Arizona State Museum Archives


The Arizona State Museum Archives currently cares for over 1,500 linear feet of paper records in addition to the map collection. Included are original field records, analyses, and manuscripts related to the archaeology of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico and original field records, transcripts of interviews, and manuscripts related to ethnology and linguistics in this same region. Institutional records of the Arizona State Museum itself and related groups are also contained in the archives.


The archives is the repository for the records and manuscripts of numerous archaeological projects carried out by the museum, as early as 1915, under the direction of previous directors Byron Cummings and Emil W. Haury. The archives also contains the files of the Gila Pueblo Foundation, a private archaeological research institution that conducted systematic archaeological surveys over much of the Southwest in the 1930s and 1940s, carried out excavations to define prehistoric culture areas, and published the work as the Medallion Papers (hosted by the Arizona Memory Project).

When Gila Pueblo was disbanded in 1951 by its founder, Harold Gladwin, both the archaeological and ethnographic artifact collections as well as the archival collections of Gila Pueblo were deeded to the Arizona State Museum. As such, the Gila Pueblo records serve as the primary documentation for approximately 1/5 of the museum's catalogued archaeological artifacts and 1/2 of its site survey collections. In addition, this means that the fieldnotes and maps for both landmark excavations at the Hohokam site of Snaketown (Gila Pueblo's in 1934-35 and the museum's in 1964–65) are available under one roof.

The University of Arizona sponsors the longest continuously run archaeological field school in the Southwest; these records too are curated by the museum archives. Several generations of accomplished archaeologists and anthropologists worked and learned at Kinishba, Forestdale, Point of Pines, and the Ringo site. As the department of anthropology completes various aspects of the research and publication of the Grasshopper Field School and the Pinedale Field School (part of the larger Silver Creek Archaeological Research Project), the fieldnotes and documentation from those projects will be deposited with the archives.

The archives has several comprehensive collections related primarily to Southwestern archaeology, including those of Byron Cummings, Emil W. Haury, E.B. Sayles, J.W. Simmons, Watson Smith, Raymond H. Thompson, and William W. Wasley. Additional Cummings materials are curated by the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson. Smaller collections related to specific projects can be found in papers received from J.O. Brew, Julian D. Hayden, Earl H. Morris, Edward H. Spicer, and Richard and Nathalie F.S. Woodbury. The archives also curates the James C. Gifford Ceramic Typology Archives, specific materials from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Statewide Archaeologial Project, and materials from excavations by avocational archaeological societies in Arizona. The latter include the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society (AAHS) work at Guevavi, Whiptail and Tumamoc Hill, and the Arizona Archaeological Society's (AAS) work at Casa de Piedras.

Ethnology and Linguistics

The archives' holdings of fieldnotes and manuscripts related to Southwestern ethnology and linguistics are extensive with the greatest strengths for the Tohono O'odham, Yaqui, Western Apache, and Navajo. These are materials assembled, for the most part, by members of the Arizona State Museum, the University of Arizona department of anthropology, Native Americans, and independent scholars. These materials include transcripts of some of the sound recordings made by the Doris Duke Oral History Project .

Ethnographic fieldwork carried out by the department of anthropology has also made the museum a major resource of information on the Kalinga of the Phillipines. The archives' holdings of Edward P. Dozier's fieldnotes on his work there in the 1960s will be substantially augmented in the future by Department Chair William A. Longacre's current multi-year ethnoarchaeological studies.

Some of the archives' other notable collections include the following:

  • William T. Beaver and Jan R. Bell on Navajo pottery-making
  • N. Ross Crumrine on the Mayo
  • Edward P. Dozier on the Tewa (AAO*)
  • George Eckhart on Spanish Missions in the Southwest
  • Francis H. Elmore on the Navajo
  • Bernard L. Fontana on the Tohono O'odham
  • Grenville Goodwin on the Western Apache
  • Gwyneth Harrington on the Tohono O'odham and Seri (AAO*)
  • Ralph Michelsen on the Seri (AAO*)
  • Thomas B. Hinton on the Cora, Opata, Tarahumara, Yavapai and Western Apache
  • Pal Kelemen on Spanish Colonial Art (AAO*)
  • William H. Kelly on the Cocopa
  • Muriel Thayer Painter on the Yaqui (AAO*)
  • Edward H. and Rosamond B. Spicer Papers on the Tohono O'odham, Yaqui and Seri (AAO*)
  • Clara Lee Tanner on Southwestern Indian Art

* Finding aides for these collections are hosted by Arizona Archives Online (AAO)

Institutional Records

The archives holds the administrative records of the Arizona State Museum itself since its creation by the Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1893. These materials include official correspondence, minutes of meetings and committees, memoranda on policy, annual reports, and financial records as well as analogous materials for the various divisions of the museum, including collections, archaeology, the library, and public programs.

For many years the collections division of the museum has served as the repository for the artifacts, paper records, and photographs resulting from contract archaeological projects conducted throughout the state by public and private research organizations and agencies. Likewise, the permits issued and reports received by the archaeology division for survey and excavation work in Arizona are ultimately deposited into the archives.

Records from projects conducted by the archaeology division itself also come to the archives as they are completed. Past projects include the Sonora-Sinaloa Project, a survey of the prehistoric and historic archaeology in northwestern Mexico, and the Tucson Urban Renewal Project which conducted extensive excavation and research on the historic archaeology of downtown Tucson. The documentary materials from the ongoing surveys and excavations at Homolovi State Park, the Tucson Basin Survey, and the Marana Platform Mound Study will also ultimately be deposited in the archives.

More than twenty years of extensive fieldnotes, analyses, and reports on Arizona archaeology came to the archives from the now defunct highway salvage program and cultural resource management division. Photocopies of out of print reports from these programs can be obtained through the archives. The Arizona Department of Transportation now oversees its own program of cultural resource management. Those Arizona State Museum cultural resource management division contract archaeology reports still in print are available through the University of Arizona Press, along with new monographs in the continuing Arizona State Museum Archaeological Series. Researchers looking for the collections and archival materials from the Arizona State Museum's work on the Salt-Gila Aqueduct Project and Tucson Aqueduct Project should contact the Huhugam Heritage Center (520-796-3500), where these materials are now curated.

The archives also holds files of newspaper clippings related to archaeology and anthropology in the Southwest. Although these are not fully indexed, they are a valuable primary source of information.

Likewise, a collection of posters contains examples of museum exhibition posters, posters printed by tribes and tribal fairs, and artwork by Native American artists.

Finally, the archives is also the repository for the Museum Association of Arizona and for several University of Arizona departments and offices with closely related histories and areas of interest. These include the records of the University of Arizona department of anthropology up to 1980, the entire span of the Bureau of Ethnic Research (1952–1982), and the first 25 years of the Office of Indian Programs (1968–1993).