Tackling the Archiving of Pablita Velarde Collection

Pablita Velarde (1918-2006), Heard Museum Billie Jane Baguley Library & Archives

In the back of the Heard Museum, in a room all to itself, is a recreation of the working studio of Pablita Velarde, one of the country’s most famous Native American artists. Visitors can see the artist’s metate for grinding pigments along with jars of ground minerals. They can see the sewing machine she used to make tiny boots for Pueblo dolls and a photograph on her easel.

What they don’t see is what is going on in the Heard Museum Library where volunteer Marcia Mason works two days a week as the archivist for the Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts research collection. “The Velarde collection was about six boxes of materials when we got it in 2015,” Marcia says, “but it has since grown and there is more to come.”

Marcia opens each box and numbers each individual item, which includes photographs, clippings, ribbons and original correspondence. She enters the items one by one as she builds a computer data base for the resource collection. “A lot of these materials came in scrap books,” says Marcia. “I took them out and numbered each one. It was a monster of a job.”

“I’ve fallen in love with Pablita Velarde,” says Marcia. She expects to find materials on Pablita’s daughter and granddaughter as she opens additional boxes. There’s no end in sight for this project at the moment and Marcia’s fine with that.

Guild Trip to Copper Canyon was Fantastic!

An amazing trip to Copper Canyon was provided by Guild Travel Chair, Shelley Mowry and South of the Border Tours owner, Stephen Bernier and was enjoyed tremendously by each and everyone on the trip. Most enjoyable was having local & knowledgeable tour guides who provided rolling lectures throughout the trip, enhancing our knowledge of this region in Mexico, it’s people, it’s history & culture.

This trip was a exploration into the scenic beauty of the Northern Chihuahua country side & Sierra Madre mountains. Starting in the tropical climate of Alamos then climbing up 8000 feet to the colder climate of the Copper Canyon region. An in person experience of the Tarahumara people and their culture was treated with respect & admiration.

The hotel experience spanned from a two night stay at the charming & elegant Spanish colonial Hacienda de la Santos hotel in Alamos to the rustic throwback in time of kerosene lamps and pot belly stoves in the Copper Canyon region.

The train ride, Gondola ride and zip line (by the braver travelers) offered wonderful views of the scenic beauty of this region and the canyon.

As usual the busload of travelers provided a boost to the local economy by purchasing Tarahumara baskets & folk art. Each stop provided us with shopping experiences that included outdoor markets to purchasing from local Tarahumara basket weavers at the train stops.

Food, service & entertainment was excellent. A standout performance of a chorus line formed by the travelers belting out their rendition of Féliz Navidad during a Karaoke happy hour was a highlight. We enjoyed a taste of the haute cuisine in Alamos to the locally prepared food of the Tarahumara in Copper Canyon. Every meal in between was a gastronomic delight.

As a frequent traveler on the Guild trips I can tell you that I cannot pick my favorite trip as they have all been equally enriching. On every trip it is a special delight meeting up with old friends and making new friends with like-minded people.

Thanks Shelley, Stephen and to all of you on this trip for providing me with such an enjoyable, enriching experience. I have such wonderful memories to enjoy until the next time we meet.
Diane Leonte

The Heard Guild is the Best Part of My Retirement


I joined the Heard Guild soon after I retired to satisfy a life-long interest in Indians and their culture, having been taken by my grandfather to the maple syruping done by his Seneca friends.

I particularly like working with like-minded people, be it as a guide, a shop worker, or as a chairman or worker at the Fair or other weekend events.

I particularly like guiding children and seeing their interest awaken.

The Heard trips are first-class and we get to meet and interact with many people.

I have made lasting friendships with other volunteers.

All in all, working at the Heard has proven to be the most rewarding part of my retirement.

I love the Heard Guild organization.

Marilyn Brooks

Heard Museum Guide Enjoys Sitting in the Courtyard With Good Friends

Heard_Courtyard_cafeThe Heard Museum is spectacular! Sitting in the Courtyard with good friends on a glorious fall day, basking in the peace and serenity of the place – life doesn’t get better than this. Inside the Museum, thoughtful, beautiful exhibits are arranged to teach visitors and volunteers alike the rich past and the ongoing presence of American Indian cultures in the American Southwest.

I discovered when I retired from a long and joyous career as a middle school English teacher that the Heard offered me a perfect way to remain a teacher in a completely different setting and with none of the hassles – papers to grade, faculty meetings, etc. Las Guias training was the place for me to begin my Heard adventures, and before the end of the first class, I knew I had found a new home. In the years since I completed the class in 2010, I have been continually delighted with guiding tours, including stories and humor, showing visitors the wonders of Southwestern Indian art and history, and meeting Museum visitors from all over the world. It is a very special kind of teaching that I know keeps a smile on my face and delight in each new tour group. It definitely keeps me an active teacher, and I have no doubt will keep me young forever.

Jackie Kemmer

It Started With Taking A Short Course….Which I Now Teach.


I first visited the Heard Museum while attending a few Spring Training Games in March of 1995.

I added the Heard to my annual “teacher plays hooky” itinerary in Phoenix.  In 2002, I retired to Surprise, Arizona from Chicago.  One day ten years ago while at the Heard North Shop in Scottsdale, I saw a flyer for a four-session course called “Native Peoples of the Southwest”

I took the course, and the rest, as they say is, history.

Since 2004, I have been a member of the Heard Museum Guild.  The Guild is a challenging, educational, eye-opening, and enjoyable experience. What we do is worthwhile and valuable to the Museum and to the Indian communities we serve. Membership has given me both a sense of purpose and a feeling of accomplishment.  The Guild keeps me growing and has expanded my horizons. Also, there is a camaraderie among Guild members that is stronger and more vibrant than any other organization of which I have been a member. Most of all, I’m having fun.

I remember people asking me when I was about to retire, “What are you going to do with your time?”  To which I always replied, “Whatever I want!”  Even I didn’t suspect how wonderfully that prediction would come true.

Lucille Shanahan

The Guild – What a Ride it Has Been!!


Winona and I didn’t know just what to expect that morning in October 2003 when we walked into the Encanto Class room to begin the Las Guias class. As we look back today WHAT an incredible journey we have experienced. Over the last 11 years as Guild members It has been a life changing experience for us in many ways. The education, the trips, the Fair, the Book Sale, the Museum Exhibits, guiding, holding the various board positions, and most of all the PEOPLE, it has always been about the people. Being a part of the team devoted to the mission of the Museum and Guild. PRICELESS!!

There were two special and unforgettable experiences I will always remember. About 8 years ago the MEDAL OF HONOR recipients held their annual conference in Phoenix. I was asked to take 33 of the 75 on a special tour of the Museum and exhibits. I got to meet each of them individually and talk with them for over 3 hours. Many have since passed. What an honor it was for me to be in their company. The second memory was about 6 years ago when Winona was diagnosed with Lymphoma. We shared her illness with the Guild which turned out to be the most supportive, loving and caring group you could ever imagine. It was an important element in her recovery. The Guild rallied around us and we had a second family. We have been a part of many organizations, but the Guild is the most caring, supportive, devoted, and passionate group of people we have ever been associated with. Long lasting friendships, always there for you and willing to help. We will always be grateful we had this opportunity to be a part of the Museum and Guild, it will always be special to us. WHAT A RIDE IT HAS BEEN!!

Rod and Winona Passmore

A Guild Member for 20 Years and Still Having Fun.

Heard Guild logo Turquoise backgroundWhen I moved to the Valley over 20 years ago the first thing I did was contact the Heard Museum to learn what volunteer opportunities were available.

I had been a docent in a world class museum in the Midwest and knew I wanted to continue my association with a museum in my new home.

I was fortunate enough to be accepted in the Las Guias Training class for that year. The education I received was exemplary and the process continues each year as we add new exhibits. Giving tours to people from around the world is continually rewarding.

