ASM serves the State of Arizona as its official archaeological repository and as the permitting authority for archaeological activity on state land. In addition to 35,000 cubic feet of archaeological research materials, ASM curates millions of individual archaeological, ethnographic, and modern objects created by the indigenous peoples of the region. It holds the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of American Indian basketry, comprised of 35,000 specimens of woven fiber, representing nearly every major indigenous basket-making culture in North America, and dating back 8,000 years. ASM also holds the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Southwest Indian pottery, with 24,000 specimens dating back 2,000 years. Its photographic and library/archive collections are similarly unparalleled. Its conservation laboratory and preservation program are world-renowned.
Established in 1893, ASM is one of the University of Arizona’s original research units (UA was established in 1885). ASM scholars continue to be leaders in their fields, with research cutting across many disciplines. Each year, ASM hosts students and researchers from around the globe who consult the collections to expand the frontiers of knowledge in archaeology, ethnology, ethnohistory, materials science, climate science, and a variety of other related fields.
In addition to engaging university students through classroom, laboratory, and field instruction, ASM offers a full calendar of public programs celebrating the ancient and enduring cultures of the region, sharing its expertise and collections with visitors of all ages through exhibits, school programs, lectures, hands-on activities, workshops, and travel tours.
ASM is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.