The 10 Best Historical Societies in Arizona!

Arizona may be young but it has plenty of history. The 48th state has its fair share of events, cultures, and traditions worth documenting. It’s also home to some great historical societies that bring this history to life. These societies focus on different aspects of history that are each uniquely Arizonan. Here are the best historical societies in Arizona.

1. The Arizona Historical Society

Back in 1864, Arizona was still a territory and the nation was in the midst of the Civil War. In an effort to document history, Arizona lawmakers created the Arizona Historical Society. Today, the AHS remains the oldest historical agency in the state. Their 73 certified museums contain collections exceeding three million objects pertaining to Arizona’s rich history. Visiting one of their museums provides unique insight into how the past shaped Arizona’s future. Their efforts are also seen through museum workshops, history presentations, and grant programs in every corner of the state.

2. Jerome Historical Society, Jerome, AZ

The “Wickedest Town in the West” is alive and well thanks to the Jerome Historical Society. Once the fourth largest city in Arizona, Jerome’s population plummeted after the closing of the local mines in the 1950s. Jerome had already become a virtual ghost town by the time the Jerome Historical Society was formed in 1953. However, the group has helped preserve the rich history of Jerome’s heyday. Today, the group owns eight commercial buildings, including the acclaimed Mine Museum, and an archive over 11,000 photos and documents. Their annual Ghost Walk is a tour of the history of Jerome complete with dramatic performances from locals.

3. Northern Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society, Flagstaff, AZ

The Northern Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society has been preserving the history of Northern Arizona for over 100 years. Founded in 1905, the society has documented the pioneer era of Flagstaff through the collection of historical accounts and artifacts. Their current projects include the operation of the Riordan Mansion, Fort Valley Experiment Station, and the Pioneer Museum. They continue to host events and support educational outreach programs to local schools.

4. The Glendale Historical Society, Glendale, AZ

Glendale’s history can be traced back to the 1880s. That’s when Illinois transplant William Murphy constructed the Arizona Canal—a 40-mile canal along the Salt River in an area that eventually became Glendale. This is just one of the many historical tidbits found at the Glendale Historical Society. They aim to collect, preserve, and distribute information regarding Glendale’s past. They offer tours of local landmarks including Manistee Ranch and Sahuaro Ranch. Additionally, their research library includes yearbooks, newspapers, city maps, and other publications that reveal the rich history of this local city.

5. Tubac Historical Society, Tubac, AZ

What Tubac may lack in size it makes up for in history. The word Tubac is derived from a Pima Indian language meaning “low place.” The Pima’s are just one of five distinct groups that have occupied this small southern Arizona area. The Tubac Historical Society aims to promote a better understanding of the diverse history relevant to its area and the American southwest. They support their mission through educational programs, preservation of historic sites, and through events. They host everything history lectures to picnics in an effort to bring their mission to light.

6. The B-26 Marauder Historical Society, Tucson, AZ

The B-26 Marauder Historical Society is the largest organization dedicated to the history of the famous B-26 Martin Marauder. This medium-range bomber was a hugely influential aircraft in World War II. Society members from around the world help to gather archives, documents, maps and publications related to the plane. Tucson is home to the organizations headquarters. It is home to international archives, a restored Martin B-26, and large events aimed at honoring the many World War II veterans.  

7. Tempe Historical Society, Tempe, AZ

The Tempe Historical Society promotes programs, events, and conversations aimed at illuminating Tempe’s history. The group began in 1969 and immediately began gathering artifacts related to Tempe’s history. Their rich collection can be found at the Tempe History Museum. The museum creates new, featured exhibitions each year that showcase Tempe’s history. The society focuses on Tempe’s history from the 1870s through the post-World War II-era population boom. Additionally, they host many events geared towards local history such as the talk series Arizona Storytellers. 

