The city that bills itself as the “Western Most Western Town” is about to open a new museum that tells the story of the American West. Construction on the Scottsdale Museum of the West is nearly complete and the city-owned museum is scheduled to open to the public on January 15, 2015.
Great Museums Do Not Come Cheap
Municipal funds were used to cover the $11 million cost of construction. The non-profit “Museum of the West” organization will rely on private funds plus matching funds from the city of Scottsdale to operate the museum. Built in historic Old Town Scottsdale, the brand new Museum of the West is located at the intersection of Marshall Way and First Street.
On the Outside
An impressive structure, designed to be compliant with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, this “green” museum features three bioswales that capture and repurpose street, roof, and surface runoff water. An outdoor amphitheatre has a low impact on the environment and can accommodate hundreds for special events. Landscaping around the plaza makes use of cactus and other native plants that thrive in the Arizona sun.
On the Inside
When visitors step into the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust Fine Arts Gallery they will get to see the works of some of the most notable Western artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Fritz Scholder and Charles M. Russell. A walk through the Scottsdale Charros Gateway Foyer takes you to a giant interactive map of 19 western states. Learn the story of Captain Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (Lewis & Clark), when you enter the Great Hall on the second floor.
Thanks to the generosity of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the museum has a beautiful theater/auditorium where visitors can listen to a variety of stories and presentations about the Old West.
Don’t forget to stop by the A.P. Hays Spirit of the West Collection on the second floor. The Collection includes the Cowboy tools of the trade such as saddles and spurs, a display of Texas Ranger badges, and other cool Western items.
Artists, Artifacts, and Fine Art
Through sculptures, paintings and an assortment of historical artifacts, talented artists tell the story of the West. Arizona-based Cowboy artist John Coleman is a master at capturing the spirit of the West through his collection of bronze sculptures. You can’t miss Kit Carson with Mountain Men, a 9-foot by 16-foot mural by Old West painter Maynard Dixon. The dramatic work is breathtaking and will be displayed in the main entry foyer. With more than 100 paintings ready to be displayed, Montana artist Charles Fritz is a master at telling the story of the Louis & Clark expedition.
In addition to all the artists already mentioned, some of the other artists who will have their work displayed include William R. Leigh, Ed Mell, Alan Houser, and Marjorie Thomas.
The family of John Wayne, film’s most popular Cowboy (with apologies to Gene Autrey & Tom Mix), has donated a number of The Duke’s possessions, including a signed business card. You’ll see blankets used by Navajo Chiefs, Kit Carson artifacts and other interesting items.
Scottsdale is very proud of its new museum and is looking forward to sharing its Old West roots with locals, tourists from other states, and visitors from around the globe. The Scottsdale Museum of the West is sure to become a major attraction and is just one more great reason to visit Scottsdale, Arizona.