Wickenburg lies at the meeting ground of several geographic zones: the rugged Mojave Desert to the west, the tree-rich and stream-laced Arizona highlands to the north and east, and the vast Sonoran Desert to the south. Just so, for thousands of years its site has been the meeting ground of many American Indian peoples, each of which has left its mark on the region.
Some of them, such as the Patayan peoples of the desert to the west, are little known even to scholars. Others, such as the Hohokam farmers of the Valley of the Sun, left behind a rich archaeological record that is still being studied today. Episodes in the storied past of the Apache peoples are well known to all students of American history, while the Kwevkapaya and Tolkepaya, or Yavapai, peoples who settled along the Hassayampa River and its tributaries have a rich tradition that offers lessons to all of us about how to live in this arid but generous place.
Gathered over decades, the Museum’s small but very significant collection of American Indian material culture speaks to the arts, crafts, and lifeways of those who came before us. Beadwork, leatherwork, lithics, ceramics, basketry, and other artifacts are on display.