When Ruth & I travel, thing don’t always work out as planned. One day in Phoenix, Ruth and I ended up downtown around noon with time to spare. We remembered touring Arizona’s state capitol but could not recall if we had visited the Arizona Capitol Museum in the old territorial capitol building. The AAA finds it a gem. It seemed time to test our memories and find out if the AAA was right. Some Tripadvisor users were critical of it. For example, Scott W, who visited the same month we did, said this museum was in the middle of Crackville. We saw no evidence of drug use; and I found that Yelp users were far more positive, like the AAA. I found this 4 level state museum different and entertaining, and we were greatly assisted by Sarah at the help desk.
Sarah told us about the current temporary exhibit on the 2nd floor but suggested we begin by viewing the tribute to the USS Arizona. More than 1,000 US sailors and marines died on this battleship during the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was completely destroyed and sank. Its remains became the main Oahu memorial that recalls this attack. Over time what was salvageable has been recovered and the ship is now a military cemetery and marine life haven. The Arizona Capitol Museum has the Arizona’s entire recovered silver service on display and accompanies it with quite a lot of info about this battleship’s fate.
The Arizona Capitol Museum has more than 50 exhibit areas. A lot of them are devoted to this state’s unique history. I did not know, for example, that 250 of the Rough Riders were from what was then the Arizona Territory when they rode with Teddy Roosevelt up San Juan Hill. Not a state until 1912, Arizona was already home to many cowboys, ranchers, and miners who trained near Prescott in 1898 before going to Cuba. This all occurred because handsome Renaissance Guy Wiliam “Buckey” O’Neill–a geologist, traveler, sheriff, gambler, and much more–became a volunteer and captain in Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. There were also display areas devoted to Arizona’s state lottery and one-time impressive copper mining industry. Sarah tracked us down as we learned about this ore to tell us that Chile and Peru were now the copper kings.
One area of this capitol museum is usually devoted to a temporary exhibit. The current one, Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II, is fine. Only there until April 6, “Righting” is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that will next be seen in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Then it will move to St Cloud, MN, Park City, UT, and Las Cruces, NM. It will be in New Mexico well into 2022.
ps At the top is an Arizona map in ASM made of Lego, one for each square mile of this state.