets like those on display.

Southwestern Desert – Set among boulders, images of desert animals, vegetation and activities like the harvesting of saguaro cactus fruit appear on different styles of baskets. Games, including a moveable puzzle pole featuring images of a scorpion, horned toad, turtle and Gila monster, engage kids in learning about the desert’s animal dwellers.

Red Colorado Plateau – Light boards illuminate images of realistic and stylized birds in the plateau section allowing kids to compare the many ways that artists represent the creatures’ heads, feathers and wings. Kids can also put together a butterfly-design puzzle.

Gently Flowing Rio Grande River – A wide range of pottery designs and styles depict the animals, birds and insect life found along the river. Families can color and create hummingbirds to take home or form their own butterflies or dragonflies from pipe cleaners.

Forested Great Lakes – Stroll underneath realistic cedar and mesquite trees to enjoy a sparkling array of beaded bags depicting images of plant life – cherries, blueberries, leaves and vines. Kids will enjoy decorating their own bandolier bag to carry home a variety of take-home activities available in the exhibit.

Rocky Ocean Northwest Coast – A traditional Nisga’a house front on the edge of the water sets the scene for the Pacific Northwest. Baskets, carvings and button blankets in dramatic colors depict the frogs, whales, sea otters and seals that inhabit the waterways of the region. Kids can choose to decorate traditional button blankets.

Icy Arctic Tundra – Polar bears, caribou, muskoxen and Arctic foxes make their homes in the icy blue tundra of an arctic glacier. Hands-on felt wall hangings allow kids to create their own stories with animals and people of the Arctic, and a special coloring activity tells the story of how the raven and the snowy owl got their colors.

Every Picture Tells a Story is generously sponsored by The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, with additional support from The Arizona Republic.