No ideas but in things wrote the poet William Carlos Williams in 1927, the year before the Museum opened. The thousands of “things” in the MNA collection provide an endless trove of ideas that we explore through exhibitions. Each of the planned exhibitions tells a unique story of the region through art and objects from our collection. Frequently these exhibitions blend science and art.
Selling the Southwest
In the early 20th century, entrepreneurs employed artists to create a sense of wonder and mystery about the American Southwest that attracted tourists and established a romanticized vision that has remained to this day. Many of the artists are now prominent names in the canon of classic Southwest art, including Thomas Moran, Louis Akin, and Gunnar Widforss. Fine Arts Curator Alan Petersen tells this timeless tale of the power of art with paintings, textiles, and pottery from the MNA collection.
Opens in January 2024
Horse and Rider – A Southwest Story
New DNA research confirms what Indigenous oral history has long told — that horses were part of life in the Southwest before Spanish colonizers reached the area. The long and strong bond between horse and rider is seen in art from MNA’s collection, including a saddle adorned in stunning silverwork.
Opens in March 2024
The Grand Canyon “Dragon” Map
Geologist Wayne Ranney guest curates this exhibition about an iconic geology map published by MNA in 1976. The map presents a wealth of detailed information about Grand Canyon’s geology on a single page with such beauty that it is the best-selling geology map of all time. This exhibition explores the origin, heritage, and ongoing use of this iconic map.
Opens in May 2024
This exhibition will highlight a selection of additions to MNA’s collection acquired over the past few years. While some of the pieces are lovely and have clear potential to be used in exhibitions, other objects are valued because of their use for researchers. The exhibition will illuminate the various reasons MNA accepts objects and how those collections are used.
Opens in November 2024