Museum/Heritage Resources

 

Graham County’s deep history gives visitors the opportunity to explore a variety of cultures and topics. Learn about the ancient world of Native Americans, the old west, science, and astronomy. See everything from old dwellings to artifacts at the area museums and heritage sites all located within Graham County.

 

 

Mill's Collection

Mill’s Collection

 

The Mills Collection, is a significant assortment of ancient Native American pottery and other fascinating and colorful artifacts.

 

Click for more information

The Mills Collection, is a significant assortment of ancient Native American pottery and other fascinating and colorful artifacts. It was donated to the Eastern Arizona College in 1983 by Jack and Vera Mills of Elfrida, AZ.

 

The collection contains artifacts from what is known as the Salado Period (1250 A.D. to 1450 A.D.), and is an extensive display of culture and lifestyle of the people who inhabited the region long ago.

 

Contact Information:

Eastern Arizona College
Thatcher, Arizona 85552
928.428.8320

website

Discovery Park

Discovery Park

 

The idea of a visitor's center for the Mt. Graham International Observatory (MGIO) in Safford begin in the mid-1980s.

 

Click for more information

The idea for a visitor’s center for the Mt. Graham International Observatory (MGIO) in Safford began in the mid-1980s. Plans for the center quickly expanded and eventually became known as Discovery Park, an education and entertainment retreat, emphasizing the science and culture of the Gila Valley, from mining and agriculture to space exploration.

 

The University of Arizona donated a research-grade 20” Cassegrain reflector telescope and dome for the Gov Aker Observatory. The Vatican Observatory donated a radio telescope and loans several exhibits to the park, including an astrolabe made in 1608 and the Mertz Telescope, constructed in 1870 in Morocco. A full-motion simulator takes guests on a ride past Mt. Graham to tour the solar system. As the park grew, Nature’s Hideaway was added as a riparian habitat just east of the Gov Aker Observatory. And a replica of an 1860s steam locomotive delivered guests to the Circle D ranch past the wildlife habitat.

 

In the summer of 2006, the park came under the control of Eastern Arizona College’s Governing Board. The park now has a much better foundation upon which it can thrive as an educational campus, emphasizing science and technology for the leaders of tomorrow.” The park, which is now known as Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus, will continue as a multi-purpose educational facility. The MGIO Tours will continue and the facility will still be available for group rentals. EAC classes such as Rocketry and Environmental Biology will continue, and the College will be planning additional course offerings and events which will allow students and the community to take advantage of the unique environmental, technological, and educational features of the park.

 

Open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday, 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

 

Contact Information:

Eastern Arizona College's
Discovery Park Campus
1651 W. Discovery Park Blvd.
Safford, AZ 85546
928.428.6260
e-mail: discoverypark@eac.edu

website

Eastern Arizona Museum

Eastern Arizona Museum and Historical Society

 

Arizona Museum and Historical Society of Graham County located in Pima, Arizona operates an ever-expanding facility.

 

Click for more information

Arizona Museum and Historical Society of Graham County located in Pima Arizona operates an ever-expanding facility. One area of the museum features a broad variety of displays from pioneer days to present. There are also multitudes of photos and family histories archived. Another area of the museum includes Indian artifacts from the region, representative of various cultures.

 

Also on the grounds is an automotive and agriculture museum,which is presently being developed.

 

Hours are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 to 3 p.m.. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

 

Contact Information:

(Main and Highway 70)

2 North Main

Pima, AZ 85543

928.485.9400

website

 

 

Fort Grant

Fort Grant Historical Museum

 

One of the least known museums in the area is housed in the lobby of the administration building at Fort Grant, now a state prison facility.

 

Click for more information

One of the least known museums in the area is housed in the lobby of the administration building at Fort Grant, now a state prison facility. The administration building is outside the grounds and is open to the public.

 

The museum displays items from the time that Fort Grant was a military installation on up through its history as a state reformatory and later as a state prison. The collections include many items found on the grounds dating back to the late 1800s as well as a multitude of historic military photos.

 

Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

 

Contact Information:

15500 S. Fort Grant Rd.

Willcox, AZ 85643

928.828.3393

Graham County Chamber of Commerce

Graham County Chamber of Commerce

 

Displays of modern day local industries and dioramas dipicting prehistoric settlements in Graham County are feature at the Graham County...

 

Click for more information

Displays of modern day local industries and dioramas depicting prehistoric settlements in Graham County are featured at the Graham County Chamber of Commerce along with brochures, maps and information relevant to the Graham County area.

