Museum News

Museum Notes were first published in July 1928, two months before the Museum of Northern Arizona officially opened. That first volume outlined the purpose of the publication: “The purpose of Museum Notes is to keep up the interest in the Society and the Museum; to keep the members and the public in general acquainted with the work of the organization; to keep people informed of accessions and exhibits, and to be a medium for transmitting general museum notes and items of interest.”

Currently published twice a year, the Museum Notes continue to inform museum members of the ongoing work, acquisitions, exhibitions and other activities at the museum. PDFs of past Museum Notes are below. To stay informed, be sure to also sign up to receive the museum’s enews.

Museum Notes

Fall 2021

PREHISTORIC PRINTS REMIND US WE’RE ALL NEWCOMERS. Before there were dinosaurs, a large reptile walked within a mile of where the Museum of Northern Arizona would be built 240 million years later and left footprints in the mud. That wasn’t unusual. Red sandstone of the Moenkopi Formation from the Triassic Period preserves cracks in the mud, ripples in the sand, and other remnants of rivers and deltas. Many amphibians and reptiles wandered across the mud, sometimes leaving prints behind, but most tracks were washed away in the next rain.

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TRANSFORMING THE MUSEUM IN RESPONSE TO GLOBAL CHALLENGES. Glass half-full or glass half-empty? At MNA, we’re happy to still be holding a glass! 2020 was a devastating year for many institutions as well as individuals. Across the country museums closed their doors and some still have not reopened. As many as a third of the country’s museums may never reopen, according to a survey done by the American Alliance of Museums. MNA closed in mid-March, then managed to reopen 15 weeks later. A number of factors allow us to operate safely even as Covid-19 numbers increase.

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Fall 2019

ARTISTIC ADVENTURES ON EARTH & BEYOND. The two winter exhibitions appear unrelated: Landscape watercolors in the Waddell Gallery, Native pop art inspired by Star Wars in the Lockett Gallery. In that dichotomy is a balance, and on deeper introspection, a connection.
The watercolor painter, Tony Foster, travels far from his native England to find landscapes that are big, breathtaking, otherworldly. The many artists featured in The Force Is With Our People are also travelers, moving constantly from their traditional culture into the contemporary culture found with the flick of a finger on every cell phone. Both Foster and the Native artists in The Force Is With Our People are exploring contrasts, balance and connection. The icy peak of Mt. Everest and the sun–warmed rocks of the Grand Canyon. Futuristic fantasy and traditional stories. Dark and light, and the forces that bind us.

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Summer 2018

MNA ENTERS 90th YEAR. In 1928 Mickey Mouse debuted on screen, sliced bread appeared in grocery stores, and the Museum of Northern Arizona opened. Since then, all three have become icons.
MNA invited the community to come celebrate on Thursday Sept. 6, from 5 to 9 pm, exactly 90 years after the original opening. The community welcomed the new museum with an outpouring of support and donations. Community pressure for a local museum had been building since 1901, when The Coconino Sun presented the idea:
“No better place could be found for a branch museum than Flagstaff, being easily accessible to the greatest storehouse of prehistoric relics on the continent – the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.” (April 20, 1901)

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Summer 2017

MNA received a remarkable collection of nearly 1,000 Zuni fetishes and carvings. Donated by Robert and Cecelia Hawk, the collection features 960 fetishes and carvings from more than 240 Zuni artists. Dates range from as early as 1925 to the present. Carving materials include: alabaster, amber, ammonites (fossils), antler, marble, coral, flourite, jet, malachite, serpentine, shell, tagua nut, and turquoise. This gift comes on the heels of the Hawks’ generous donation of 513 Katsina dolls, and an endowment to curate the collection into the future.

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