A friend told us about Phoenix’s Heard Museum over dinner. Intrigued, my husband and I went the very next morning, and were so glad we did. She was right: The museum’s collection of traditional and contemporary American Indian art (mostly southwestern) is simply superb. Each exhibit oozes quality over quantity.
From the perspective of a mobility device user, I found the museum well-prepared and welcoming. The interior and exterior are easy to navigate. (I spun around on a Jazzy power chair for this adventure.) The excursion is very manageable on an energy exertion level. (I had to take a nap in the Louvre.) And, ADA signage is readily visible for entry, elevator access to the second floor, and the ADA bathroom facilities. The Heard Museum has a comprehensive accessibility webpage that you can check out here.
Take a tour
The one-hour tour led by Laurie really brought the museum to life for us. Encased ancient pottery, Hopi katsina dolls and symbolic markings held far more interesting historical significance thanks to her descriptions. I also appreciated her awareness of my visibility from the power chair at each stop along the tour.
Although it’s difficult to choose the highlight of the museum, I’d say the delicate intricacy of a contemporary woven basket entitled “10 Little Indians” (2016) stands out in my mind. The closer you look, the more artful it becomes; words and messages from the familiar nursery rhyme suddenly, subtly encircle the work. The talented power and careful persistence of weaver Shan Goshorn make your jaw drop. Stunning work.
For my husband, the display of Richard I. Chavez jewelry entitled “Symmetry in Stone” (on exhibition until August 5, 2018) was the most memorable. The craftsmanship and artistry of stone selection and placement make each item a wearable masterpiece.
Making Accessibility Happen
Accessible travel for people with disabilities is becoming big business. Speak with your dollars, your vote, and your voice to let commerce know what’s working, and what’s not.