Tag Archives: Heritage Square

What a doll!

Tucked away inside of Heritage Square in Phoenix, just steps from the entrance to the better known Arizona Science Center, is a museum packed with vintage dolls and toys. Think Betty Boop, Raggedy Ann and plenty more. Big dolls and small dolls. Boy dolls and girl dolls. Dolls in dollhouses, dolls in baby carriages — even dolls in a classroom complete with blackboard and dunce chair.

A couple of moms were walking through with their children, from preschool through early middle school age, when I arrived. Both moms and children were excitedly pointing things out to one another. The giant dollhouse with panels to each side that swing open into additional rooms. The intricate lace dresses with accessories like parasols, hats and gloves. And unexpected items like toy train sets.

Once I’d finished touring the museum, I had nearly as much fun poking around the gift shop — where I spotted items for folks of all ages. I spied several gifts I wish I’d known about when my daughters were dancing in “The Nutracker,” including a trinket box that looks a lot like Mother Ginger and a minature grandfather clock with adorable mouse. Also lots of things perfect for grandmothers, small artists and others.

My favorite finds included “Cinderella” and other miniature books, several sets of nesting dolls, a couple of Star Wars items, coloring books free of pop culture influence, finger puppets and lots of accessories with vintage images of dolls, children, pets and more. I came home with several items for my college-age daughters, and a little something for my mother-in-law too.

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Originally the museum was “The Stevens House,” built in 1901. But today each room houses dolls along shelves, inside display cases and in other settings. My favorites sit near a fireplace and small wooden rocking horse, which looks like a smaller verion of the one my mother built from scratch for my son Christopher. Also the school room, where a tall display case houses “Gepetto’s Workshop” and blackboard drawings include a music scale.

The home’s hallway is filled with photos in what look like antique frames. Inside one frame there’s a charming list titled “Rules of Teachers 1872.” Rule #3 notes that “Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.” Rule #6 states that “Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.”

Apparently teachers were permitted to read the Bible or “other good books” after putting in a ten hour work day, and those who performed “without fault for five years” received an extra 25 cents pay per week. Job duties included whittling writing instruments, cleaning chimneys and bringing two items to school each day — a bucket of water and a scuttel of coal.

The Arizona Doll and Toy Museum is also close to the Rosson House Museum and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, so you can enjoy several museums during a single outing. If you go before the holidays, take time to explore the museum gift shops for last-minute goodies (all my purchases at the Arizona Doll and Toy Museum were tax free). You’ll be finishing off your list while supporting the ongoing gift of arts and culture to all our families.

— Lynn

Note: Always check museum hours, location/parking details and admission costs before heading out. I paid just $3 for admission to the Arizona Doll and Toy Museum.

Coming up: What’s your sign?

Photos: Lynn Trimble


A day to discover and dream

I caught a wonderful whiff of curry Tuesday night as I passed an Indian restaurant on my way to a “Talk Cinema” event at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, which reminded me of this weekend’s “Discover India” festival at “Historic Heritage Square” — home to the Rosson House Museum in downtown Phoenix.

Event organizers describe “Discover India” as a “free celebration featuring a cultural show, food fair, festival parade, clothing & jewelry bazaar, cooking demonstrations” and more — including special activities for children.

My daughter Jennifer at a previous Discover India festival

I attended a “Discover India” festival many years ago with my daughter Jennifer and her best friend Brenna, who had their pictures taken in traditional Indian garb, shopped for matching bracelets and tasted all sorts of street food with Indian flair. They’re still close friends, though one attends ASU in Tempe and another UA in Tucson.

Heritage Square is located near the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, so you can make a whole afternoon of it. Youth who head to the museum today can participate in something called the “Dream Rocket Project,” which will culminate in the creation of 32,000 sq. ft. work art “providing a tangible demonstration of the beauty of individuals collaborating to meet universal challenges.”

The hectic holiday season is rapidly approaching, making today one of your last chances to enjoy family time unfettered by thoughts of cooking, cleaning or hunting for holiday gifts. Seize the moment, wherever it may take you.

— Lynn

Note: For additional ideas on enjoying family together time, visit the online calendar for Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

Coming up: Holiday happenings on Valley stages

Alice (and Phoebe) in Wonderland

Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix presents "Alice in Wonderland" in downtown Phoenix

Lizabeth came downstairs one morning after watching a movie she’d rented online. She was eager to tell me about this tale of a family living with a young girl who is “different” — and who becomes involved with the world of theater.

The film, a 2008 ThinkFilm production, is titled “Phoebe in Wonderland.” It’s made the film festival rounds and earned accolades including a Heartland “Truly Moving Picture Award.”

