The Sedona Heritage Museum in Sedona offers its guests a glimpse into the lifestyles and traditions of the area’s first Western pioneers. Created and funded by the Sedona Historical Society, the museum chronicles the development of the area from the late 19th century to the present day. The Sedona Museum honors the lives of the pioneers who began developing the area around 1876.
Through ranching and developing a well-regarded orchard industry, the pioneers of Sedona were able to provide for their own needs without relying on nearby counties that were more developed at the time. For this reason, Sedona’s independent, can-do spirit still characterizes the area and its inhabitants to this day.
The Schnebly family was one of Sedona’s founding settler families. They are credited with creating the area’s first hotel, general store, and post office. The Schuerman family was one of the first to take advantage of the development of irrigation from Oak Creek to plant a vineyard. Their wine became very popular with the neighboring townships of Jerome, Prescott, and Flagstaff. Other families developed fruit orchards that became just as sought after in the area. Commercial orcharding remained popular in the area well into the 20th century, but disappeared after the 1980s.
The movie industry discovered Sedona’s natural beauty in the 1920s. The Call of the Canyon was the first movie to be shot in Sedona, and its success brought more and more producers and film stars to the area. Over the years, iconic actors such as John Wayne, Rock Hudson, and Robert De Niro stayed in Sedona for various cinematic projects. Today the city’s glamorous past is still remembered through the many street names that reflect the movies made there.
The Golden Age of Western Movies, which took place in the 1940s and 1950s, was a busy time for Sedona. Its idyllic landscape was considered representative of the American West and was thus chosen as the backdrop for as many as 100 Western films. In fact, for a period of time, Sedona was known as Arizona’s Little Hollywood. The telegraph office, which now forms part of the museum’s permanent collection, was first moved to Sedona from its original home in Winona, Arizona, in order to be used in the movie industry. It was first featured in the movie Angel and the Badman in 1947. The museum restored this 100-year-old structure so that it can be used to showcase Sedona’s era in the limelight.
In 2016 the Sedona Heritage Museum showcased an exhibit titled Here Come the Brides –Weddings throughout the Decades. Visitors got a rarely seen glimpse of wedding gowns worn between the years of 1874 to 1950.
Research and Archives
The Sedona Heritage Museum is a rich repository of materials that relate to the history of the area. Currently, the museum has 30,000 historic photographs, 3,000 artifacts, and 300 oral history video tapes. In addition to all that, the museum also has over 500 volumes of clippings and documents that preserve the history of this unique area.
The Sedona Heritage Museum brings the community together for special events year after year. The Fall Arts and Crafts Fair allows Sedona residents and visitors alike to get all the Christmas shopping done early and support local artisans at the same time. Everything from ceramics, jewelry, wood carvings, and much more can often be spotted at this vibrant community event.
Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park
Located at the base of Thunder Mountain, the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park is one of Sedona’s most spiritual places. Sprawled over 14 acres of land, the area was always regarded a spiritual mecca by the Native Americans who resided there. Today, visitors can walk among the two towering stupas dedicated to the Amitabha Buddha and Tara, the female Buddha. This sacred place allows visitors to better understand the land as it was before it was settled and as such provides the perfect counterpoint to the Sedona Heritage Museum.
Blazin’ M Ranch
Visitors hoping to further explore Sedona’s pioneer past while taking in the best dining and entertainment options of the area can visit the Blazin’ M Ranch. Located just a 20-minute drive from Sedona, this attraction offers activities that allow visitors to experience the old West in a tangible way. From getting a chance to fire a real.45 Colt six-shooter to trying their hand at roping and pitching horseshoes, visitors are bound to walk away with a lifetime’s worth of memories.
735 Jordan Rd., Sedona, AZ 86336, Phone: 928-282-7038