 

Contact Information:

Graham County Chamber of Commerce

1111 Thatcher Blvd.

Safford, AZ 85546

928.428.2511 or 1.888.837.1841

website

San Carlos Apache Cultural Center

San Carlos Apache Cultural Center

 

The San Carlos Apache Cultural Center exhibits a window into the tribe's culture and history.

 

Click for more information

The San Carlos Apache Cultural Center exhibits a window into the tribe's culture and history. The center is the first one of its kind on the San Carlos Reservation and it allows the tribe to tell its story from the Apache perspective.

 

In the exhibit, visitors will learn about the spiritual beginnings of the people, of the Mountain Spirit Dancers (Ga'an) and of the beautiful changing woman ceremony, known today as the Sunrise Ceremony.

 

Visitors will learn of the Apaches' cultural legacy and about the forced confinement of the people on the reservation. There are also information and displays about the tribe today and its vision for the future.

 

The center features the works of many Apache artists and craftspeople. Beautiful necklaces of peridot, hand-made dolls and intricately woven baskets accent the gift shop, along with beadwork, moccasins and Apache music. The gift shop also has T-shirts, postcards, books and other reservation memorabilia.

 

The San Carlos Apache Cultural Center is located in Peridot, at mileage marker 272, on Highway 70 between Globe and Safford. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free to tribal members and $3 for other adults. Students and seniors pay $1 and children under 12 are admitted free.

 

Contact Information:

Apache Nde Nation Chamber of Commerce

P.O. Box 1240

San Carlos, Arizona 85550

928.475.2894

website

Black Hills Back Country

Black Hills Back Country Byway

 

The Black Hills Back Country Byway is unpaved, but is accessible to high clearance vehicles during dry weather.

 

Click for more information

    The Black Hills Back Country Byway is unpaved, but is accessible to high clearance vehicles during dry weather. Portions of the byway have narrow drop-offs or are confined by steep cliffs. Do not attempt the byway if you have a travel trailer or any vehicle more than 20 feet long. Motor homes and trailers can be left at parking areas provided near kiosks at each end. Please take extra care to drive defensively on this route. Always expect a vehicle around the next bend and remember: mountain courtesy gives uphill traffic the right of way.

     

The Black Hills Back Country Byway offers 21 miles of back country driving adventure through the northern end of the Peloncillo Mountains in southeastern Arizona. Along the Byway are sweeping views of the Black Hills, Gila Mountains, Mount Graham, and the Gila River Valley. Major attractions seen from the Byway include the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA) along the Gila River, the Phelps Dodge Copper Mine at Morenci, a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp, over 100 erosion-control structures, and a historic prison labor camp. Side trips off the Byway provide access to the Gila River and spectacular overlooks of the Gila River Canyon within the NCA.

 

Contact Information:

Bureau of Land Management

711 14th Ave.
Safford, AZ 85546
928.348.4400

 

website

Gila Box

Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area

 

The 23,000-acre Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is truly an oasis in the desert.

 

Click for more information

    The 23,000-acre Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is truly an oasis in the desert. It has four perennial waterways - the Gila and San Francisco rivers and Bonita and Eagle creeks, which are the lifeline for this remarkable place. The Gila River canyon section, known as the Gila Box, is composed of patchy mesquite woodlands, mature cottonwoods, sandy beaches, and grand buff-colored cliffs. Bonita Creek, popular for birdwatching, hiking, and picnicking, is lined with large cottonwoods, sycamores, and willows. The perennial creek and riparian vegetation make this a cool year-round desert oasis.

     

Cliff dwellings, historic homesteads, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and over 200 species of birds make this year-round watery desert refuge worth the short drive from Safford.

 

The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is located 20 miles northeast of Safford in Graham and Greenlee counties.

 

Contact Information:

Bureau of Land Management

Safford Field Office

711 14th Ave.
Safford, AZ  85546
928.348.4400

website

Turkey Creek Cliff Dwelling

Turkey Creek Cliff Dwelling

 

Nestled in the northern foothills of the Galiuro Mountains of southeastern Arizona lies Turkey Creek, a small riparian canyon that flows into Arava...

