Message from Mary -

March certainly arrived like a lion. Beautiful as all this snow is, I'm looking forward to some more lamb-like weather and eventually some spring flowers. While we may not see those flowers until April or May, we have lots to look forward to at the Museum this month, including fun activities for kids during spring break next week. It's another example of our efforts to broaden our engagement with visitors and the community, as identified in our Strategic Plan.

This is also the final month for the exhibition Baje Whitethorne Sr: Náátsʼíilid/Rainbow Light, which has been nominated for a Viola Award in Visual Art. If you haven't seen it yet, come in to enjoy a burst of vibrant color by one of Flagstaff's preeminent artists. Then come back on March 25 for a closing event to celebrate Baje and this marvelous exhibition, which was curated by another Viola honoree - Alan Petersen.

Alan has been the Fine Art Curator at MNA since 2005 and is being recognized this year with the Viola Legacy Award, a well-deserved distinction. Alan also curated Vast Lands, Inner Visions: The Art of Joella Jean Mahoney, another must-see exhibit at the museum, and he has other exhibitions in the works.

To give you more time to see all these wonderful exhibitions, we switched to our summer hours. The Museum is now open until 5 pm, Wednesday through Monday.

I hope to see you soon at the museum.

Mary Kershaw
Executive Director & CEO
Museum of Northern Arizona
Alan Petersen receiving Viola Legacy Award
As the MNA Curator of Fine Art, Alan Petersen has curated exhibitions by such notable artists as Gunnar Widforss, Joella Jean Mahoney, Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, Merrill Mahaffey, Bruce Aiken, Ed Mell, Curt Walters, Shonto Begay, Baje Whitethorne, and Tony Foster, among many others. He is currently working on an exhibition about the role that the Fred Harvey Company and Santa Fe Railroad played in promoting tourism in the Southwest during the early twentieth century.
Outgoing Board President Troy Gillenwater
Another Viola Nominee, this time in the category of philanthropy, Troy Gillenwater is just ending his term as MNA Board President. Thanks in large part to Troy’s leadership and generosity, MNA begins 2023 on solid financial footing and with a new strategic plan that will chart the course for the museum through its centennial in 2028. Troy was also instrumental in getting 89 acres of land, called the Colton Meadows, conserved.
Send in your poems for Mountain Lines
As part of the new ArtX Festival, MNA is matching short poems with art from the Museum and placing them on the Mountain Line buses. If you live in Flagstaff and have a poem of 10 lines or less that is family friendly (meaning little kids and grandmas can both read it without being offended), please email it asap to If chosen you will get bragging rights!
Spring Break at MNA
March 13-17, 1-2 pm
Bring the kids to the museum for fun activities during spring break. The activities are free with museum admission. And for kids 9 and under, museum admission is free! (but they must be accompanied by an adult)
Messy Monday - Hands-on science activities
Wordful Wednesday - Storytime with crafts and a visit from the Palsmobile
Therizinosaur Thursday - A dinosaur puppet show and fossil touch box.
Family Friday - Nature journaling for all ages, with free nature journals for the first 20 attendees.
Closing reception for Baje exhibition
March 25, 2-4 pm
Branigar Auditorium, MNA
After a year, it's time to say goodbye to Baje Whitethorne Sr: Náátsʼíilid/Rainbow Light, which closes on April 4. Join us to honor the artist and have a final look at this stunning exhibition. You'll see why it's been nominated for a Viola Award in Visual Arts.
Life and Seasons on the Living Roof
March 26, 2 pm
Branigar Auditorium, MNA
Living Roofs provide habitat for birds, bats, butterflies, insects, lizards and other organisms while eliminating stormwater runoff and reducing temperature extremes. Join Research Botanist Jan Busco and Botany Collections Manager Kirstin Phillips as they talk about the 14,000 square foot Living Roof atop MNA’s Easton Collection Center and how it is adapting to our changing climate.
Tour the Easton Collection Center
April 14, 3-4 pm
$10 MNA members/$15 non-members
Join MNA docents for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum of Northern Arizona’s collections inside the Platinum LEED certified, architectural masterpiece Easton Collection Center. Home to more than 800,000 objects, the ECC tour will enhance visitors’ understanding of the Native cultures of the Colorado Plateau and MNA’s role in research and conservation. Click to buy tickets.
March 24-May 20
Choose from Fridays or Saturdays, 9 am - noon or 1-4 pm
Painter Lisa Lee Pearce teaches fundamental skills and techniques for painting with watercolor. These eight week sessions accommodate beginners and more advanced students, and are offered at four times. For details or to register, email
Sundays 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Sketching enhances your relationship with nature by letting you slow down and look more closely. In these drawing workshops, nature artist and biologist Liz Blaker helps “non-artists” learn to draw what they see, while learning about the plants and animals. In February these classes meet on Zoom, then they move outdoors as the weather improves. For details or to register, email
Tuesdays, 9 am - noon
Landscape painter Deborah Mechigian teaches fundamentals of composition, perspective, and color mixing in this weekly class. Each week the class focuses on one element of a painting. For details or to register, email
Choose Mondays or Wednesdays, 12- 2:30 pm or 6-8:30 pm
Come play in the clay and learn how to throw and hand-build. During each 6-week session you can expect to make 10 quality pieces, fired in electric kiln, pit kiln, and wood kiln. For details and to register, email
This exhibition presents key paintings by one of the most important female artists of the Southwest. Mahoney’s art career spanned 66 years, from her roots in the abstract expressionism of the 1950s to her role as a mentor and master artist with a distinctive style that bridges realism and abstraction. Read about it in this recent Arizona Daily Sun article.
MNA Archaeologists in Glen Canyon
From 1957-1963, MNA archaeologists were part of a multi-year project to record the human history of Glen Canyon before a dam flooded 153,000 acres, creating Lake Powell. At the time everyone expected these archaeological sites would be destroyed forever, but recently MNA archaeologists returned on another multi-year project to reassess the sites they could reach. This new exhibition looks at both projects and the responsibility we all share to protect the past.
Bursting with color, this retrospective exhibit presents the full spectrum of art by Baje Whitethorne Sr., a visual storyteller acclaimed for his colorful paintings full of life and energy. Born and raised on the Navajo Reservation, his art often depicts the landscape around his family home near Shonto and the harmony of the Navajo way of life. Click here to watch Baje explain the meaning behind the title of his exhition.
Get cozy in style
Wrap yourself in this Pendleton wool blanket created to commemorate MNA’s 90th year. It is woven through with meaning and connections and designed with cultural guidance from Stewart Koyiyumptewa and Clark Tenakhongva. The main image is based on a Sunset Crater Katsina doll carved by Jimmy Kewanwytewa. Find more  jewelrypottery, baskets, and books at the Museum Gift Shop, where every purchase supports MNA and the artists.