Navajo County Historical Society Museum

Navajo County Historical Society Museum

While exploring the historic Route 66 city of Holbrook, Arizona, we stopped by the Wigwam Hotel, the Rainbow Rock Shop, and Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Company.

We also tracked down all the pressed penny machines in town, and one happened to be at the Navajo County Historical Society Museum. The museum is free to visit and is located in the Historic Navajo County Courthouse, which was built around the jail.

Visiting The Navajo County Historical Society Museum

We were surprised at just how much was crammed into the Navajo County Historical Society Museum museum! It seemed like interesting things were tucked into every corner, nook, and cranny.

First we stopped at the Visitor Center desk in the main lobby area and snagged a few pressed pennies from the penny machine.

Next, we visited the old sheriff’s office and checked out the jail that was in use until 1976. It was constructed in Kansas City and loaded on a flatbed train car in 1898. Once in Holbrook, the courthouse was built around the cells.

On our walk through the museum we saw displays of skulls and fossils from more than 200 million years ago, exhibits about the Anasazi, Apache, Hopi and Navajo cultures and their crafts, an old post office, and early telephone switchboard exhibits. We also saw a collection of early kitchen items, a living room collection that includes a late 1800s pump organ and a 1927 Victorola, and a drug store exhibit, as well as Route 66 memorabilia and history.

Upstairs, there are exhibits on local teachers, antique office equipment, law libraries, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Hashknife Posse’s annual Pony Express Ride memorabilia, the WPS and CCC programs of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and projects that were completed in Holbrook and the neighboring Petrified Forest National Park, and a military exhibit that covers World Wars I and II, and more recent conflicts and wars.

The old Judges’ Chamber features judges who served here and the courtroom provides interpretive displays on local criminals and trials.

The Bronze Dinosaur

There is an awesome, big, bronze dinosaur statue on the grounds of the Navajo County Historical Society Museum with a really interesting story!

Here’s how the story goes:

The Lundeen Family, when visiting a gallery in New York, came across the bronze dinosaur sculpture. They bought the sculpture with the idea of turning it into an outdoor shower near the swimming pool at their new house in Fountain Hills.

Unfortunately, when they hired a crane to move the sculpture into their backyard, it wasn’t long enough to lift it from the driveway to the pool area. Unable to get the dinosaur into their backyard, the Lundeen’s thought of the dinosaurs they saw on a visit to Holbrook, and proposed donating it to the City, who gladly accepted it as a centerpiece for Living West Park on the northwestern corner of Navajo and Hopi.

Know Before You Go

  • The Navajo County Historical Society Museum is located in the Historic Navajo County Courthouse at 100 East Arizona Street, Holbrook, Arizona 86025 in Navajo County.
  • The Historic Navajo County Courthouse also serves as an official Arizona Information Center.
  • The Navajo County Courthouse served citizens for seventy-eight years, dispensing justice, collecting tax levies, recording public records and issuing marriage licenses.
  • The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Admission is free.

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