 

Click for more information

    1. Nestled in the northern foothills of the Galiuro Mountains of southeastern Arizona lies Turkey Creek, a small riparian canyon that flows into Aravaipa Creek.  Lined with large sycamore, Arizona walnut, and Arizona white oak trees, this narrow canyon provides a quiet retreat for picnicking and camping.  Numerous small pull-outs along the three-mile length of the canyon are perfect for primitive camping.  Day hiking is easy along the canyon bottom, a jumping off point to the east entrance of Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness.  Colorful birds, as well as an occasional deer, javelina, or even a coatimundi, can be seen on early morning walks along the dirt road.  A short trail leads to a prehistoric cliff dwelling; remnants of 120 years of homesteading and ranching are visible in the canyon.  Due to its rich natural and cultural resources, part of Turkey Creek has been identified as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern by BLM.

    .

The Turkey Creek cliff dwelling is one of the most intact structures of its kind in southeastern Arizona. It was probably occupied for a few months each year by prehistoric farmers around 1300 A.D.  These people, of the Salado culture, probably collected plants along Turkey Creek, grew corn, and hunted wild animals. Salado farmers disappeared suddenly around 1450 A.D.

 

Contact Information:

Bureau of Land Management

Safford Field Office

711 14th Avenue

Safford, AZ 85546-3321

928.348.4400

website

Columbine Visitor Station

Columbine Visitor Information Station

 

(Located in the Columbine Corrals Campground) In 1933, the Civilian Conservatio Corps built the Swift Trail (AZ 366) to ease access.

 

Click for more information

    (Located in the Columbine Corrals Campground) In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the Swift Trail (AZ 366) to ease access. Later they built the visitor center to house the firefighters and forest workers, and to provide a center for information about area attractions. Today, there is a bookstore which provides all kinds of books, maps and educational gifts.

     

    Location:36 miles SW of Safford, US 191 and AZ 366.

     

    Contact information:

    Safford Ranger District
    Coronado National Forest
    P.O. Box 709
    Safford, AZ  85548

928.428.4150

The Old West Highway

The Old West Highway

 

Discover 600 years of Western history along a route steeped in legend. From lost civilizations to the site of Billy the Kid's first murder...

 

Click for more information

Discover 600 years of Western history along a route steeped in legend. From lost civilizations to the site of Billy the Kid’s first murder, the Old West Highway is the home of desperate gunfighters, Apache warriors, and lost gold.

General Kearny Encampment Monument

General Kearny Encampment Monument

 

More than 150 years ago, early explorers passed through this same area, recording their accounts of its wildlife, geology, and culture.

 

Click for more information

More than 150 years ago, early explorers passed through this same area, recording their accounts of its wildlife, geology, and culture. The Kearny Camp Monument commemorates the site where General Stephen Watts Kearny and his Army battalion camped on October 27, 1846, en route to California during the Mexican-American War.

 

Contact Information:

 

website

Sanchez CCC Camp

Sanchez CCC Camp

 

The historic remains of the Sanchez Camp are located across the Gila River from Safford. This Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was...

 

Click for more information

The historic remains of the Sanchez Camp are located across the Gila River from Safford. This Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was occupied from 1935 to 1936 by Company 2867. Approximately 200 men were stationed at the camp, primarily from Texas and Arizona.

 

The enrollees worked directly with the Soil Conservation Service on the Gila Watershed Project, to counteract erosion problems plaguing the area. This was the second largest watershed project in the nation at that time. Several buildings and a system of rock-lined pathways are visible at the site.

 

Contact Information:

 

website

Soldier Creek

Soldier Creek Campground

 

Campsites at Soldier Creek are nestled in a forest grove where large granite boulders sculpted by the forces of nature help separate the...

 

Click for more information

 

Campsites at Soldier Creek are nestled in a forest grove where large granite boulders sculpted by the forces of nature help separate the sites and add to the area’s scenic beauty. A short walk from camp, an abrupt drop-off provides good views of the lower slopes of the Pinaleños, of the Aravaipa Valley and the Galiuro and Winchester mountains.


Soldier Creek is especially popular with campers during mid-summer because it is one of the coolest areas on the mountain. The area is also popular with the mountain’s large black bear population in the summers, so be doubly careful with food and garbage.


The Grant Goudy Ridge Trail #310 sets out from the south end of the campground and leads down the mountain’s slopes to the vicinity of Fort Grant, a historic outpost that is now an Arizona State Prison Facility.

 

Soldier Creek Campground is located in the Pinaleño Mountains 37.5 miles southwest of Safford.

 

Contact Information:

Safford Ranger District

711 14th Avenue, Suite D

Safford, AZ 85546

928.428.4150

website

 

Museum Map