The San Pedro Valley Arts & Historical Museum


In 1983, the San Pedro valley Arts & Crafts League and the local Historical Society merged to form the San Pedro Valley Arts and Historical Society in Benson. Today’s museum is housed in a 1920’s store building once owned by W. D. Martinez, a local grocer. The grocery display is part of the original store. William D. Martinez, born in Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico sold the store to the Steinfeld family who used it as a laundry, grocery store, and promoted it as a place to make soap, but that never materialized. The Ivey family purchased the building in 1937 and from that time until 1983 it was used for storage. The Ivey’s also owned a drugstore and a Phillips gasoline service station in Tombstone. A separate building on the museum premises houses an art display and interactive quilting experience. Museum quilters are available to teach quilting history and give the visitor a chance to help with the quilting. The visitor can also see historic quilts from the area.

            The visitor registration desk, the bookkeeper’s desk and filing cabinet came from the old Cochise County Bank. Harold Edson donated the roll top desk.  It belonged to the Lewis Brothers who had a garage at 4th and Huachuca Streets, current location of the Circle K. The green safe which once served the Benson school, was donated by the school. The black safe was donated by the City of Benson.

            The lovely large museum doors are original to the building. The optometric chair and equipment belonged to Dr. Robert Friske who was Benson’s optometrist for many years. His daughter Tammy took over and operated the business until she left in 1994. The portable sewing machine belonged to Winn Bundy’s mother and the treadle to Merlin Rose. Winn Bundy runs the unique Singing Wind book shop from her ranch just outside of Benson. Anyone at  the museum can direct the visitor to Winn’s “must see” book shop.

            The pot-bellied stove in the grocery store rode the Southern Pacific mail train for many years. Also on exhibit is Benson’s first refrigerator which was used at the Hi-Wo Grocery and Mercantile on the corner of 4th and Gila Streets. Hi Wo, born in China, operated the mercantile for almost a century. The mercantile is still owned by his descendants and is on the National Historic register. The metates and mano were found locally. Vay Fenn found the millstone in Sinaloa, Mexico, near an old Spanish mine. It probably dates to the 1600’s.

            The museum gift shop has local handcrafted items, greeting cards, Benson items, cookbooks, and Arizona history books. Every year the museum hosts a month long series of art classes for students from the surrounding area. A variety of projects are available to fit the children’s interests.

            The museum’s research library consists of hundreds of files on subjects pertaining to the area. It includes old newspapers, photographs, journals, directories and oral history collection from local residents. Contact the museum for terms of usage.

            Don’t miss the horse drawn school bus which carried many a Benson child to school. The museum had to provide a special building to house this vehicle.

Tel. No. 520-586-3070 Web Site: The San Pedro Valley Arts & Historical Museum San Pedro & 5th  PO Box 1090

Benson AZ 85602

Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “The San Pedro Valley Arts & Historical Museum”

  1. An Elm Creek Quilts Sampler: The First Three Novels in the Popular Series (Elm Creek Quilters Novels) Reviews | Best all_books Books Says:

    […] The San Pedro Valley Arts & Historical Museum « Arizona Museums: A … […]

  2. Mastering a Museum Plan: Strategies for Exhibit Development | Best all_books Books Says:

    […] The San Pedro Valley Arts & Historical Museum « Arizona Museums: A … […]

  3. Wynne Brown Says:

    A fun post — thanks! I’m forwarding it to my friend who lives in Benson.

  4. In our skies: Meteor shower ongoing | Garden Rock Lights Says:

    […] The San Pedro Valley Arts & Historical Museum « Arizona Museums: A Journey Into Arizona&#0… […]

  5. Kai Stefanich Says:

    Love your site man keep up the good work

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: