Step Back In Time and Explore the Pioneer Living History Museum

Step back in time and explore what it was like in the 1800s in Arizona. The museum has over 90 acres of historical buildings, interesting artifacts, and historical furnishings to look at and explore. It is a museum the entire family would enjoy. Today, we have running water and air conditioning, but back then it must have been a challenge.

Some history first about the museum. A group of people concerned about the demolition of historical builds in Arizona decided to form a foundation to save history. Some of these original founders include former Governor Paul Fannin and Senator Barry Goldwater. They purchased 90 acres in north Phoenix and created a museum to preserve and educate about the history of Arizona. In 2010 the land was purchased by the city of Phoenix and the museum leases the land from them. The museum has 10 original buildings and 15 reconstructed buildings that showcase the history of Arizona you can explore. It is interesting reading about each building because it gives a history of how the museum got ahold of the building. Some of the buildings the museum spent time and energy saving.

At the main entrance is the office and gift shop and this is where you buy tickets to enter the museum. With admission, you are provided a map of the village so you can plan out your self-guided tour. There are concrete paths that wander through the village and all you have to do is follow the path.

I spoke with an employee and she said the pandemic has shut down many of the extra events that would run throughout the day. They would have gunfights and have people wandering around historical customs. It is picking up because they were getting ready to host a wedding in the church later in the day.  It looks like it might be getting back to normal.

I spoke with an employee and she said the pandemic has shut down many of the extra events that would run throughout the day. They would have fun fights and have people wandering around historical customs. They regularly host school trips, but when I visited they didn’t have that. They were getting ready to host a wedding in the church later in the day so it looks like it might be getting back to normal.

They do rent out different areas of the museum for special events like the church. They also have a large building where you could host your large party and it even has a dance floor (with an old tractor next to it). I didn’t see anything special going on, but it was still worth the trip because of all the history preserved in one place.

They work with community organizations that would like to help out around the museum. When we visited, there was a Boy Scout troop working on the schoolhouse building for an Eagle Scout project. I also saw several plaques around the property inscribed that it was built by the community.

There are 10 original buildings on display at the museum and here are just two examples. The rest of them I will leave up to you to explore and experience

Ashurst Cabin

This cabin is original and built in 1878 and was the home to Senator Henry Fountain Ashurst when he was a kid. The cabin was saved by the museum by lifting the cabin piece by piece from a box canyon at Ashurst Springs.

Ranch Complex

Parts of the complex include the ranch house, chicken coup, and root cellar that you can look at. The ranch house was built in 1870 and was moved to the museum from Gordon Canyon in Coconino Country. The information says this housed between 4 to 6 people. It isn’t very big so it must have been cosey for everyone.

The museum is easy to drive to. It is in north Phoenix off I-17. All you have to do is take exit 225 which is the Pioneer Road exit. They have a large parking lot and there is plenty of room if you have an RV.

If you’re looking for something fun to do with the family you should head over to the Pioneer Living History Museum. It is an easy walk around the historical buildings of Arizona. Check their website for information on events that might be coming up.

Pioneer Living History Museum
3901 W. Pioneer Road
Phoenix, AZ 85086
https://pioneeraz.org
(623) 465-1052