The City of Chandler will officially open its long-awaited Chandler Museum on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. A dedication ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m., when Mayor Jay Tibshraeny and members of the City Council will cut the ceremonial ribbon and open the Museum’s doors to the public. The grand opening will include special presentations and entertainment throughout the day and light refreshments will be available. The museum campus is at 300 S. Chandler Village Drive, located southwest of Chandler Fashion Center.
The main exhibit produced by museum staff, Gaman: Enduring Japanese American Internment at Gila River, will debut at the opening. This profound display explores the experiences of more than 16,000 Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their west coast homes at the beginning of World War II and placed in the Gila River Internment Camp, located south of Chandler. This all new exhibit builds on the museum’s previous work on Japanese-American interment and includes objects from the Gila River camp from museums across the country.
The first national traveling exhibition hosted by the museum is Awkward Family Photos, a collection of photos that capture those perfectly imperfect moments families can laugh about later. This exhibit offers guests the opportunity to take their own awkward family photos as part of the exhibit experience.
Opening day activities will include a guest appearance at 1 p.m. by Lyndsey Fry, a member of the 2014 United States women’s national ice hockey team that won a silver medal in Sochi, Russia. Frye grew up in Chandler and was inducted into the Chandler Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. The Sports Hall of Fame has a permanent display space within the new museum.
At 3 p.m., guests can hear about a piece of rock and roll history with a Chandler connection. In the early 1990s, the Chandler Public Library retired its bookmobile. Frank Wright purchased this vehicle at auction and converted it into a tour van for his son’s punk band, Green Day, which used the vehicle until the band needed different transportation befitting their newfound superstardom. Katie Hildebrand, became the proud owner of the Green Day bookmobile tour van in 2018 and she will have this piece of rock and roll history on display for viewing.
Visitors to the Chandler Museum also can enjoy the City’s newest piece of public art titled, Infinite Shade. This sculpture by Scottsdale artist Jeff Zischke functions as a shade structure for the museum’s outdoor courtyard during the day and at night it will be bathed in multicolored light. The first evening light show will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 8.
Chandler broke ground on the new museum in October 2017. The 10,000-square-foot building and 10,000-square-foot exterior courtyard and garden were designed by architects of the Weddle Gilmore Black Rock Studio and built by Danson Construction. The museum project cost approximately $4.3 million and was funded primarily through bonds approved by voters in 2004 and 2007.
The museum was built adjacent to the 3,600-square-foot McCullough-Price House, a 1938 pueblo revival style home that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The McCullough-Price House served as the City’s museum from 2012-2017. During construction of the new museum, the McCullough-Price House was renovated to now serve as administrative offices and the home of the new East Valley History & Research Center.
The modern building is the centerpiece of the new museum campus and it was designed to complement the historic house, preserving and honoring the past while representing our progress as a community with a bright future.
“We are dynamic community with a reputation as the high-tech hub of the Valley, but we also have an important history to remember and celebrate,” said Chandler Museum Administrator Jody Crago. “For this project, it was important that the modern and the historic work together to create a cultural destination that will serve as the starting place for exploring Chandler, not the end point.”
The regular hours of operation for the Chandler Museum will be Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. More information can be found online at chandleraz.gov/museum, or by calling 480-782-2717.