The Mesa Historical Museum is devoted to the history of Mesa, Arizona. This museum was established in 1987 by the Mesa Historical Society to preserve the history of Mesa, Arizona.
Locals concerned with preserving Mesa’s history began planning the museum in the 1940s, and it opened to the public in 1966. The original home of the museum was the 19th-century Mesa City Hall. Arizona’s natural history museum is now located here. While the Mesa Historical Museum focuses on the local community’s cultural history, the Arizona Museum of Natural History is dedicated to the study and preservation of the state’s natural history (including archaeology and paleontology).
The Mesa Historical Museum is located at the renovated Lehi Elementary School. On land donated to the Lehi Settlers by the Rogers family in the 1880s, a one-room adobe structure (similar to the recreation in front of the museum) now stands. In the early 1910s, the village had already outgrown the adobe school.
The current building, which was constructed in 1913, replaced the earlier adobe schoolhouse. In the 1920s, the building received an expansion that included two new classrooms. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration constructed an auditorium and an adjacent annex building.
Due to its solid construction, the theater was designated as the official bomb shelter for the neighborhood during the Cold War. The first mechanical cooling system for the school’s main building was installed in the 1950s.
In 1976, after years of restoration, the school was condemned by the Mesa School District and was set for demolition. However, due to the auditorium’s robust structure, it was determined that it would be more expensive to tear it down than to rebuild on the site. The City of Mesa sold the land to the Mesa Historical Museum in 1986.
The Mesa Historical Museum opened its doors in 1987. The museum’s exhibits used to be presented in both the main building and the auditorium. However, due to popular demand and new regulations, the auditorium has been temporarily closed to the public. Since its inception in 2001, the National Register of Historic Places has recognized both the main building and the theater as culturally significant.
The museum’s goal of preserving Mesa and regional history is reflected in its ongoing development and expansion. Visit today!