Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Big Theatre Renovation at Arizona Heritage Center Museum

PHOENIX — When it comes to the Heritage Center Museum, old is good. There are World War II airplanes and other original pieces of Arizona history proudly on display. But when it comes to the Orientation Theater, also located in the Heritage Center, old is just...old. But Tawn Downs with the Arizona Historical Society says, not for long. "It's going to be a transformation that you won't believe," Downs said. The theater is getting the much-needed upgrade thanks to the Legacy Project. The Legacy Project is a collaboration between the Arizona Historical Society
and 48 Arizona Women. "This theater, with the collaboration of the Arizona Historical Society and its friends, will become the '48 Arizona Women Theater,'" said Connie Robinson, who is the co-founder and chair of the organization. "It will be transformed into a technology playhouse," she said. The group 48 Arizona Women was formed back in 2010. It's made up of 48 influential women in Arizona including politicians, educators, entertainers, and CEOs, all with the common goal of making a difference in their communities. "This project with the theater is going to be outstanding," Robinson said.
Renderings of the new theater show it transformed into a high-tech, state-of-the
art project-learning and presentation space. It will be equipped, Downs said, to produce high-quality video, films, and other digital content. "The vision for the space is really multi-functional, where the space can be changed from a classroom environment to a workspace, where people can collaborate and work together," Downs said. The new theater is being specifically designed to support underserved communities, and take on critical learning projects like literacy. "We've known through the pandemic that the literacy gap has widened between rural and urban communities, so with the collaboration of the Arizona Historical Society we're going to decrease that gap," Robinson said. "We are really interested in reaching those communities that are underserved right now," Downs added. The new theater giving everyone, they say, the much-needed access to dream, create and explore. Robinson says fundraising efforts are currently underway as the renovation comes with a price tag of $5 million. The funds will go towards building expenses, as well as creating meaningful programs to take advantage of the space. Robinson said the theater is on schedule to be completed sometime in 2022. From ABC 15 News, Marc Thompson

Sunday, June 27, 2021

National History Day Award Ceremony July 19

Students from National History Day work all year towards their goals. Historical League is proud to help sponsor this amazing program promoting so much more than history. Please copy and paste to enjoy the awards ceremony.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Chef Ryan Swanson makes Kai experience memorable

With it's preference to cook with historic native foods, Kai became one of the venues in Tastes & Treasures II. Congrats to Chef Ryan Swanson for a great article in Swanson tells us, “This restaurant’s main aim is to educate, and I get to run that kitchen, and I think that’s a huge, huge honor for me. So that’s the best part of my day; I get to come in and plan on trying to make people’s experiences memorable,” Swanson said. “They get to learn something, they get to see something, taste something that they’ve never got to try. Hear a couple stories from the local community; we like to very much tie our local and cultural stories in with our food and tie everything together as a harmonious story and a meal, especially when there’s a travel community that supports that, and we’re here to support and give back in that way as well.” Read the entire interview at

Sunday, June 20, 2021

National History Day winners

And the winners are…. National History Day 2021 Contest Results - Arizona Historical Society. A huge CONGRATULATIONS to all of the National History Day Arizona students! Check out the results from the 2021 national contest. The Historical League is a supporter of this amazing program.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Elote Cafe featured in FrontDoors

Elote CafĂ©’s in Sedona has signature starter called the Elote, a fire-roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime and cotija cheese. This delicious recipe is found in Tastes & Treasures II. We are grateful to Chef Jeff Smedstad for sharing this recipe with us. Recently Chef was featured in FrontDoors and describes his restaurant. “The menu is inspired by food I’ve had in people’s homes and markets,” Smedstad said. “We get travelers from all over the world visiting the restaurant and it’s a great compliment when diners from Mexico say my food reminds them of home.” From FrontDoors interview, “The most popular dishes are the enchiladas, braised lamb shank with ancho chile sauce, and smoked pork cheeks with cascabel chile sauce and Smedstad’s grandmother’s corn cake. Desserts include flan, Mexican chocolate pie and pastel de elote, a sweet corn cake with dulce de leche and agave ice cream.” Tastes & Treasures available at

