Heard Museum.

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Heard Museum

Top choice in Phoenix

This extraordinary museum spotlights the history, life, arts and culture of American Indian tribes in the Southwest. Visitors will find art galleries, ethnographic displays, films, a get-creative kids' exhibit and an unrivaled collection of Hopi kachinas (elaborate spirit dolls, many gifted by Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater). The Heard emphasizes quality over quantity and is one of the best museums of its kind in America.

The moving Boarding School Experience gallery examines the controversial federal policy of removing American Indian children from their families and sending them to remote boarding schools in order to 'Americanize' them. Keep a lookout for occasional events that enliven the grounds, such as Indian fairs and competitions of spectacular hoop dancing. Free guided tours run throughout the day and are recommended. Overall, you can easily beguile two to three hours exploring. Also check out the well-stocked bookstore and superb gift shop.

Parking is free. The Valley Metro light-rail stops beside the downtown museum at Encanto/Central Ave.

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