Since arriving a year ago as the new director of the Sharlot Hall Museum, I have often thought how proud Sharlot would be to see her vision for this museum realized: “I hope to make this building and the grounds around it a center of historical and literary interest and a sort of civic center for the pioneers of Yavapai County and for such organizations of young people as might be benefited or inspired by its ideals and purposes.”
Inspired by Sharlot’s vision, we are finding new ways to reach out and forge relationships with this remarkable community and make our campus a place where visitors can create meaningful connections with history. Our exhibit “Toys! It’s Not All Fun and Games” generated such wonderful conversations among visitors that this year we will be asking guests, “What’s YOUR Toy Story?” Thanks to a grant from the Arizona Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, we will be using PixStori, a new web app, to gather stories from visitors about their own memories of toys. After all, it is the stories that give meaning to these objects.
We are also excited to launch new youth and family focused programs, beginning on January 5 with a monthly “Hands on History” activity in our exhibits. Also this year we will be offering several history camps, and will be partnering with the Launch Pad on a teen curation project. In June we will open a new exhibit, “To The Rodeo Pardner” in a newly created exhibition space in the West Gallery. The exhibit will help launch a big community celebration of the 50th anniversary of Prescott-set Steve McQueen movie “Junior Bonner.”
As you can see, there are many exciting new projects in the pipeline at the Museum, even as we continue our popular monthly Living History Adventure and our Lecture Series. We will continue exploring additional ways we can provide visitors with meaningful connections to the stories of Central Arizona’s rich and diverse history.
I am deeply grateful for the wonderful welcome this community has shown me in my first year. We also invite you to help us “Inspire the Future” as we plan for the museum’s centennial in 2028. Join us in shaping the ongoing story of the Sharlot Hall Museum as we prepare to refresh our permanent exhibits, enrich the archives and continue to grow public programming.
We are so excited to continue pursuing Sharlot’s vision in 2022, through new exhibits, fresh programming, and more—and, as always, could not do it without you.