It reminded me that our own Valley Youth Theatre, whose alumni include Emma Stone (recent nominee for a “best actress” Golden Globe Award), will perform “Alice in Wonderland” Feb 4-20 at the VYT theater in downtown Phoenix. Update: Show extended through Feb 27.

I was delighted to see familiar youth on the cast list, including Nathan Naimark (Footman/Executioner) — whose mom Dana Wolfe Naimark was the subject of a recent “Stage Mom” post.

While the young Naimark is readying for opening night, his mother — the head of Children’s Action Alliance — is contending with budget cuts that impact Arizona children in all sorts of ways.

I suspect she’ll be experiencing a few of her own “Tweedledee” and “Tweedledum” moments in the coming weeks and months.

But back to the fabulous cast of VYT’s “Alice in Wonderland” — which includes Maddy Rathbun (Alice), Alex Acosta (Mad Hatter), and Lindsey Brown (Queen of Hearts).

Couple VYT's non-musical "Alice in Wonderland" with a tea party, arts & crafts or puppet play

Were my girls a decade or so younger, I’d be working to put together an “Alice in Wonderland” weekend of sorts — having friends over to explore the Lewis Carroll tale via movies, books, puppet theater and the live VYT performance (which is a non-musical).

Kids can get some serious arts and crafts projects out of “Alice in Wonderland” characters and themes — objects changing size, roses painted different colors, playing cards that come to life.

Even a tea party at home, in the park or a charming Valley venue — such as the Teeter House at Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix — would be fun.

I suspect that the sets and costumes for VYT’s “Alice in Wonderland” will inspire hours of imaginative play. And who knows, your own son or daughter might discover that live theater is most wonderful wonderland of all.

— Lynn

Note: Heartland Truly Moving Movies is a non-profit organization whose work includes an annual film competition for works by high school students. Entries for the 2011 Heartland High School Film Competition are being accepted through June 1, 2011. Those who enter before April 15 pay no submission fee, and will be considered for a scholarship to attend “Prodigy Camp.”

Coming up: Other youth theater works coming to Valley stages, Arizona Girlchoir offerings, Musings on art and rock ‘n’ roll, Nuclear weapons take center stage, Summer camp meets glee club

Must-see museums for holiday visitors

Visit the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa to enjoy this bead exhibit, a special NASA exhibition and plenty of hands-on activities

Truth be told, I never met a museum I didn’t like — and Arizona is home to plenty of them, many with very focused collections ranging from beads to military memorobilia.

When friends and family visit for the holidays, it’s hard to hit them all.  So here’s a roundup of some of my favorite Valley museums…

First, in the East Valley, a double whammy of sorts…

The Arizona Museum for Youth is Mesa features permanent and visiting exhibits that are especially hands-on and child-friendly. 

It’s right next door to the Arizona Natural History Museum, which sports the best dinosuars in town as well as plenty of other kid-pleasing exhibits.

Our children couldn't get enough of the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa when they were younger

With the Mesa Arts Center and so many shops and cafes nearby, this neck of the woods makes for a lovely outing for hometown and out-of-town folks alike.

Our newest museum is truly global in nature — featuring musical instruments and music-related artifacts from more than 50 countries and regions around the world.

The Musical Instrument Museum, or MIM, is located in north Phoenix but close to many Scottsdale shopping and entertainment destinations. Still, it’s located in a serene desert setting that features the beauty of open sky and native plants.

This global Musical Instrument Museum features hands-on activities, wireless audio guides, video of instruments being played in their settings of origin, a music theater and more

Here, musical instruments are coupled with the sights and sounds of people making music in their home countries and natural environments — so you enjoy a visual feast of history, culture, religion, art and more.

There’s even a large “Experience Gallery” full of diverse types of instruments, big and small, that beckon visitors to play them. It’s a refreshing change from the ‘don’t touch’ policies of so many of the museums I grew up with — and a sure way to convert folks of all ages who insist that all museums are bound to be boring.

The Heard Museum has Phoenix and Scottsdale locations that feature artwork with appeal to visitors of all ages

Arizona boasts many museums that exhibit the works of native peoples, but the single largest collection of American Indian arts and culture is housed in the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix.

It too features lovely, open outdoor spaces and items of interest to folks of all ages (including animal depictions favored by the younger set).

Thanks to the light rail system, it’s easy to travel from the Heard Museum to other downtown destinations — including performing arts venues like the Herberger Theater Center and Symphony Hall.

The Phoenix Art Museum is full of nooks and crannies that make exploring especially fun, and it features all sorts of modern technology that will update your perspective on how modern art is being created and delivered.

