Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Collections Tours

Tours are generally at 4 pm, on third Fridays.

Children must be 10 years of age or older.

(Well-behaved children as young as 6 are welcomed on the paleontology tour.)

The Museum of Northern Arizona has extensive cultural, natural science and fine arts holdings. Does it make you wonder why a museum would maintain such a wonderful collection when only a small portion is on display? Come on a collections tour only if you want 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..

Tickets are $25 for the general public; $10 for members.

Upcoming Tours

Archaeology
Canceled
Tour guide: Gwenn Gallenstein,Flag Area Monuments Museum Curator
Celebrate Archaeology Month with a tour of MNA’s legacy Archaeology Collection, which includes rare artifacts ranging from sandals to painted baskets and prehistoric murals to 1000 year old pottery.  Find out what researchers look for in potsherds and hear about recent findings that continue to inspire dialogue.

Ethnology
Canceled
Tour guide: Amber King, Registrar
Take a whirlwind tour of the Ethnology Collections where you will have a chance to 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. 

Fine Arts
May 15, 4 pm
Tour guide: Amber King, Registrar

Get a peek into selections from MNA’s fine arts collection. See new additions, old favorites, and pieces that will definitely be new to you. Including both Native and Anglo artists, don’t miss this opportunity to see the collection up close, ask questions as you go, and witness the amazing preservation work that is currently underway.

Archives
June 19. 4 pm
Tour guide: Melissa Lawton, Archivist
Learn more about how the history of MNA and research on the Colorado Plateau is preserved in the Museum's archives. 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.

Archaeology
July 17, 4 pm
Tour guide: Tony Thibodeau, Anthropology Collections Manager
Tour MNA’s legacy Archaeology Collection, which includes rare artifacts ranging from sandals to painted baskets and prehistoric murals to 1000 year old pottery.  Find out what researchers look for in potsherds and hear about recent findings that continue to inspire dialogue.

Mentzelia memorabilis

Botany
August 21, 4 pm
Tour guide: Kirstin Phillips, Botany Collections Manager
Get an unforgettable glimpse into the botanical world at MNA that most visitors never see. The McDougall Herbarium, housed in the Easton Collection Center, holds more than 40,000 botanical and ethnobotanical specimens representing plants from across the Colorado Plateau. View examples of ethnobotanical specimens from the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation, discover how and why plants are collected and preserved for centuries, see the current botany research that is happening on the Museum’s research campus, and learn about the native plants growing on the living roof.

Paleontology
September 18, 4 pm
Tour guide: Janet Whitmore Gillette, Natural Science Collections Manager

View fascinating fossil plant and animal specimens and learn about the remarkable research conducted on the paleontology collections at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Explore the ancient life of the Colorado Plateau from the Permian to the Ice Age. Learn why we house these specimens, how we care for them and how they are used in research. Highlights include dinosaur, plesiosaur, and mammoth fossils.

Archives
October 16. 4 pm
Tour guide: Melissa Lawton, Archivist
Learn more about how the history of MNA and research on the Colorado Plateau is preserved in the Museum's archives. 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.

Ethnology
November 20, 4 pm
Tour guide: Tony Thibodeau
Take a whirlwind tour of the Ethnology Collections where you will have a chance to 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. 

Collection Tour Rules

When visiting collections, attendees must adhere to the following rules for security and environmental protection of collections:
1.       A secure area will be provided to safeguard personal items.
2.       The following items are  not allowed in storage:
  • Food or Drink (including water)
  • Bags, briefcases, and oversized purses   
  • Bulky coats or sweaters
3.       Activities not allowed in storage.
  • Running, shoving, or other disruptive behavior
  • Leaving the group to wander down aisles
4.       Many items are easy to break and fingers can leave residues, so resist the following natural urges
  • Do not touch or pick up items
  • Do not lean on shelving or cases
5.       MNA reserves the right to terminate the tour if we feel that collection security and preservation is at risk.
6.       Non-flash photography is allowed only to record general architectural features or general storage of collection objects. If you wish document individual objects, please place an image request with MNA's Archivist.