It’s easy to whiz by the Amerind Museum as you drive from Tucson to Willcox, Arizona, in Interstate 10. But those who detour off the freeway can spend a few pleasant hours learning more about the Indians of the Americas as well as see some pretty cool Western art.
The Amerind Museum and Gallery lies on a serene 1,600 acres in Texas Canyon, so named because so many of the early settlers were from Texas. It’s located a mile or so off Exit 318, Dragoon Road, of the freeway. Turn left down a gravel road, past a small cemetery where early settlers are buried, and you’ll eventually reach a collection of buildings, two of which house the museum and art gallery. You’ll also see horse stables since the museum founder also raised prized horses.
The Amerind Museum houses the Native American artifacts collected by William Shirley Fulton. His collection is said to be one of the finest private collections in the world.
From Alaska to South America
A large room on the ground floor is devoted to artifacts used by Native Americans from the north of Alaska to the tip of South American. Another room is devoted to the history of Texas Canyon and its settlers.
Rooms on the second floor house artifacts, such as baby backboards, and weavings of the Arizona tribes. The collection of rugs and other wall hangings is impressive.
This is a serious, traditional museum, with almost everything lodged in glass cases. What is unfortunate about the objects’ presentations is that descriptions are set in type that is difficult to read because of its size. A majority of the museum visitors are senior citizens, and several commented they didn’t know what they were looking at because they couldn’t read the descriptions.
Art gallery contains Western works
Museum admission includes the Fulton-Hayden Art Gallery with works by well-known Western artists, including Frederic Remington. A small section of a room on the second floor contains William Fulton’s study, which was transplanted from his home in Connecticut.
The art gallery is wheel-chair accessible, but only the entrance to the museum is wheel-chair accessible. The gallery has a tiny elevator to take wheelchairs to the second floor.
The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays.