The Arizona Historical Society was originally organized as the Society of Arizona Pioneers under the laws of the Arizona Territory. Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§41-821 through 41-826.
The Arizona Historical Society collects, protects and makes available to the public materials related the history of Arizona and the west, data relating to Indian tribes, and reports of historical, scientific, social, educational, and literary subjects. For these purposes, it may purchase, hold, lease, and sell real and personal property, solicit donations, and borrow money. It is governed by a board of directors appointed by the Governor to terms of four years.
The Society of Arizona Pioneers was organized February 9, 1884, in conformity with the provisions of an act approved February 14, 1873 to “…provide for the incorporation of religious, social and benevolent societies.” See Arizona Code Annotated 1939: 1952 Cumulative Supplement, Section 7-101, Organization of Society.
Laws 1897, Chapter 53 renamed the Society of Arizona Pioneers as the Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society. The measure outlined the duties of the Society and the responsibilities of the Board of Directors which consisted of “…as many members as the Society shall determine and who shall have the same powers as the present Board of Directors.” The measure required sixty bound copies of the publications of the Territory and its societies and institutions to be donated to the Society as they were issued. The measure also provided that all bound and unbound volumes of newspapers on file in the library became the property of the Society on passage of the 1897 act, to be delivered on demand of the Society. See Revised Statutes of Arizona: 1913 Civil Code, Sections 4551 through 4553.
Laws 1970, Chapter 209 authorized publication of the Journal of Arizona History and established the Journal of Arizona History Magazine Fund.
Laws 1973, Chapter 157 repealed and rewrote statutes relating to the Society, renamed the organization as the Arizona Historical Society and outlined its responsibilities.
Laws 1974, Chapter 138 created the Preservation and Restoration Revolving Fund to be used to copy, preserve and restore historic photographs and negatives. The fund is established as a separate account and an annual accounting to the Arizona Department of Administration is required.
Laws 1980, Chapter 159 authorized the lease of the Evans House at 1108 West Washington Street in Phoenix to a foundation for its use and for public visitations.
Laws 1992, Chapter 85 created the Historical Society Revolving Fund consisting of monies collected from operating gift shops, food service facilities, and admission fees charged for entry into any of the Society’s facilities.
Laws 2010, Chapter 227 created the Centennial Museum, directed by an advisory council.
Laws 2015, Chapter 12 eliminated the Journal of Arizona History Magazine Fund which had been funded by legislative appropriations and monies received from subscriptions to the magazine. A second measure enacted in 2015 modified the composition of the Board and qualifications to serve on the Board. See Laws 2015, Chapter 229.
Laws 2016, Chapter 128 transferred administration of the former Mining and Mineral Museum, (renamed the Mining, Mineral and Natural Resources Educational Museum), from the Arizona Historical Society to the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS). Unencumbered balances and future revenues of the Centennial Special Plate Fund were transferred from the Arizona Historical Society to the AZGS, retroactive to May 1, 2016. The measure outlined a process and established conditions to refurbish and reopen the former Mining and Mineral Museum, located on West Washington Street in Phoenix, which was closed May 1, 2011 for renovations and has not been reopened. Meeting the conditions determined whether the AZGS or the Arizona Historical Society would operate the Museum and affected the structure of the Museum Advisory Council.
Laws 2017, Chapter 221 repealed the conditional enactments and provisions related to the Mining and Mineral Museum enacted in 2016, and transferred the Museum to the University of Arizona permanently. The 2017 measure also required the Arizona Department of Administration to convey title and ownership of the real property housing the Museum to the U of A by July 1, 2017.
- Revised Statutes of Arizona: 1913 Civil Code §§4551 - 4553
- 1928 Revised Code Arizona, Sections 2913 through 2917
- Arizona Code Annotated 1939: 1952 Cumulative Supplement §7-101
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§41-821 through 41-826
- Session Laws
- Laws 1897, Chapter 53
- Laws 1970, Chapter 209
- Laws 1973, Chapter 157
- Laws 1974, Chapter 138
- Laws 1980, Chapter 159
- Laws 1992, Chapter 85
- Laws 2010, Chapter 227
- Laws 2015, Chapter 12 and Chapter 229
- Laws 2016, Chapter 128
- Laws 2017, Chapter 221
- Arizona Auditor General Report No. 13-13. Performance Audit and Sunset Review: Arizona Historical Society, September 2013. https://www.azauditor.gov
Related Collections at Arizona Archives
Record Group 20 – Board of Directors of State Institutions: Arizona Pioneers Historical Society, (1910-1935)
Record Group 55 – Arizona Historical Society, 1880-1966