The Huhugam Heritage Center is a community-centered cultural facility that preserves and honors the heritage of Sonoran Desert people who live by the Gila River: the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh. Constructed in 2003, the Center is home to a state-of-the-art collections repository that houses hundreds of artifacts from these tribes in addition to an extensive collection of items made and used by the Huhugam, the ancestral people of the region.
Beginning in 2015, Ganymede Design Group collaborated with museum stakeholders and staff to crystallize museum goals and articulate an interpretive vision. Subsequent exhibit planning and design was driven by that vision’s two-pronged focus: the preservation and celebration of Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh culture and a pervasive, practical and emotional connection to the River.
Ganymede defined the exhibit themes, storylines, flow, and format based on the interpretive vision, and developed dynamic exhibition text with the support of the project curator. The curvilinear flow of decks in the primary gallery space and materials selection pay tribute to the River’s constant presence in the Peoples’ consciousness. Dramatic banners humanize the scale of the soaring two-story space; the rich but muted desert colors and a mix of historic and contemporary photography and original art by community members draws visitors to the sparkling cases. Inside and out, they find unique artifacts, interpretive graphics and media that tell the story of generations of life in the Sonoran desert from the perspective of those who lived it.
Case design, construction and installation meet the highest professional standards for object conservation and long-term preservation within the carefully-controlled environment of the space.
Conservation Cases and Exhibit Fabrication: ClickNetherfield USA / Maltbie
Architects: DWL Architects + Planners inc