Art adventures: Heard Museum North


When I was a little girl, my mother used to collect owls. I suspect it started with a simple gift from a friend, but you can imagine how it grew through the years as I got my hands on various pins, figurines and art supplies.

At some point, her interest shifted to American Indian art — often acquired during trips to or through Arizona. I know very little about the pieces she gathered, but I learn a little bit more each time I visit the Heard Museum in either Phoenix or Scottsdale.

Recently I explored the Heard Museum North in Scottsdale with my son Christopher, who was in grade school when my mother died. Together we’re learning about and enjoying the art that “Nana” so dearly loved.

We took along a camera, but have since discovered that the manual focus on one of our lenses needs repair — so you’ll have to forgive some of the fuzziness in  the photos that follow.

Still, I hope you’ll get a good feel for the museum’s many offerings — and feel inspired to do some exploring of your own.

The Heard Museum North welcomes visitors with a lovely garden complete with desert plants, a water feature and statuary
The Heard Museum North Cafe features a patio where you can enjoy roasted pear salad, a hummus veggie wrap and more
The Heard Museum North features a warm and welcoming gift shop full of books, jewelry, music, artwork and more
This "Chicken Coop" display in the gift shop features Navajo Folk Art that rivals my mom's owl collection
One of the first works we encountered after entering the museum's exhibit space
This display features Hopi katsina dolls and a Hopi ceremonial calendar
Items on exhibit include baskets, paintings, prints, sculpture, rugs, katsina dolls and much more
Heard Museum North presents diverse educational programming and special events
Children will enjoy the museum’s collection of art objects featuring animals such as horses, birds and bears

It’s a particularly lovely time of year to visit the Heard Museum North in Scottsdale because the weather is perfect for enjoying the museum’s outdoor elements and other destinations in the area.

A very kind and knowledgable woman at the museum’s welcome desk told us about the Cave Creek Museum just up the road.

Some folks from Ohio  suggested we make special note of the Heard’s jewelry selection, best described as one-of-a-kind wearable art.

Take your holiday shopping list if you have one since the museum gift shop offers a wealth of unique items in all price ranges. Think teachers, children, family and friends.

Take your camera too, but make sure all the parts are in good working order.  There’s nothing like a good shot of a cactus in bloom, or a flowing rather than frozen water feature, for the front of custom holiday cards going to snowbound family and friends.

Saguaros are like snowflakes — no two are ever the same.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about museums in the North Scottsdale area at the Central Arizona Museum Association website.

Coming up: Lynn and Christopher explore one of his early childhood favorites — the Arizona Science Center — which currently features an exhibit titled “RACE: Are We So Different?”


  1. You talked me into it! I haven’t been there in years. Time for a second look!
    BTW, my youngest just started collecting owls……Mine was cats, made from everything you can imagine!

  2. Hooray! There is a Spanish Market this weekend at the Heard Museum in Phoenix so the burning question is which location to visit first. Today I returned to the Phoenix Zoo for the first time in quite a spell and it is AMAZING too, as is the Arizona Science Center we hit a week or so ago. It’s been great rediscovering all these places that I used to enjoy with my kiddos when they were little! –Lynn


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