Originally founded in 1987 as the tourism arm of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Experience Scottsdale became a standalone organization in 2001. The organization has more than 40 full- and part-time employees, along with a volunteer board of directors composed of local hospitality and tourism industry leaders.
As you explore Old Town’s galleries, restaurants, and cultural institutions, it’s easy to forget that less that just over a century ago, this was the "Wild West." Scottsdale residents don’t want to forget, so in 2015 they created Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. This is a great place to see artifacts like saddles and sheriff badges, as well as appreciate the work of countless artists inspired by the West.
Designed by Studio Ma and completed in 2015 on the former site of Lahoma Train Station, the museum is made up of eight exhibit spaces, a theater, and an outdoor sculpture courtyard. Founded by a group of local philanthropists, it is now owned by the city an run as a non-profit. The first set of exhibits focused on the story of Lewis & Clark as told by the art of Charles Fritz, bronze sculptures by artist John Coleman, a survey of Western-inspired artists, as well as saddles, spurs, and other artifacts collected by A.P. Hays, the owner of nearby Arizona West Galleries. Special exhibitions since then have focused on Western artists such as Charles M. Russel and John Coleman, and groups such as the Taos Society and Scottsdale Craftsmen.
Western Spirit offers lectures, films, and special programs for families and schools. Its nearby some of Old Town’s favorite restaurants and galleries, making it a great place to start or finishing your adventure.
Cover Photo: PamMcP, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.