8. Arizona Jewish Historical Society, Phoenix, AZ

The Arizona Jewish Historical Society was founded in 1981 in order to preserve the heritage of Arizona’s Jewish communities. They own and operate the Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, a historic former synagogue and church built in 1921. The historic landmark includes a museum gallery and hosts cultural programs. The society maintains a collection of over 50,000 documents, photographs, and artifacts relating to Jewish life in the American Southwest. Their educational programs include documentary screenings, book discussions, and helping to run the “We Remember the Holocaust” project in downtown Phoenix. 

9. The Grand Canyon Historical Society, Flagstaff, AZ

As far as history goes—the Grand Canyon is hard to beat. The epic canyon’s history dates back thousands of years. The Grand Canyon Historical Society celebrates this history by promoting studies and preservation efforts of the natural wonder. Founded in 1984, the society hosts myriad field trips and outings and engages in research and projects related to the Grand Canyon’s history. Their education outreach is seen through their magazine, The Ol’ Pioneer, and their participation in historical symposiums. 

10. Seligman Historical Society, Seligman, AZ

Seligman is known as the “Birthplace of Historic Route 66.” In 1987, Seligman gained that title after the state of Arizona dedicated Route 66 a historic highway. The Seligman Historical Society preserves the historic buildings and artifacts from the town that has become a destination for Route 66 fans. They currently support the Seligman Historic District and have been raising funds for the restoration of the historic Cottage Hotel.

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Find Historical Societies, Sites & Museums Near You
Find Historical Societies, Sites & Museums Near You
11015 North Oracle Road, Oro Valley, AZ
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2340 North Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ
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10 South Gilbert Road, Gilbert, AZ
About Us : The Gilbert Historical Society was organized in early 1960 with the goal of "Preserving the Past for the Future." Collections of picture... Read More
400 West Beale Street, Kingman, AZ
About Us: The Mohave Museum of History and Arts is dedicated to the purposes of preserving the heritage of Northwestern Arizona and of presenting t... Read More
150 N Plaza Circle, Miami, AZ
Hours: Thur-Sat 11-3 and Sun 12-3. Mission Statement: Dedicated to preserving and presenting the culturally diverse history, the human experience... Read More
6 North Lake Powell Boulevard, Page, AZ
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415 East Grant Street, Phoenix, AZ
About George Washington Carver High School (Carver) was established in 1926 as a segregated school for African Americans in the Phoenix, Arizona m... Read More
2301 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
MissionThe mission of the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art is to educate the public about the heritage and living cultures and arts of Nativ... Read More
113 North 6th Street, Phoenix, AZ
About Us: The Rosson House Museum is a fully-restored 1895 Queen Anne Victorian house museum which interprets the history of Phoenix. Tours of the... Read More
215 North 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ
Mission:Acting on the principle that learning is a joy, the Children's Museum of Phoenix's mission is to engage the minds, muscles and imaginations... Read More
147 North Arizona Avenue, Prescott, AZ
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4701 Highway 89 North, Prescott, AZ
Mission Statement: To preserve and exhibit museum quality Western art and educate the public about the unique heritage, history, legends and influe... Read More
415 West Gurley Street, Prescott, AZ
About the Museum: Sharlot Hall Museum is named after its founder, Sharlot Mabridth Hall (1870-1943), who became well known as a poet, activist, po... Read More
7333 East Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ
Mission Statement:The mission of the Scottsdale Historical Museum is to present, preserve and interpret through research, exhibits and educational ... Read More
735 Jordan Road, Sedona, AZ
History One might claim that Sedona began 350 million years ago. That's how long it has taken for Nature to form our red rocks by earth thrusts, ... Read More
51 East 10th Street and Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ
Mission: The ASU Art Museum is a division of ASU Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts. Exhibitions, education programs and publications are ... Read More
809 East Southern Avenue, Tempe, AZ
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516 North Humphreys, Flagstaff, AZ
About Us The Flagstaff Children's Museum integrates the unique strengths of our community to educate and entertain young children and adolescents ... Read More
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