The 9 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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. 

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. 

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. 

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
12901 N La Montana, Fountain Hills, AZ
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2017 North Greenfield Road, Mesa, AZ
History of Airbase Arizona Mike Clarke donates a B-17G that is destined to become Sentimental Journey... On January 14, 1978, at a membership ban... Read More
4087 North Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ
About Us The Superstition Mountain Museum collects, preserves and displays the artifacts, history and folklore of the Superstition Mountains, Apac... Read More
2345 N. Horne, Mesa, AZ
History of the Mesa Historical Museum After getting its start in the 1940's, the Mesa Historical Museum was incorporated in 1966 by citizens conce... Read More
53 North Macdonald, Mesa, AZ
The Arizona Museum of Natural History is the premier natural history museum in Arizona. It is dedicated to inspire wonder, respect and understandin... Read More
150 West Pepper Place, Mesa, AZ
i.d.e.a. Museum is built upon the solid and successful 35 year history of the Arizona Museum for Youth, the original, fun, inspiring, and education... Read More
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
7374 East Second Street, Scottsdale, AZ
Mission Statement:The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art champions creativity, innovation and the vitality of the visual arts.We seek to build a... 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
3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ
Our Mission:Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West boldly immerses its guests in the unique story of the American West, illuminating the p... Read More
1300 North College Avenue, Tempe, AZ
Welcome to the AZ Heritage Center, home of the Centennial Museum, where we honor the state's rich heritage, celebrate the present, and together, cr... Read More
4725 East Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, AZ
Mission Statement: The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) enriches the world by collecting, preserving, and making accessible a wide variety of music... Read More
5005 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ
About Us: Truly a "home for the arts" the Shemer Art Center is located in the very first home built in Arcadia at the base of Camelback Mountain.&... Read More
6101 East Van Buren Street, Phoenix, AZ
Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting is the world's largest firefighting museum chronicles the history of the profession and commemorates fallen fi... 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
5636 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ
The Arizona Military Museum is operated by the Arizona National Guard Historical Society, a private non-profit corporation. The officers and direct... Read More
809 East Southern Avenue, Tempe, AZ
Mission: The Tempe Historical Museum is a community history museum that explores Tempe’s identity and builds connections between residents an... Read More
P.O. Box 63902, Phoenix, AZ
Mission StatementThe Museum Association of Arizona exists to build a vital museum community. We strengthen all of Arizona's museums so they are rec... Read More
4619 East Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ
About Us: The Pueblo Grande Museum would not thrive without the support of an organized volunteer group; the Pueblo Grande Museum Auxiliary provid... Read More
6140 East Skyline Drive, Cave Creek, AZ
Mission:The mission of the Cave Creek Museum is to preserve the artifacts of the prehistory, culture and legacy of the Cave Creek/Carefree foothill... Read More
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