The RACE Exhibit at the Arizona Science Center is full of hands-on activities and interactive features

The Phoenix Art Museum is at one end of a grassy courtyard that’s also home to Arcadia Farms resturant and Phoenix Theatre — so a trip the this museum is easily coupled with taking in a show or enjoying some lovely time outdoors.

Downtown Phoenix is home to two especially family-friendly museums, the Arizona Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix — plus smaller museums like the Arizona Latino Arts and Culture Center.

The Arizona Science Center features many diverse exhibits, including one titled “RACE: Are We So Different?” All are hands-on and intriguing for both children and adults.

The Arizona Science Center is located at Phoenix’s Heritage and Science Park, home to the historic Rosson House and other smaller specialty museums. It’s also within walking distance of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

The Shuff-Perini Climber is one of many kid-friendly, hands-on adventures that await you at the Children's Museum of Phoenix

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix features hands-on exhibits and activities that are fun for even the very young.

Newer installations include a giant climber that gives children plenty of ways to use both mind and muscles.

Two other destinations of note if art adventures strike your fancy…

 There’s Old Town Scottsdale, featuring art galleries, quaint shops and plenty of restaurant choices.

Old Town is near the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art — so it makes for a full day of visual and performing arts adventures.

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is one of many places to enjoy art in Old Town Scottsdale

And there’s Arizona State University, home to several museums and performing arts venues both big and small.

There’s plenty of greenery and open space at the center of campus, so you can explore various attractions while enjoying the outdoors — and find several places for food and drink.

Which museums you choose will reflect your own interests and geographical preferences, but I’m especially grateful this holiday season to live in a metropolis with ready access to arts and culture for folks of all ages.

— Lynn

Note: Learn about Arizona’s diverse museums by exploring the Central Arizona Museum Association website here. Always call ahead for days/times of operation, locations/directions and costs of exhibits/special events.

Coming up: Black Friday and beyond — arts & culture style; Art activities for airline travel with kids; Celebrating the holidays — chorale and symphony style

Art news you can use

Jennifer Campbell piece from Artlink Heritage Square Gallery

If you’re a parent, you’re an arts educator. And a literacy specialist. And a P.E. coach. And a math tutor. And more.

So how can you stay abreast of arts news and opportunities that may impact your child’s arts experiences inside and outside of the classroom?

Check out the online newsletter from the arts learning department at the Arizona Commission on the Arts–which simply and succinctly shares news of interest to both parents and professional arts educators.

Art can get overlooked in the classroom for many reasons. Sometimes teachers don’t understand the intrinsic value of arts or its benefits to enhancing skill and understanding in other academic subjects.

Christine Mesiti work from Artlink Heritage Square Gallery

Sometimes teachers feel intimidated by the arts. Often they simply don’t have the resources of time or money to invest in arts-related activities.

A well-informed and genuinely interested parent can prove an invaluable support for teachers who have the will, but not the way, to foster student arts experiences. And the arts learning newsletter is a great way to stay informed.

Here’s just a brief sampling of the ideas and opportunities noted in the latest issue…

Tara Logsdon work from Artlink Heritage Square Gallery

Arts learning programs

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest open to all Arizona students in grades 9-12. Participating teachers receive free materials and participating students are eligible for scholarship opportunities. Schools can register on or after Aug 16.

Arts learning professional development

Mary Jenae Sanchez work from Artlink Heritage Square Gallery

The 21st Century Skills Map provides teachers with educator-created examples of how to fuse a broad range of arts (dance, music, theater, visual and media arts) with other areas to promote student knowledge and skills essential to the 21st century workforce.

Arts advocacy

Initial legislation passed at the sub-committee level on July 15 approved level funding ($40 million) for the U.S. Department of Arts in Education (part of the U.S. Department of Education).

Angelica Jubran-Bishara work from Artlink Heritage Square Gallery

Also in July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation designating the second week of September as “Arts in Education Week“–which is the first Congressional expression of support for all disciplines comprising arts education.

Funding opportunities

Online letter of inquiry applications to the MAP Fund–which provides project-specific funds to playwrights, choreographers, directors, performers and composers experimenting in any performance tradition or discipline–will be available starting Sept 15.

Jennifer Campbell work from Artlink Heritage Square Gallery

The letter of intent deadline for the Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship program, a national initiative to revitalize outstanding art teachers, is Nov 12. Eligibility guidelines allow arts teachers working in specialized public arts high schools and arts-focused magnet and charter schools to apply.

Art exhibit opportunities

The Artlink Heritage Square Gallery is seeking a wide variety of visual media from high school students across the country to display in their first ever group show in November. Submission deadline is Sept 3.

