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Featured Exhibit

Museum Trains Exhibit logo

The introduction of rail service to the area resulted in a transformation of Tempe and the Salt River Valley. The ability to move people and goods in vast quantities resulted in community growth, increased prosperity and significant change. The themes of transportation and transformation are core to this exhibit. The exhibit runs through October 8, 2017.

This exhibit was produced in partnership with Arizona Railway Museum (Chandler) and is made possible through the support of the City of Tempe, Tempe Historical Society, AZ Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  

Click for more information about Trains of Tempe.

Main Exhibit Gallery

The main exhibition hall, entitled, Tempe: Distinct, Diverse, Dynamic, is the heart of the Tempe History Museum. Here the story of Tempe is told interactively through a variety of media and displays. The exhibition explores the history of Tempe using a thematic approach focusing on four topics: Surviving in the Desert, Building Our Community, Living Together and College Town.

Changing Exhibits

The Changing Exhibits Gallery features year-long exhibitions that highlight interesting topics of our community's history and heritage. Our current featured changing exhibit "Trains of Tempe" runs through October 8, 2017.

Thursday, October 5 at 6 pm:

Closing Reception for Trains of Tempe

Reminisce about trains and have a last chance to view the featured exhibit “Trains of Tempe” at this free closing reception. Enjoy musical entertainment by Jimmy Pines and Washboard Jere, some train stories from special guests and light refreshments. The “Trains of Tempe” ends its run on October 8.

Community Room Gallery

The Community Room hosts temporary art exhibits around its perimeter. It now features:  


What the Eye Doesn't See Doesn't Move the Heart:

Migrant Quilts of the Southern Arizona Borderlands

The Migrant Quilt Project is a collaborative effort of artists and quilt makers to express compassion for migrants from Mexico and Central America who died in the Southern Arizona deserts on their way to create better lives for themselves and their families. Materials used in the quilts were collected at migrant layup sites used for rest and shelter on established trails in the Sonoran Desert. The discarded blue jeans, bandanas, work shirts and embroidered cloths are used to make quilts to communicate the reality of migrants’ deaths. The Migrant Quilt Project shares the quilts at exhibits and immigration conferences and on its Facebook page in the hope that viewing them will inspire people to consider the conditions under which our fellow human beings take the ultimate risk to find more secure lives for themselves and their families and that people will be inspired to support humane changes in border policies. Join project representatives for an exhibit opening presentation at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24. This event is free and open to the public.

The Migrant Quilt Project is supported by a grant from the American Quilt Study Group. See more information on the website:  http://migrantquiltproject.org.

Aug. 24 through Sept. 22, 2017



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