About the Heard Museum | Heard Museum

Earthsong by Allan Houser

About the Heard Museum

Since its founding in 1929, the Heard Museum has grown in size and stature to become recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, world-class exhibitions, educational programming and its unmatched festivals. Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, the Heard successfully presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art.

The Heard Museum sets the standard for collaborating with American Indian artists and tribal communities to provide visitors with a distinctive perspective about the art of Native people, especially those from the Southwest.

Heard Museum Land Acknowledgement Statement

The Heard Museum acknowledges that the land this institution has stood upon since 1929 is within the O’otham Jeved, which the Akimel O’otham have regarded as their homeland since time immemorial. Despite the land’s annexation into New Spain, the Mexican Republic, and the United States, which assumed control after the 1854 Gadsden Purchase, the Akimel O’otham have consistently asserted that this land is theirs, as recounted in their Creation Story, in which Jeved Ma:kai, Earth Doctor, made this place. Today the Akimel O’otham are part of the Four Southern Tribes of Arizona, which is a coalition comprised of the Gila River Indian Community, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the Ak-Chin Indian Community, and the Tohono O’odham Nation.

The Heard Museum, in what is today downtown Phoenix, Arizona, occupies land within sight of numerous Huhugam, or Ancestral O’otham, canals, farmlands and villages, which is evidence of a presence going back countless generations, long before Father Eusebio Kino and the Conquistador Juan Mateo Mange arrived in the area on November 21, 1697, which harbingered a succession of colonization. Indeed, the founders of the Heard Museum, in particular, benefited from the US making Arizona a Territory in 1863, then a state in 1912, which led to the economic development of Phoenix, which became an election precinct in 1868. Consequently, the Heard acknowledges that it has a moral obligation to the Akimel O’otham, on whose land this museum continues to thrive. The latter is in addition to the Indigenous peoples, from within and well beyond Arizona, currently inhabiting the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. With this in mind, the Heard proclaims that it remains dedicated to honoring its relationship with the Akimel O’otham through its programming, exhibits, public events, publications, and community service, which it extends to the other Indigenous peoples represented in its collections. The Heard hereby proudly commits itself to a future of building, improving, and nurturing its relationships with the Akimel O’otham and other Indigenous communities, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

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History of the Heard Museum

Explore the museum’s rich history as one of the Phoenix area’s first cultural attractions, and see how the museum has grown to be one of the world’s finest destinations for learning about American Indian arts and cultures.

Museum News

See what’s going on at the Heard Museum, and download recent press releases.

Board of Trustees

View members of the senior leadership who oversee the mission and future of the Heard Museum.

Tribal Relations

The purpose of the Heard Museum Tribal Relations department is to seek parallel interests with tribes and nations as well as American Indians and Native entities. As the mission of the Heard Museum seeks to provide an educational foundation for the public, strengthening ties with Indian Country is a priority of this institution.

Heard Museum Guild

Begin your volunteer journey with the Heard Museum Guild. Whether you have a few hours to help with a special event or time each week to provide guided tours, work in the Shop or help visitors at the information desk, there’s something for you.

Heard Museum Council

This group offers a closer look inside the fascinating world of American Indian arts and cultures. The Council welcomes to its membership professional men and women who share an interest in Native people, their art and their lifeways.


View current job opportunities at the Heard Museum.


Members are the heart of the Heard Museum, and many give generously of their time through the museum’s volunteer organizations: the Guild and Council. Each group sponsors public programs as well as special events for their members.

Press Room

Access our media kit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? Read our list of frequently asked questions to find the answer you’re looking for.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Heard Museum is to be the world’s preeminent museum for the presentation, interpretation and advancement of American Indian art, emphasizing its intersection with broader artistic and cultural themes.

Visitor Guide

Visitors Guide Cover

View/download the Visitor Guide

Browse the rest of our downloadable materials on the Brochures & Guides page →