Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West is dedicated to the unique story of the American West, celebrating it's rich past and highlighting its importance in society by inspiring, engaging, and educating visitors through high-quality exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach programs.
The two-story, 43,000-square-foot Arizona museum addresses the regional history of the West and the transition from the Old West into the New West through authentic, bold, dramatic, and experiential exhibitions that reflect Western art and culture. In addition to thought-provoking exhibitions, the Museum showcases the art, history, culture and unique stories of the states that make up the American West through gallery tours, entertaining events, and engaging activities that bring Western heritage to life.
A longtime dream of four-term Scottsdale Mayor Herb Drinkwater who passed away in 1997, the museum opened in January 2015 as a partnership between the City of Scottsdale and Scottsdale Museum of the West, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West was designed by Studio MA and landscape architects Colwell Shelor, with both interior and exterior spaces being LEED Gold Standard certified. The Museum building houses eight exhibition spaces featuring permanent and temporary exhibitions, a tranquil sculpture courtyard, a 135-seat multimedia theater and auditorium, and a gift shop. Heritage Hall showcases the biographies and photographs of influential Westerners such as Bill Gates, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Billy the Kid.
Exhibits at the Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West include ‘John Coleman: Past/Present/Future' – an exhibit that delves into the life and work of painter and sculptor, John Coleman. ‘The Artists of Taos' (opens on January 10, 2017) is a major exhibition that focuses on the careers and artwork of the Taos Society of Artists, and ‘Inspirational Journey: The Story of Lewis and Clark' (on view only through Oct. 30) chronicles the historic early 19th-century expedition of Captains William Clark and Merriwether Lewis.
The ‘A.P. Hays Spirit of the West Collection' highlights a collection of quintessentially western items such as saddles, spurs from Scottsdale gallerist Abe Hays, and the ‘Confluence of Cultures in the American West: A Selection of Contemporary Artists is an ongoing exhibition that covers the stories of friendship, tension, and conflict that arose during periods of cultural contact in the history of the American West, including American Indians, settlers, mountain men, and cavalry.
Resting at the heart of the Museum, the Virginia G. Piper Theater/Auditorium is an architectural gem that serves as a hub for the local community. The theater presents a wide variety of entertaining and educational programs and events, including book signings, film screenings, live art demonstrations, plays and musical performances, and photography discussions throughout the year.
The Christine and Ted Mollring Sculpture Courtyard is an innovative, multi-functional space at the heart of the Museum with a striking contemporary architectural design and beautiful desert plants that provide a platform for western sculpture. The Courtyard is home to the inspiring Ponderosa Pine Saddle Bench, which provides a tranquil place to rest and soak up the serenity of the Courtyard and its sculptures, which include works by renowned Western artists such as Herb Mignery, Bruce R. Greene, John Coleman, Bob Haozous, and Cynthia Rigden. The Courtyard has a “weeping wall” that collects rainwater from the roof, which travels to recessed planters known as bioswales, providing water to the desert landscaping.
The Western Spirit offers a variety of guided docent-led tours, special museum events, workshops and educational programs that tell the stories of the Lewis and Clark expedition, cowboys, outlaws, lawmen and other characters of the American West.
Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West is located at 3830 N. Marshall Way and 1st Street, one block south of Main Street and is open Tuesday through Sunday, year-round. Parking is conveniently located in the City of Scottsdale's parking garage located in the alley between Goldwater Boulevard and Marshall Way just north of the museum building, and can be accessed via either thoroughfare.
Scottsdale's Museum of the West provides an exclusive venue for a variety of private and corporate events, including weddings, receptions, and other celebrations, as well as business meetings, presentations, and performance. Groups that hire the museum's facilities for private will also enjoy access to the building's galleries for the duration of the event to admire the beauty and history of the American West. Event spaces in the Museum can accommodate groups of 25 to 500 and range from the Scottsdale Charros Gateway Lobby and the Virginia G. Piper Theater/Auditorium to the Christine and Ted Mollring Sculpture Courtyard, the Heritage Hall, the Outdoor Ramadas and Terraces, and the Ridenour Learning Center and Conference Room.
3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, Phone: 480-686-9539