Scottsdale Living Art | History | Culture

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Posted on August 2, 2017 by Laura Lucky

Scottsdale offers a handful of excellent museums with educational and entertaining exhibits that can be enjoyed by patrons of all ages. Here, we recommend three museums to spend some cool, air-conditioned time in. Let us know what you think if you’ve made a visit!

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
This architecturally handsome museum located in downtown Scottsdale’s art district is focused on our area’s Western heritage. Named by True West Magazine as the “Best Western Museum in the Nation,” this top-rated attraction celebrates the culture and unique stories from the Old West. Three limited-time exhibits have just recently opened this summer. The Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History features Western film posters and memorabilia dating from the 1800s to the present. Of Spirit and Flame: John Coleman Bronzes from the Collection of Frankie and Howard Alper is a selection of over 20 bronze sculptures by one of the nation’s most celebrated artists of the American West. Lastly, Grand Canyon Grandeur includes 100 striking portrayals of the Canyon’s visual diversity in oil paintings, watercolors and prints dating back to the 1850s.

The Penske Racing Museum
Housed within a complex of auto dealerships, this attractive display showcases a collection of cars, trophies and racing memorabilia of the Penske Racing brand. With over 50 years of racing experience and over 400 major race wins, there are a number of Indy 500-winning race cars as well as vehicles driven to victory in other races held around the world. You’ll see the 1963 NASCAR Pontiac Catalina that Roger Penske drove to victory at the NASCAR Riverside 250 in 1963; the Dodge Charger Rusty Wallace drove in the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup; and the March 86C that won the 1987 Indy 500 with Al Unser Sr. at the wheel. There’s a pleasant café onsite and a boutique with race-inspired merchandise available for purchase.

Scottsdale Historical Museum
This small and rather unassuming museum offers glimpses into Scottsdale’s early beginnings. The One-Room Schoolhouse exhibit depicts how a one-room schoolhouse might have looked during the 1800s and through the early 1900s. The Winfield and Helen Scott Exhibit shows how the namesake of Scottsdale and his family made this part of the desert southwest their home and helped it grow to the bustling city it is today. Intimate and well-maintained, this free museum is certainly worth a stop into; particularly as there are ever-changing exhibits that switch throughout the year.

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