Christine Messiti work from Artlink Heritage Square Gallery

The statewide Faces of Afterschool art project is seeking self-portraits for possible exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix as part of national Lights Out Afterschool. Deadline is Aug 30.

These are just a few of the tidbits I found in the latest online newsletter of the arts learning department at the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

It also features information on arts-related research and reports, arts-related conferences, exhibition opportunities for student-related outreach programs and more–with links you can follow to learn more or get involved. Click here to read it yourself.

Jennifer Campbell work from Artlink Heritage Square Gallery

Special thanks to Mandy Buscas, Arts Learning Director, and Alex Nelson, Arts Learning Coordinator, for helping us all stay up to date on the latest and greatest arts learning news in Arizona.

And thanks to all you parents who support your local arts teachers with gifts of time, talent, information and advocacy. Together we’re assuring that America keeps art in its heart.


Note: Artwork photos are from the Artlink Heritage Gallery WordPress blog at www.artlinkhsgallery.wordpress.com. Click here to subscribe to the arts learning newsletter and/or other publications from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Coming up: Where art meets civics, Valley theaters launch seasons with exciting show selections, Arizona performers dance their way to the Radio City Rockettes, Finding fall arts classes

Museum matters

On any given day, you’ll likely find a good 2.3 million of your fellow Americans marveling their way through one or more of the country’s 17,500 or so museums, according to the American Association of Museums

Stop monkeying around--let's celebrate International Museum Day!

If you’ve enjoyed a trip to the Phoenix Zoo lately, you can probably guess which type of museum wins the national popularity contest. It’s the perennial favorite of young and old alike: the zoo.

Second in popularity, according to the AAM’s “2006 Museum Financial Information Survey,” is the science/technology museum–something you’ve likely surmised if you’ve ever enjoyed a day at our own Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix.

Rounding out the top three are the country’s arboretums and botanical gardens–something we enjoy several of here in Arizona. Think Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix’s Papago Park. Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior. Even the Arboretum at Arizona State University in Tempe. 

Chidren’s/youth museums rank fourth, and again we enjoy several choices in Arizona–including the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

Fifth in overall popularity nationwide are natural history/anthropology museums. Arizona has the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, the Deer Valley Rock Art Center and many more. 

Surprisingly, art museums rank just sixth. You’d never know it based on the popularity of our own Phoenix Art Museum and the wealth of smaller art museums throughout the Valley and state–including the University of Arizona Museum of Art, the ASU Art Museum, the Shemer Arts Center and others.

Seventh in popularity are nature centers, like our own Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix–where families can enjoy

Who says museums are for the birds?

activities like animal encounters, bird walks and spring nature story times.

General museums rank eighth in popularity nationwide–followed by specialized museums, historic houses/sites and history museums. 

Arizona offers spectacular choices among specialized museums from the new Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix to the Bead Museum in Glendale. 

Historic houses and sites in Arizona include the Arizona Capitol Museum, the Rosson HouseMuseum at Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix and more. 

History museums abound in Arizona–including the following museums featuring the histories of local cities and towns: Cave Creek Museum, Chandler Museum, Gilbert Historical Museum, Mesa Historical Museum, Scottsdale Historical Museum and many others. 

You may have gathered by now that I’m looking at a “cheat sheet” of sorts in rattling off the names of these Arizona museums. It’s the “Museum Listed by Type” page on the Central Arizona Museum Association website. 

Jump on the CAMA website to learn about special offers and admission discounts available around the Valley in celebration of International Museum Day (May 18th is the special day, but museum specials vary so check individual museums for details). 

Hey--I can see lots of museums from way up here!

You’ll find savings and special promotions for museums such as the Arizona Military Museum, the Arizona Museum for Youth, the Deer Valley Rock Art Center, the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Pueblo Grande Museum, the River of Time Museum, the Rosson House Museum, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Superstition Mountain Museum, Surprise Historical Society and the Bead Museum.

A few quick tips as you’re heading out the door to explore…

Call ahead to verify location, hours and admission pricing.

Be sure your child is well rested and has had plenty to eat/drink.

Take along a camera to capture museum memories.

Bring your ‘gift list’ for upcoming birthdays, graduations and other special occasions so you can hit the museum gift shop for unique gift items.

Most importantly, tell a friend what you see so they can enjoy the fun too! 


Note: I’ll have more to share tomorrow on why museums matter–culturally, economically and beyond. “On Exhibit” listings of exhibits and gallery showings around the Valley are always available online at the Raising Arizona Kids magazine online calendar.

 Coming up: Preview of “In the Heights” at ASU Gammage

Photos: Christopher Trimble (at the Phoenix Zoo)