Open: Wednesdays – Saturdays 10am-3pm

               7000 E Tanque Verde Rd

                The Entrance faces Sabino Canyon Road behind Chase Bank


The Tucson Desert Art Museum first opened to the public on November 1, 2013. It was founded by James E. Conley Jr. (1943-2020) and Rhonda R. Smith as the first executive director. The museum was founded to showcase James Conley’s collection of southwestern art, artifacts, and textiles. Jim started his newspaper career at the Wall Street Journal and purchased his first daily newspaper in 1969. 

He was a world traveler and collector and “believed that he had a responsibility to share his collections with the public so they would always be available for their education and enjoyment. Jim also encouraged the Tucson Desert Art Museum to “actively pursue special exhibitions that address or expose bias in our history, so that we may learn from theses difficult periods and never repeat them.” 


The mission of the museum “is to display art and artifacts of the Desert Southwest and surrounding regions and educate our guests about the history.” As a founder of the Tucson Desert Art Museum, James E. Conley Jr., ordered the museum “never whitewash history.”  “The truth about our past will continue to be part of the Museum’s mission.”


The Dawn of American Landscape

Masterpieces by the preeminent Nineteenth century landscape painters. Works by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas, Moran, Jean-Baptiste-Camile Corot, and other master artists. This collection captures the transcendental spirit of these artists’ search and expression of the sublime.

Hopi Artistry

Immerse yourself in the beautiful arts of the Hopi people.

Weavings of the Dance: Early Yei Textiles

This collection of amazing weavings tells the story of Navajo healing ceremonies. Add a caption Photo taken by Heather Shriver

The Weavings of the Diné

A premier collection of the pre-1940s Navajo textiles, including Chief’s blankets, Eye Dazzlers, Saddle blankets, Germantown weavings, Yei weavings, and child blankets.

 Photo taken by Heather Shriver


Cartography of the Americas


Learn about North American history through and impressive collection of vintage maps from the great mapmakers of the new world.

 Photo taken by Heather Shriver


Teachings of the Spider Woman


Textiles tell stories, and this exhibit helps us to find them in each amazing, uniquely crafted work. 

Photo taken by Heather Shriver


Arizona Women Uncovered

Who would have guessed! Arizona Women Uncovered offers a unique insight into the lives of early pioneer women through the evolution of their undergarments.

Arizona Women Uncovered was curated in collaboration with Claudine Villardito of Black Cat Vintage.



Citizen/Enemy: Japanese American Incarceration Camps

Describes the tragedy of this political action and the resulting repercussions for Japanese Americans. Large-scale images from noted photographer Dorothea Lange, Russel Lee and other memorialize this period and off a guide for reflection in the exhibition.

All the Single Ladies: Women Pioneers of the American West

Tells select stories from trailblazing women’s lives. Meet unmarries 19th century women homesteaders, Harvey girls, boarding house owners, teachers, madams, prostitutes, and entertainers.

 Photo taken by Heather Shriver

The Dirty Thirties: New Deal Photography Frames the Migrants’ Stories

Exploring the journeys of rural migrants fleeing the Dust Bowl, drought, and economic difficulties during the 1930s. This exhibit explores why the migrants left, their journey westward, their experiences living and working in Arizona, and what life could be like for those who traveled onto California.

 Photo taken by Heather Shriver


The Buffalo Soldiers: The 10th Cavalry Regiment Told Through the Art of David Laughlin (1928-2020)



Paints a picture of the daily life of African American soldiers serving in the post- Civil War American West. Through his paintings, drawings, and block prints, artist David Laughlin depicts the 10th Calvary Regiment’s daily activities while stationed in AZ from 1885-1896.   Photo taken by Heather Shriver

Desert Hollywood: Celebrity Landscapes in Cinema

Desert Hollywood explores the “celebrity careers” of prominent Southwestern landscapes in film and television. More than mere backdrops, these landscapes including Monument Valley, the Imperial Sand Dunes, Lake Powell, the Moab area and the Sonoran Desert surrounding Tucson have become familiar, even iconic, through their supporting roles in film. Featuring video clips, stills, and behind-the-scenes photography.

Sacred Walls: Native American Muralism

The Museum celebrates the unique artistry of Native American muralists, via a large mural on the outside wall of the Museum and several floor to ceiling murals within the Museum by notes Native American Artists including Dose, Dwayne Manuel, Jaque Fragua, and Anitra “Yukue” Molina.


1.    “About.” Tucson Desert Art Museum,

2.   Museumm Exhibitions – Tucson Desert Art Museum.