Scottsdale’s Museum of the West partners with Smithsonian Institution

Scottsdale's Museum of the West foyer. (photo by Bill Timmerman)

Scottsdale’s Museum of the West foyer. (photo by Bill Timmerman)

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West became a certified Smithsonian Affiliate museum, making it a recognized partner with the world’s largest museum and research complex, on Friday, Nov. 20.

Richard Kurin, under secretary for history, art, and culture for the Smithsonian Institution, visited the museum, 3830 N. Marshall Way in downtown Scottsdale, and presented the Certification of Affiliation during a private event, according to a press release.

Dignitaries who attended the event were to includ Scottsdale Vice Mayor David Smith; Barbara Barrett, former U.S. Ambassador to Finland; Gay Wray, Smithsonian National Board Member; and Jim Bruner, Chairman of the Board of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.

Becoming a Smithsonian Affiliate opens the door to a variety of benefits to Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, the release stated. These include not only loans of iconic artifacts and cultural treasures, but also education programming, expert speakers, and career development for museum professionals.

Mr. Kurin noted that, with approximately 137 million objects, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian, affiliates such as Scottsdale’s Museum of the West are indispensable resources that help bring more of its educational and historical resources to people in communities throughout the country.

Scottsdale's Museum of the West (photo by Bill Timmerman)

Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (photo by Bill Timmerman)

In addition to sharing artifacts from the Smithsonian’s vast collection, the Affiliate relationship will provide Scottsdale’s Museum of the West with opportunities to collaborate on innovative educational programming to help students understand the legacy of the West and their own role in shaping it.

“As the storytellers of the American West, we are honored to enter this collaborative partnership, which will help broaden our visitors’ knowledge and understanding of the history and cultures of the 19 states of the American West,” stated Mike Fox, director and CEO of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, in the release.

The museum, which opened in January 2015, features rotating exhibitions of hundreds of Western artworks and historic artifacts. Current exhibitions include a 50th anniversary retrospective entitled “A Salute to Cowboy Artists of America and a Patron, the Late Eddie Basha: 50 Years of Amazing Contributions to the American West,” on view through May 31, and “Inspirational Journey: The Story of Lewis and Clark Featuring the Artwork of Charles Fritz,” on view through Oct. 31, 2016.

Other exhibits include authentic Old West spurs, badges, cowboy gear, and saddles; rare Navajo chief’s blankets; and artworks ranging from Thomas Moran and Alfred Jacob Miller to the Taos Society of Artists.

The museum is managed by Scottsdale Museum of the West, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It relies upon private support including tax-deductible contributions, memberships, exhibition and program sponsorships, and private hosting of events to fund its operation.

For more information, visit or call 480-686-9539.

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