When Maie and Dwight Heard arrived in Arizona from Chicago in 1895, Phoenix was just a small town in the desert.
The Heards quickly developed a deep appreciation for the native arts and culture and began collecting Southwest Indian art and artifacts. Their collection grew sufficiently large that, in 1929, they opened The Heard Museum to the public.
The two-hectare (five acres) outdoor area is a favorite spot for lunchtime picnics and the amphitheatre frequently hosts Native American dancers and musicians. Outdoor markets, sponsored by community arts groups, regularly occur on the J. Lester Shaffer Memorial Green, which is adorned by beautiful bronze statues by internationally acclaimed Apache sculptor, Allan Houser.
There’s evidence of human settlement in the US Southwest dating back 17,000 years. The Heard Museum’s permanent collection contains the most extensive exhibit in North America of these people and their cultural and artistic achievements.