Museum History

The Superstition Mountain Museum lies in the foothills at the southwest end of the awe inspiring Superstition Mountains in central Arizona, the location offering commanding
views of the Valley of the Sun, including Phoenix and the surrounding communities.

The museum is the realization of a dream shared by several individuals who formed the Superstition Mountain Historical Society, Inc. in 1980. This organization is a non-profit corporation under Section 501 (c) 3, organized to:

Collect and preserve the history, legends and lore of Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, to support research, education and publication involving the region, and to develop a historical museum and research library devoted to these endeavors. (Mission Statement)

The half dozen individuals who came together initially had in common an interest in pursuing information and knowledge about Jacob Waltz and his now infamous Lost Dutchman Mine. But their interest in the Superstition Mountains went far beyond that  – they also shared a common interest in preserving the lore and legends, the pre and post Columbian history of the mountains, the culture of those who lived within its boundaries in centuries past … the Salado, the Hohokam, the Apaches, and all who have come since … the Spanish, the trappers, the miners, the cattlemen.

The first board of directors of the society included three people who serve on the current board today and their vision hasn’t changed. In fact, what were once mere  dreams have now become realities.

As the membership grew, so did the group’s aspirations, one of which was to establish a museum wherein the collection of data including photographs, maps, histories and artifacts of all kinds could be used to educate the local citizens, school children and visitors to the area.

Superstition Mountain Museum Buildings

Museum Buildings with Superstition Mountain in the background.

In 1989, the society rented a building at Goldfield Ghost Town on the Apache Trail and a museum opened its doors to the public in January, 1990, a location that did not change until 2003. During the ensuing 13 years, the society was able to purchase property of its own along the Apache Trail (Highway 88) just northeast of the Apache Junction, Arizona city limits. A building was erected and in October, 2003, Superstition Mountain Museum moved to its new quarters located on 12+ prime acres at 4087 N. Apache Trail.

Today, hikers, horseback riders, photographers and tourists come to enjoy the pleasures, beauty and wonder of these fantastic mountains, now preserved in the Superstition Wilderness Area for posterity to enjoy. But, many are curious about the history and mystery of this intriguing area and visit the museum, comprised of a central 4,900-square-foot exhibit hall and Museum Shop, and numerous outdoor structures and exhibitions including the Apacheland Barn and the Elvis Chapel, the last surviving structures from Apacheland Movie Ranch, a huge 20-stamp gold mill, a mountain man camp, Western storefronts, and a labeled Nature Walk.

As the museum continues to grow and flourish it has become a hub of activity and each season the schedule is packed with Events which include lectures, classes, concerts, and living history reenactments. Local residents and visitors alike enjoy revisiting history in the shadow of the mighty Superstition Mountains.