Throughout the years that I have been a member of the Heard Museum and Heard Museum Guild I have enjoyed working on many committees … the best way to feel part of an organization… and in the process make many friends.  In my leadership roles as Shop Chair and Guild president I participated in the decision making processes of the Museum which added to my sense of inclusion as well as responsibility.  Being surrounded by a world class collection and amazing people contributes to a stimulating and exciting experience.  Membership in the Heard Museum Guild has opened up opportunities that I could not have experienced anywhere else.


Edna Weinberg

What Has The Heard Guild Meant to Me?

Man_in_the_maze_Basket 300

Well, first of all, how did I become aware of the existence of the Guild?  I heard or read about a “Short Course” on American Indians of the Southwest being offered at the Heard Museum and I, as a native Arizonan, had always felt I really didn’t know much about the people who had lived in “my stomping ground” a whole lot longer than me or my folks.  I wanted some education – and I knew the Heard’s reputation as an important institution.

During those class meetings I met several attendees who were already docents at the Museum who were getting a refresher, and I was curious about what they did at the Museum.  I learned that they had taken an eight-month course of study and then committed to giving about 30 tours a year to visitors at the Museum.  Well, I have always enjoyed passing on knowledge, am a reasonably good public speaker, and I was close to being completely retired from day-to-day work, so I joined the next class that started in October.

What a wonderful experience in that course of studies to get to know some like-minded people from several different backgrounds.  And the experience of giving tours in the most prestigious museum in town to both adults and children has been totally fulfilling and rewarding.

However, along with the guiding experience came an affiliation with a larger group of volunteers because the guides are only one group that make up the Heard Museum Guild.  Volunteers work in the Library, the Gift Shop, and put on several big events as fund-raisers for the Museum.  The larger organization was able to use some of my other talents, like technology expertise, for their benefit.

So, what has the Guild meant to me?  A sense of my life and knowledge still having some value in this world even after retirement from my earlier “work.”

Richard Borgmann

Indian Fair & Market Chair Shares Enthusiasm for the Heard Guild

Heard Indian Fair & market

I came to the Valley January of 1990.  Two months later I attended the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market and bought a Navajo rug and my first pair of many silver earrings.  I  I knew then that the Heard is where I wanted to volunteer when I retired.

Now 23 year later I am in charge of that same Fair.  I now apply my accounting and project management knowledge and experience in a whole new world as well as branching out into sales which I never would have thought possible during my career.  Most of my education was in music and art history.  I returned to art history by joining the Heard Guild.  Now that I am a volunteer I realize the best part is working alongside like-minded, devoted, enthusiastic people who continue to enjoy learning.

Pat Kilburn

“Heardies” Go To The Santa Fe Art & Cultural Markets

SFIM14I just returned from Santa Fe where I attended the Santa Fe Indian Market and the IFAM (Indigenous Fine Arts Market). This was the first year there were two venues for artist. The traditional market was held in and around the famous Santa Fe Plaza and the IFAM used the newly renovated Railway as their venue, and featured many of the younger artists.

The weather was ideal with blue skies, puffy white clouds and temperatures in the mid-80’s. It was so much fun bumping into Guild members and Heard Museum Staff among those strolling and visiting with the Artist or gathered around the stages watching the performances. Even more fun was gathering with the “Heardies” at cocktail parties and group dinners where we could all share our experience of the Santa Fe markets and enjoy some wonderful meals in one of the many fine restaurants in town.

This is my fifth trip to Santa Fe. I would have never known what I was missing if I did not sign up for and take a Guild trip to Santa Fe, and also become involved in volunteering for a Heard Guild Indian Fair & Market committee. If you have not yet considered taking a Guild trip, take a look at the itinerary for the Guild December Trip to Santa Fe, and think about volunteering for one of the many IF&M committees that are involved in making the Heard Guild Indian Fair & Market happen.  Meet some great like-minded people and choose the committee role that fits your lifestyle, schedule,  and best utilizes your talents and speaks to your passions.

Maybe I will bump into you next year at the Santa Fe Market.