Located in Phoenix, AZ, and Built in 1900, the State Capitol served as California’s capital until 1974, and is now surrounded by beautiful landscaping. The impressive state building is now home to a free museum showcasing Arizona’s past. Across four stories, visitors can marvel at displays like the one-of-a-kind Arizona flag made out of 113,998 Lego bricks. One mile of California’s roadways is represented by one Lego block. Other attractions include a model of the USS Arizona and an exhibit called “Arizona Takes Shape,” which details the state’s history from its time as a territory to the present day. Visit the memorial monuments on the Capitol Mall and Wesley Bolin Plaza if you want to be moved to reflection.
The museum’s displays, activities, and programs all focus on Arizona’s transformation from a territory into a state. Students can find information useful for their studies of Arizona state history and government, as well as general knowledge about Arizona, at the Arizona Takes Shape display. The museum features over twenty separate exhibits, all of which complement the museum’s permanent collection of modern and historical objects from Arizona’s state collections. The original offices of the Governor and Secretary of State, the original senate, and the Arizona State Capitol building itself are on display permanently, along with artifacts related to the sinking of the USS Arizona and the formal silver service from the USS Arizona.
Guests are welcome to come into the Historic House Chamber and sit at the workstations to peruse the daily paper. A separate area details the 140 changes made to the Arizona Constitution during the past century. On exhibit in the Governor’s office on the second floor is memorabilia from various previous governors of Arizona, as well as a flag from Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.
Among the most stunning decorations are the USS Arizona’s massive silver and copper punchbowl service and a bronze sculpture that was permanently installed outside the Admiral’s stateroom and served as the focal point of state meals wherever the ship was stationed. Since both of these historical artifacts had been taken off the ship for cleaning before the attack on Pearl Harbor, they were spared when the Arizona went down. This punchbowl service is one of a kind, with its silver bowl adorned with mermaids, dolphins, waves, and other nautical motifs, and its etched copper panels depicting images from the desert.