140 N. Main Ave., Tucson
HOURS: Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun. noon–4 a.m.
COST: $8 adult, $6 senior, $3 student
The Tucson Museum of Art’s permanent collection is heavy with mysterious artifacts of the Americas prior to Columbus’s arrival in the New World, the art of the American West, and contemporary art with a Latin flavor. This is a good place to introduce yourself to that tri-cultural mixing that makes Southern Arizona unique. Together known as the “historic block,” five historic homes built in the last half of the 19th century survive next to the museum.
Just beyond the museum’s wide Main Avenue entrance is the oldest of the historic block’s buildings (and probably the oldest building in Tucson ), La Casa Cordova, its two west rooms built several years before the Gadsden Purchase made Tucson part of the United States in 1854. The home is a perfect example of the style of Mexican townhouse that once lined the city’s core, with its central courtyard and entrance right on the street.
A shady courtyard behind the museum’s main building, the Plaza of Pioneers has a wall honoring Tucson pioneers from the Spanish, Mexican, and American periods.