Out and About: Sharlot Hall, Where History Comes to Life

Sharlot Hall Museum, located at 415 W Gurley St. in downtown Prescott, is an educational learning center that has been teaching the public about the history of Arizona (specifically in the Central Highlands) since 1928. The museum is named after Sharlot Mabridth Hall (1870-1943). Hall was a “poet, activist, politician, and Arizona’s first territorial historian,” according to the museum. . Mrs. Hall’s idea to preserve Native American and pioneer artifacts started as early as 1907. Her idea became a reality in 1927 when she began restoring the Territorial Governor’s house (the first territorial house and office in the United States, originally built in 1864), which became the museum’s first main building. She then moved her saved artifacts into what is now the Sharlot Hall Museum. 

Currently, the library and archives are open to the public online and at the museum. The museum has eleven buildings (six which are historic) that display an array of different artifacts, such as vintage gloves, hairbrushes, guns, washing basins, and Native American pots. They showcase multiple groups of people from different time periods and their stories. Additionally, a beautiful rose garden is part of the grounds. The first building to visit is the Lawler Exhibit Center. Immediately inside the entrance is an exhibit that features Sharlot Hall and her life. As you go farther into the building, the exhibit goes deeper into the past, talking about the earliest forms of man in America. It goes all the way to the late 1300’s, providing information on the early tales of Arizonians. 

The Governor’s House is next, which shows the interior of the house, the offices, and various memorabilia from that time. Next is the Sharlot Hall Building. Built in 1936, these collectibles focus on Native Americans and their “burden basket”, farmers, miners, the railroad system, and the soldiers who resided in Arizona and Prescott during the Civil War era. This building was originally Sharlot Hall’s house for a period of time. Next is the Frémont House. This is where the 5th territorial governor of Arizona, John Charles Frémont,  moved in with his family when it was completed in 1875. 

Other buildings include the transportation building, the school house, Fort Misery, the ranch house, the blacksmith building and the Bashford house. The transportation building displays various forms of transportation, from the high wheel bike, sleds, horse drawn carriages, stagecoaches and Sharlot Hall’s 1927 Durant Star Touring Car. This is a must-see if you are interested in how people traveled back in the day. The school house is an accurate reconstruction of a small school house, composed of school benches and a small lifted platform where the teacher taught. Fort Misery is the oldest log cabin in Arizona, built in 1864. The ranch house is a reconstruction of a typical house for the working farmers, complete with a fireplace, hay stuffed mattresses and accurate wood furniture.The blacksmith house, which is active and working during events, has a typical set up for an early 1800’s blacksmith. The Bashford house, built in 1877, is a classic Victorian house. This house is open to the public as the museum’s gift shop. If you want to journey back in time for a day, Sharlot Hall is the perfect place to do so. Enjoy the history as it comes to life become your eyes. Upcoming events occuring at Sharlot Hall are Frontier Christmas on December 7th, where you can enjoy traditional holiday activities with cookies and cider, and the Folk Arts Fair on June 6-7th, which has traditional folk arts, crafts, music and much more. Visit Sharlot Hall’s website at  [https://www.sharlothallmuseum.org/].

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