Museum of Northern Arizona exterior

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

The Museum of Northern Arizona has extensive cultural, natural science and fine arts holdings, but only a small portion is on display in the exhibit building. Schedule a collections tour for your group to see something beyond the average tourist offering. Besides viewing collections, you will find out about their life behind the scenes – who uses them, who borrows them, what current projects are underway, and why they exist. You can also find out how to care for your own family heirlooms.

These tours offer a rare and intimate peek into the various museum collections. Each tour is led by an expert who deals with that collection on a daily basis. The size of the group is limited to 10 people so that you will feel comfortable asking questions or commenting on collections, heirlooms preservation, or any other relevant topics such as NAGPRA, use, access, etc. Currently no public tours are scheduled, but you can email to arrange a private tour for your group.


Tour MNA’s legacy Archaeology Collection, which includes rare artifacts ranging from sandals to painted baskets and prehistoric murals to 1000 year old pottery. 

Tour guide: Anthony Thibodeau



See original and unique materials such as letters and photographs, hear how archives inform ongoing research, and gain insights into the care and content of museum archives.



Visit the McDougall Herbarium, which holds more than 40,000 botanical specimens. View examples of ethnobotanical specimens from the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation and discover how and why plants are collected and preserved for centuries.



View MNA’s extensive holdings of Hopi and Navajo textiles, jewelry, pottery, baskets, etc. Hear how tribes access these holdings, the importance of stories, and find out how to care for your own treasured heirlooms.

Tour guide: Anthony Thibodeau, Anthropology Collections Manager


Fine Arts

Peek into selections from MNA’s fine arts collection. See new additions, old favorites, and pieces that will definitely be new to you by both Native and Anglo artists.



Explore the ancient life of the Colorado Plateau from the Permian to the Ice Age. View fascinating fossil plant and animal specimens and learn about the remarkable research conducted on the paleontology collections at the MNA. Well-behaved children as young are welcomed on the paleontology tour.