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    Fort Whipple Museum


    Fort Whipple, established in 1864, was named for Lt. Amiel W. Whipple, who led a military expedition into the area in 1853-54 and established the first access routes to nearby gold fields. The fort served as a tactical base for the United States Cavalry during the Indian Wars of 1864 to 1882, when it was also the information and entertainment center of the Prescott area.

    Fort Whipple lives on today as the Fort Whipple Museum, located on the grounds of the VA Hospital on Hwy. 89 in Prescott. Housed in one of the 1909 military officer’s quarters, the Museum traces the history of Fort Whipple with Living History programs (on the third Saturday of February, May, August and November) and exhibits that include medical instruments, Army weaponry, the Buffalo Soldiers, maps, photographs and memoirs written by those stationed there. Details of upcoming Living History programs are included below.

    In Formation 1890s Officer Quarters, Barracks

    The Museum is a joint project of Sharlot Hall Museum and the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Sharlot Hall Museum provides the exhibits, and the Hospital provides the building. Painted in the original crème with green trim, the museum building is the only structure on their campus done in an authentic color scheme. Signs direct you to the parking lot at the bottom of a small hill. A verdant lawn with large native trees invites you to stroll up the sidewalk to the building. Once you walk up the steps and cross the broad front porch, you enter a historic home with exhibits.

    If you are an historic house enthusiast, you will enjoy touring the first and second floor rooms for their architectural interest alone. If you want to learn the history of Fort Whipple from its beginning in 1864 to the modern-day hospital, it is all there in riveting exhibits with crisp text, historic photographs and compelling artifacts. Friendly, knowledgeable docents will give you a tour of the exhibits and answer any questions you might have.










    Admission is by donation. Fort-Whipple-Museum-Map


    Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays - 10:00 am to 4:00 pm 
    Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

    Ellsworth & Emery Kolb - A Grand Grand Canyon Adventure, Oct. 21

    October 21 -- 2 pm
    “Ellsworth and Emery Kolb: A Grand Grand Canyon Adventure”

    Humanities Lecture Series

    Pioneering Grand Canyon photographers Ellsworth and Emery Kolb began their photographic career in 1902. Over time, they built a studio and home that today encompasses 5,600 square feet, and a business that thrived for more than 70 years.

    The presentation will discuss their bravery, creativity, and perseverance against considerable odds. It’s an exhilarating tale... ultimately of success and victory over competing business and human forces that would have driven them away from the canyon.

    A special feature of the lecture will be an interview of Blanche Kolb, portrayed by Park Ranger volunteer Nettie Klingler. "Blanche" was wife of Emery Kolb, and she helped establish and operate their photography business. She was the perfect counterpoint to her pugnacious and scrappy husband. She was full of grace and charm, and smoothed over many of Emery's spats with the Park Service, the Santa Fe Railway and the Fred Harvey Company.

    Sharlot-Hall-Museum-LecturesAbout the Humanities Lecture Series

    Sharlot Hall Museum is proud to offer this educational lecture series that spans the gamut of our areas history. The series  covers Arizona’s pre-history through more recent history, including the history of the museum itself. The lectures are a fun way to relive and enjoy the past while gaining insight about the many different historical aspects of Prescott and the surrounding area. Each lecture is free, and participants will receive a special admission for the lecture only;  visitation of the Museum is not included with that free admission.

    Frontier Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 2


    "Frontier Christmas Open House" begins at 6 p.m., Dec. 2

    Prescott’s designation as “Arizona’s Christmas City” gets an annual boost as Sharlot Hall Museum presents its “Frontier Christmas Open House” on Saturday, December 3, following the Courthouse lighting ceremony.

    Luminaries, hand-made decorations, hearth-baked cookies, hot tea and cocoa entice locals and out-of-town visitors to celebrate a full dose of holiday spirit and good cheer at the Museum commencing at 6 p.m.

    Sharlot-Hall-Frontier-ChristmasThe evening is designed to infuse guests with the warmth and spirit of “Christmas past” as the Museum puts on its holiday finest. The smell of cookies and hot cider mix with the scent of pines frosted by the December chill.

    Throughout the celebration, “Living History” interpreters regale guests with tales of pioneer Christmas traditions and Arizona’s early history, including Tom Sanders’s account of a Prescott Christmas in the 1860s when “saloon-keepers would get old boots, overalls and old coats... and then put a pint or quart of whiskey in one of the boots or in a pocket in the coats or pants, and hang the tagged garments up Christmas Eve on the trees in the park.”

    That same “brotherly feeling among all classes that peopled the early settlements in the west” (per Sanders) continues to welcome today’s friends and visitors to Prescott’s downtown festivities, and to Sharlot Hall Museum for the small-town hospitality of a “Frontier Christmas Open House.”

    The Museum is located at 415 West Gurley Street, two blocks west of the Courthouse Plaza in downtown Prescott. “Living History” interpreters will be on-hand during regular Museum hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday), close for the Courthouse tree-lighting, and re-open for the “Open House” from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission for the evening holiday festivities is $5, and free to Museum members and children (15 years and under).


    Prescott Culture Opens July 1

    Prescott Culture Urn pottery

    'Prescott Culture' Explored
    In New Museum Exhibit

    New Exhibit Traces Area from 300AD to 1300AD


    Step back in time to a period from 300 AD to 1300 AD here in the Central Highlands of Arizona... to a way of life predating the Anglo-European influence on native cultures... to discover the “Prescott Culture.”

    From the Hohokam influence to the mystery of the Hilltop Sites... from a reproduction pithouse to the presentation of Coalescence of cultures... from the artifacts of an ancient culture to the elaborate and intricate exchange network of the varied peoples of ancient Arizona... from the influence of the Hohokam to the traditions of the “ancient ones” of the Yavapai -- this new, permanent exhibit at Sharlot Hall Museum will surprise you with its presentation, interactive atmosphere and immersive technology.

    The four-phase exhibit draws you through the pottery and artifacts of the time and down into the ancient living structure (a representative pithouse) featuring the classic urn of the native culture. Along the way, interactive exhibit drawers showcase the luxuries and intricacies of desert life in the Central Highlands of the time. At the far end, share a beguiling moment with a native trader with baubles and hand-hewn regalia ready for barter.

    axhead 0041 webEnter into the nearby rotunda with its panoramic setting to discover the legend and lore of the Hilltop Sites. Exhibit panels and a multimedia presentation try to shed light on the people who inhabited the area from 1100 to 1250 AD, and suddenly disappeared.

    The scattered remnants of their existence are exemplified in the sites themselves -- the stone walls and structural remains of forts, or defensive retreats...or houses for habitation...or labrythine lookouts ...or observation posts. Only they know the purpose for these masonry marvels -- walls of stone, hand set and laboriously placed along the many hilltops, buttes and ridges throughout the Central Highlands -- only to be abandoned. Their legacy remains the evidence and innate curiosity of these sites. A short video produced by the Museum tries to explain their impact and the possible uses for these varied sites.

    prescott red on buff 0039 webThe exhibit completes the PreHistory wing of the Lawler Exhibit Center at Sharlot Hall Museum, and the artifiacts, pottery sherds, hand-made beads and utility tools are available for inspection with admission.

    coalescence 0035 web