Sunday, June 13, 2021

National History Day update from Jaynie Adams, AHS Tucson

Students from National History Day gave feedback on what they learned in the program: "photojournalism, power of words and pictures, skills to create a presentation, building website, how to entertain and be meaningful in a presentation, how to cite sources, time management, learn from my mistakes, self-accountability, how to create a project, why history is so important, lessons from the past, research skills." Thanks to Jaynie Adams at AHS Tucson, state co-ordinator for NHD, for showing us videos with these students. What a valuable program this is! A detailed report was given at the June Historical League Zoom meeting. Jaynie discusssed the incredible challenge NHD was for her this year, being the new director and Covid changing everything. She started out with a 40% decline in participation. Many of the students could not join because they were without high speed internet or home computers. The good news is the program ended up with 217 students at Regionals and 56 for the National Competition . . . all a virtual contest. National judging with a welcoming ceremony begins June 13. You can follow it on Facebook. As a professional historian, Jaynie related, "This is more than a history contest. It is History Education and could be used as a model for Elementary school history, teaching how to go from an idea to a thesis using primary source analysis. A big challenge is to get more Title 1 and homeschools and outlaying areas that don't have adult experts during project writing." Some support comes from micro-grants and gives actual classroom help such as covering registration fees, books or costs for the projects. The funds can be "game-changers for teachers." Many students work part-time jobs to pay for the materials to build their projects. More info at and The theme for 2022 is Debate and Diplomacy.

Friday, June 11, 2021

More reports and Passing the Gavel at the June "end of the year" meeting

The June meeting via Zoom was informative. Cathy Shumard will be modernizing the website with a more mobile-friendly design, burgundy and turquoise colors and member portal updates. Carolyn Hartman has done a wonderful job on publicity these past few years but is stepping down. This is a fascinating and very important job. Carolyn has documented every step so it will be easy to follow. Ruth McLeod encouraged everyone to send her pictures over the summer of any meetings, history trips, Tastes & Treasures II adventures, and travels for Social Media. Anne Lupica announced the December 8 Phoenix Theatre fundraiser "Million Dollar Quartet" with dinner at Phoenix Country Club. Nancy Evans and Mary Parker will assist with the planning of this Christmas-themed musical.
The tradition of passing the gavel was a joyous one on Zoom. After 2 very industrious years as President, Susan Dale handed over the responsibilities to Claire Nullmeyer who is looking forward to her time as President. Also at the June meeting, it was announced that Norma Jean will be the new recording secretary. Mariamne Moore talked about new members. Susan Howard gave the financial report and corresponding secretary Bonnie Newhoff gave an update.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Reports from staff and League members at June Zoom meeting.

Last Zoom meeting of the year was filled with good news. Staff reporting from AZ Heritage Center focused on increase in events, exhibits, weddings, reunions, volunteers, online programs and meetings. Love the new mustache game for children. They are encouraged to find mustaches hidden through out the museum. One child found 137!! Thanks to Debbie McKinnion and Marilyn Murphy for the updates.
From the comfort of our homes, we received end of the year reports at the June meeting. Thanks to Cindy Tidwell -Shelton for 4 years as Awards Chair. She turns it over to Karen Belt. Linda Corderman continues to work on Historymakers Hall with edited bios and new photos giving us a fresh look at this incredible program. She thanked her helpers Zona Lorig, Margaret Baker, Diane Smith and Susan Dale. Nina Filippi and Clede Gorrell asked everyone to check their homes for accurate inventory of Tastes & Treasures II. Diane Smith was congratulated for all the marvelous speakers she brought to us via Zoom this year. All jobs well done!

Fund for Arizona History continues to grow

What an amazing job President Susan Dale has done with her two years in office. Despite the struggles with the pandemic, the Future of History Fund has raised $102,545 and this continues to grow. The goal of this project is 1.An update of the Historymakers Hall exhibit 2.Support for Arizona teachers and students to develop National History Day projects 3.Outreach dollars for the Arizona Heritage Center to reach new audiences Congratulations to Susan and her team!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Senator Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords Visit "Ready to Launch"

On June 2, the Arizona Historical Society had a very special visit from an Arizona astronaut. Thank you, Senator Mark Kelly, Gabby Giffords, and Ron Barber for visiting the Arizona History Museum and the new "Ready to Launch: Arizona's Place in Space" exhibition. Watch Senator Kelly's interview on KGUN about how Arizonans are making history in space exploration. “Ready to Launch” is sponsored by Paragon Space Development Corporation and supported by Arizona Humanities and Albertsons. Special thanks to Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Lowell Observatory, USGS, and NASA Johnson Space Center.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Gracious host Renee Donnelly

Renee Donnelly has Tastes & Treasures prominently displayed in her kitchen, opened to page 176. Wonder which dish she is creating today? Al McLeod and Ruth are enjoying time with this gracious host and excellent cook.