Arizona Vacation

Pueblo Grande Museum

By AZ Leisure Staff Writers

Pueblo Grande platform moundArtist's rendition of the Pueblo Grande platform mound, by Michael Hampshire

An Ancient 1,500 Year Old Hohokam Village

At the center of the hustle and flow that drives modern day Phoenix, AZ lies the quiet serenity of the Pueblo Grande Museum, a reflective example of an entire culture that has vanished from our midst. Founded on the site of a 1,500 year old Hohokam village, Pueblo Grande Museum seeks to preserve and enhance the public's awareness of Native American peoples and inhabitants of the Southwest, with a primary emphasis on the Hohokam people. Highlighting some of the finest examples of early southwestern engineering and innovation, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is a must-see destination for anyone interested in how the west has transformed from ancient cultures to modern life.

The Preservation Dream Becomes Reality

Pueblo Grande Museum began as one man's dream to protect the Salt River Valley from complete annihilation following years of development and over-farming. In 1924 Thomas Armstrong purchased the platform mound that is the center of the Museum ruins and the surrounding three acres before donating the land to the City of Phoenix. At the same time, city officials were convinced to buy an additional ten acres around the platform mound that contained well preserved remnants of an aqueduct and canal irrigation system that serviced the entire area. Known as the Park of the Four Waters, the irrigation canals were vital to the early development of the area and demonstrated advanced engineering techniques. The remnants of these canals continue to impress visitors today as people observe first hand their innovative design. Throughout the years additional land was acquired by the City and now the Pueblo Grande Museum park site encompasses a full 102 acres dedicated to preserving the Hohokam ruins, as well as providing interpretative programs, museum lectures, and archaeological study. Unlike the Hohokam ruins at nearby Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is not a federal park and remains one of the few City-owned archaeological sites in the country.

A mixture of authentic ruins and replica buildings, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park serves to educate and inspire visitors with lessons from the ancient Hohokam. While their irrigation system was advanced for their time, they also were creative artists well known for their beautiful tapestries and intricate jewelry designs. Several on-going exhibits at the Museum delight visitors with images of life in the village and examples of actual pottery, jewelry and textiles. Examples of artwork from other native people are also on display, particularly those of other Salt River Valley inhabitants such as the Pima and Maricopa peoples.

Trail of Ruins

Visitors to the Museum can explore the 800 year old platform mound, believed to be the center of Hohokam community life, stroll past an excavated ballcourt, and stand in wonder at the site of the canals, an engineering marvel for the Hohokam's time. Also along the ruin trail are replicas of actual Hohokam houses, giving visitors the surreal sense of walking through history, standing where Hohokam people stood, breathing where Hohokam people breathed, looking up at the Hohokam people's sky.

Something for Everyone

A visit to the Pueblo Grande Museum would not be complete without a stop at the Museum Store. Operated by the Museum Auxiliary, the Museum Store is more than just a gift shop. Home to authentic, one-of-a-kind works of art, jewelry and pottery, guests can also pick up books and CD's on the museum's various exhibits. And yes, for those looking for that commemorative t-shirt, they can also be found at the Museum Store.

Getting to Pueblo Grande

Pueblo Grand Museum is open Monday-Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:45 PM. From May through September, the Museum is closed on Sunday and Monday. Admission to the park grounds is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for seniors (55+), $3.00 for children (6-17) and free for children 5 and under. Parking is free. Pack up the kids, bring a picnic lunch and head to the heart of the city for an adventure that will take you back into ancient Native American history.

For More Information

Pueblo Grande Museum
4619 East Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona
(602) 495-0901 or 0902

History of the Hohokam People

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