by Dennis Gallagher, Founder & President, Prescott Western Heritage Foundation
There is a buzz about Whiskey Row these days, and it’s not from adult libations. Instead, Prescott, the City known for its historic firsts, will add another institution to that unique tally. This new enterprise is neither a museum nor a welcome center, but a place that showcases the western heritage of Prescott and Yavapai County.
The Western Heritage Center, located directly across from the Plaza on Montezuma Street, will offer visitors an awareness of our heritage never experienced previously. For the first time the public will be able to survey many unique, local exhibits that will fill the center by the end of this year. The Western Heritage Center will engage with its visitors, educating and bringing to life the area’s rich heritage and history.
The Prescott Western Heritage Foundation, an all-volunteer, 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, was founded in 2011 and is the parent organization of the Western Heritage Center (WHC). The mission of the Foundation is to “preserve and promote western heritage through education, events, art, music and projects that enhance western lifestyle, making Arizona and Yavapai County a unique place to live and visit.” The opening of the WHC, housed in the old Sam Hill Hardware building, is the culmination of years of effort to achieve the goals of this mission.
The WHC is a collaboration of more than 25 organizations, including museums, historical societies and other related organizations that promote Arizona’s western heritage. Independent exhibits featuring the Rough Riders, ranching, railroads, film history, mining and more will also be included, enhancing the center’s attraction. Each organization will be provided space to rotate fresh exhibits. Later this year, interactive touch screens will encourage visitors to learn more about each organization’s history and mission, offering directions to their locations.
Activities are also planned for school-age children, encouraging them to experience and appreciate our rich history.
Participating organizations include:
- The Smoki Museum
- Sharlot Hall Museum
- The Phippen Museum of Western Art and Heritage
- Prescott Frontier Days® Rodeo
- The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office
- The Arizona Cowboy Poet’s Gathering
- The History of Prescott Fire Department
- The Yavapai Cowbelles
- Rough Riders
- Arizona Rangers
- many more to come
It is estimated the WHC will attract more than 12,000 visitors in 2019 alone, providing substantial financial impact for local businesses, restaurants and hotels.
The center opened with about half of the exhibit spaces completed; a mercantile and a performance stage where music, poetry, workshops and book signings will be regularly scheduled. Since construction will continue through July, the center, to begin with, will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday until construction is completed.
A big thank you goes out to the many wonderful volunteers who have made the Western Heritage Center possible.
For further information regarding our Foundation, the Western Heritage Center, our Western Heritage Banquet on Nov. 2, or how to volunteer, please contact Dennis Gallagher at email@example.com, Bob Greninger at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.VisitWHC.org.