Tucson, AZ Showcases Unique Art, History and Museums

By Karen Schwartzman on April 29, 2011 at 11:08 am EST

PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Sableman

Tucson's rich history laid the groundwork for its thriving present, complete with an active arts scene and way of life geared towards the outdoors. But the city keeps its roots on display with multiple museums dedicated to its complex past.   Tucson didn't officially become part of the United States until 1854, and prior to that was considered part of Mexico. But its roots go farther, and Tucson is considered one of the oldest continually inhabited areas in North America. Indians lived on the land for 4,000 years before Spanish conquistadors came to town, and Tucson was officially founded on August 20, 1776, a date which is now celebrated annually at Tucson's birthday party, La Fiesta de San Agustín. The city is full of places dedicated to telling its unique story, such as the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, known now as the oldest European-settled city in Arizona, and the Arizona Folklore Preserve.   While Tucson has its fair share of museums dedicated to history, it also offers an interesting mix of unexpected gems. For instance, there's the Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, the only museum of miniatures in the Southwest. The time machine effect comes from the way the museum is set up, which allows guests to take themselves on self-guided tours through different lands. Also located in the city is the Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum, which features 150 horse-drawn vehicles and historic artifacts from pioneer days. Sports fans will appreciate the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame, which honors Pima County residents who have excelled in sports over the years, from high school teams to professional leagues.   Art aficionados will also find a fit in Tucson. Both the Tucson Museum of Art and the University of Arizona Museum of Art showcase generations of great art, while a myriad of galleries feature work from local artists. As far as performing arts, guests will find plenty of that as well. Both the Ballet Tucson and Ballet Arizona are within easy reach, as is the Arizona Theatre Company, which puts on everything from classic plays to musicals.  Photo courtesy of Paul Sableman




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