The L. Alan Cruikshank River of Time museum is remaining closed for now, but there’s a lot
happening behind closed doors. Partnering with “Museum Pro’s” a Chandler based museum design
firm, the River of Time Board of Directors has approved accessing reserve funds to continue the
renovation that began in the orientation room last summer.
Completed thanks to a grant from the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation 202 funding, this first experience
welcomes visitors to the incredible beauty and diversity found in and along the Lower Verde River.
Video and sound engage visitors as they paddle along the river through time from pre-human history
through present day.
The remainder of the renovation is defined by interactivity. The visitor will be immersed in not only the
history of the Lower Verde River Valley, but experiential elements will replicate life along this historic
waterway. Specially curated artifacts and fabricated replicas will lend realism to each display.
The old favorites will still be a part of the story, but they’ll be incorporated in enhanced, enriched
interpretive displays. Jack Swilling, Tacky the Quarter horse and the old water tank remain, but their
narrative has been expanded to include details about life during early Phoenix, Fort McDowell and P-
Bar Ranch days. Visitors will be encouraged to come back to visit often as more stories are rolled out
every month, or so.
For those who fancy themselves amateur curators, a new maker room allows participants to design
their own exhibit and pose for a selfie with their finished masterpiece. A variety of artifacts and props
help with the design.
Students of all ages will find the STEAM related activities located throughout the museum well worth
discovering and there will be many opportunities for selfie documentation.
The museum staff and board are pleased to be continuing the partnership with the Fountain Hills
Chamber of commerce as a Chamber Satellite location and look forward to having an updated space
for materials highlighting the wealth of opportunities in our Town. Since the satellite location has been
closed since 2019, museum docents will receive a refresher course from Chamber CEO, Betsy
Lavoie to bring them up to date on all that’s happening in now that things are opening up.
The human story from early Yavapai and Hohokam through present day Fort McDowell Yavapai
Nation, Fountain Hills and the Verdes is woven throughout the museum, as is the common thread
that allowed for the human settlement of this area, the Lower Verde River.
There are many more elements of the renovation expected to be completed by mid to late summer.
Although no date has been set, the museum staff and Board look forward to welcoming visitors to this
exciting new space sometime this Fall.
Although the museum remains closed, staff are monitoring e-mails and phone messages. To get in
touch please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 480.837.2612.