August 2020 to March 2021
For gold and glory, explorers and adventurers came to a vast land that would be called Arizona. Whether searching for mineral riches, trapping for beaver pelts, or seeking a route to the West, they came… they saw… and they conquered. “Exploring Arizona” was an expanded diorama that had been displayed in the Lawler Exhibit Center main gallery from August 2020 through March 2021; parts of the exhibit were relocated to the West Gallery where the informational panels reside today. The exhibit spanned the chronology from the 1540s to the mid-1800s, and identified how the territory we know as Arizona was defined by its terrain and measured by its opportunities. Who surveyed its landscape, mapped its topography, and first viewed its wonders — these earliest Spanish explorations seeking gold, the mountain men and adventurers seeking pathways to riches, and the Anglo and American miners, ranchers, farmers and settlers seeking new beginnings in the Southwest. The exhibit described how “Arizona” got its names, and outlined the treks of such early European explorers as Cardenas, Oñate, Coronado, Kino and Anza, as well as adventurers Sitgreaves, Ives, Powell, and Whipple who mapped the territory that had become part of the United States following the 1848 War with Mexico. “Exploring Arizona” included beaver pelts, “Bucky” and miner’s spoons, early artifacts of settlers, and details of those who mapped the West, including the incongruous Beale Wagon Road survey that used camels for transport across the region.