Last updated: 12/1/2011
Tempe, Arizona
Street Address
809 East Southern Ave
Tempe, AZ 85282
Mailing Address
809 E. Southern Ave
Tempe, AZ 85282
phone: 480-350-5100
Tuesday - Saturday10 AM - 5 PM
Sunday1 PM - 5 PM
Closed Mondays and Major Holidays
No admission charge; donations accepted
Gift Shop
Dr Amy A. Douglass, Museum Manager
phone: 480-350-5100
Jared Smith, Curator of History
phone: 480-350-5110
Dan Miller, Exhibits Coordinator
phone: 480-350-5115
Josh Roffler, Curator of Collections
phone: 480-350-5176

The Tempe History Museum is a community history museum that brings people together to celebrate Tempe's past and ponder its future. The main exhibition, Tempe: Distinct, Diverse, Dynamic, dramatically presents the story of Tempe through a variety of media. The exhibition explores the history of Tempe through four thematic areas—College Town, Building Our Community, Living Together and Surviving in the Desert. New technology and hands-on activities in the Kids’ Place gallery provide oppor-tunities for families to learn together.

Do Your Own Research

The Tempe History Museum has a large variety of resources, both online and at the museum facility, that can assist you in conducting your own research on Tempe history. The Research Library has a specialized collection of books and journals relating to museum administration, artifacts and antiques, and Arizona history. However, the largest part of the library holdings is composed of reference files on families, individuals, and historic buildings, microfilm copies of Tempe newspapers going back to the 1880s, and taped oral history interviews. Anyone who would like to look at materials in the Research Library should make an appointment by calling the museum at (480) 350-5100. However, no materials may be checked out or taken out of the Museum.

The Tempe History Museum Archive is a permanent repository that houses the documentary heritage of Tempe. It contains over 20,000 one-of-a-kind photographs and archival objects dating from Tempe's early origins to its present development as a community. Because of the fragile nature of these materials, access to the collections is by appointment with Richard Bauer, the Curator of Photographs and Archives, at (480) 350-5130

One Hundred (Plus) Years of Football in Tempe

This special exhibit was on display at the Tempe History Museum from November 18, 1995 to March 17, 1996. It can now be viewed on line. The information is updated periodically to keep current with developments in high school, college and professional football as they relate to Tempe. Please see our website for online details.

Preserving Tempe's Architectural Heritage

Doors to the Past takes a look at some of Tempe's favorite historic buildings, from the territorial era businesses along Mill Avenue and the towering Victorian structures at Arizona State University to some charming neighborhoods that can take you back to the 1920s and 30s. Please see our website for online details.


The Tempe Historical Museum is a community history museum that explores Tempe’s identity and builds connections between residents and their community. We recognize the power of history to provide insights for making decisions relevant to contemporary and future life in an ever-changing society. Our museum is a stimulating public forum acting as a catalyst for lively dialogue.

We work together with Tempe’s diverse residents to preserve and tell their stories. The museum comprehensively explores Tempe history through exhibits, activities, speakers, collections, research services, and programs that captivate, connect with and delight audiences throughout the community and beyond. We embrace the important responsibility of collecting and caring for the artifacts and the written, spoken and pictorial records of Tempe. The museum, as a municipal institution, follows the City of Tempe’s values. We adhere to a policy of inclusiveness that provides open access to all of our facilities, operations, and services.


The Tempe Historical Museum (now Tempe History Museum) was founded by the Tempe Historical Society and opened to the public in the east wing of the Tempe Public Library (now the museum building) in 1972. In 1984, the museum became a division of the City of Tempe’s Community Services Department.

In 2006, Tempe voters once again approved a bond that would fund a major renovation of the museum. The new "Tempe History Museum" opened to the public in February 2010. The museum also operates the Petersen House Museum, a restored Queen Anne Victorian house built by one of Tempe's pioneers in 1892.

Artifact Collections

Three-dimensional and archival collections documenting the history of Tempe, Arizona

Educational Programs

Curriculum-based programs for the Tempe Elementary School District; summer hands-on programs for families.



Lecture Halls

Performance Areas


City of Tempe


Access: General Public

Appointment required: Yes


Quarterly online newsletter titled "Time Lines."


Wheelchair Accessible


Gift Shop

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