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Heard Guild Explorers

Heard Guild Explorers features day trips in and around the Phoenix area. Please contact to obtain more information or to suggest (or lead) an outing. Past outings include a docent led tour of the Museum of the West exhibits and visits to the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa, Cave Creek Museum, and the Japanese Friendship Garden.



Guided Trips

The Guild arranges guided trips each year for Guild and Museum members only. Not only will you travel with people who share your interests, you will have the finest interpretive guides who are experts in their fields. Most trips are in the Southwest but sometimes we travel further afield. For more information about any of the Guild trips, contact

Heard Museum membership is required for all participants.  If you or your travel partner aren’t museum members, please visit and click on the support tab on the top banner of the home page for information on how to join. 

Upcoming Trips

Alamos, Sonora, Mexico – Date Change – Saturday, January 18-24, 2020

Almost sold out – we still have 3 rooms left. Come travel to the Music Festival with us.

We have an update to the dates of the Alamos Music Festival.  Tony Estrada, director of the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora in Alamos, advised us that the festival dates are now January 17- 25, 2020. This change was instructed by the Sonoran Institute of Culture (ISC) office located in Hermosillo which is responsible for cultural events in all of Sonora.

The ISC office didn’t offer much explanation for this unprecedented date change …  But fortunately, our hotel rooms in Alamos, as well as all tour components and activities, are unaffected by the change!

Our seats are filling fast! We now only have rooms for two people with one king-size bed. All rooms with two beds have been filled. The rooms with a king-size bed are for the four night stay at the beautiful Hacienda de Los Santos in Alamos. Rooms with two beds are still available for the first and last nights of the trip.

Hacienda de los Santos

Come join us on our amazing trip to the magical colonial town of Alamos, Sonora to attend the International Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado! We will be traveling with 14 Sabino Canyon naturalists from Tucson. We will stay at the 5th top luxury hotel in Mexico and #1 small hotel in all of Mexico, as rated by Trip Advisor. Once the wealthiest silver mine in the Spanish empire, Alamos is now a haven for Ex-Pats who have restored historic haciendas back to their original glory of the 18-19th centuries. Our first evening will be on the beach at San Carlos. We will then travel to Alamos for four days of all genres of music to choose from — musicians and singers from all over the world will entertain you. We will tour restored haciendas, experience an educational tequila tasting, and there will be many delicious meals to experience. Our onboard guide will keep us informed and entertained about the history, flora, and politics of the areas we visit. The Heard loves to return to Alamos! Come travel with us! We usually sell out quickly. Contact Shelley Mowry at

The itinerary is here.  The registration form is here.


Mata Ortiz and Northern Chihuahua — February 24-27, 2020

Join the Heard Guild on a journey to visit the high plateau of northern Chihuahua, Mexico on a tour to Mata Ortiz. Our focus of this tour is the Paquimé culture and the amazing pottery produced by very talented artists in the region, highlighting the inspiration born out of the curiosity and diligence of artist Juan Quezada.   Combing the hills as a boy, Juan frequently made discoveries of fantastic highly decorated, utilitarian Paquimé pottery.  Juan’s interest to recreate this fine earthenware spurred the explosion of an artistic and economic phenomena in a very short time.

We have a special invitation to meet Juan and his charming family in their home to hear Juan share his life’s journey. You’ll get a chance to test your decorating ability and see pots in various parts of the process, culminating with a live firing.  We’ll spend time with Spencer and Emi MacCallum.  It was Spencer who “discovered” Juan’s pots in a New Mexico curio store and then journeyed to Mata Ortiz to find the young man.

Not far from Juan’s home is a vast archeological complex known as Paquimé. From the 13 to 15th century, Paquimé played a key role in trade and cultural contacts between the Pueblo culture of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico and the more advanced civilizations of Mesoamerica. In Paquimé, we’ll visit the world class interpretive museum and explore the vast ruins which are the largest archaeological zone that represents the peoples and cultures of the Chihuahua Desert. Development took place in the years 700-1475 AD and reached its apogee in the 14th and 15th centuries.

In addition, we’ll meet and spend time with incredible artists in their homes and workshops.

Enjoy the wonderful cuisine of northern Chihuahua highlighted with an amazing dinner at Belgian Chef Phillipe Gentes’ Malmedy Restaurant.

The itinerary is here.  The registration form is here.


Some of our previous destinations:

  • Chaco Canyon
  • Hopi Arts, Hopi Culture
  • Land of the Seri
  • First Nations/Gardens of the North
  • Mexico’s Copper Canyon
  • Hubbell/ State Line Tour
  • Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks
  • Hualapai and the Grand Canyon
  • Kino Mission Trip to Northern Mexico


What Our Travelers Have to Say…..

The trip was of course wonderful, a sharing of knowledge, history, beautiful art and beautiful people.  But I thought I would share with you what I said without a moments thought when some one asked me what the best part of the trip was to me: hugging old friends and getting to know new friends.

Thank you for an amazing trip.  This trip was an immersion into the Hopi way of life, philosophies, artists, the land, etc.  Mark certainly shared his love and appreciation of all that encompasses Hopi!

Traveling to Mata Ortiz was on my bucket list and the recent Heard tour was even more spectacular than I could have ever imagined. First there was the Heard team…Shelly, Steve with South of the Border Tours and guides Greg and Bob. All were knowledgeable professionals who kept us informed, entertained, well fed and safe!

Then there were our fellow passengers…an interesting and diverse group whose common goal was to support these artists by buying lots of pots! Yes, we happily contributed to their struggling local economy.

But most importantly were the creative potters..both men and women who make beautiful pots from the local clay, natural pigments, and a simple firing process. We were most fortunate to meet the man who started it all, Juan Quezada and see firsthand how he and his family make the intricate beautiful pottery right in his own backyard. He inspired us with his generous teaching style and his simple but profound wisdom.

We were all changed by experiencing for ourselves the miracle of Mata Ortiz. Thank you Heard for this amazing adventure. ~ Jenny and John

I have been fortunate enough to take several Guild trips organized by Shelly. They are entertaining as well as educational: she chooses excellent drivers, knowledgeable guides, and locations that entice exploration. There’s always a variety of activities to please everyone, a balance between structure and free time, and pleasant but affordable accommodations.
I highly recommend these Guild trips! ~Donita Beckham


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