Museum Exhibits

Yavapai-Apache Nation

In 2017, Verde Valley Archaeology Center sought grant support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to strengthen and expand our exhibit on the prehistory and history of the Yavapai and the Apache cultures who have occupied the Verde Valley since about 2,000 B.C. This need was identified during discussions with the Yavapai Culture Director and the Apache Culture Director of the Yavapai-Apache Nation. 

The Center was awarded a grant of nearly $24,000 from the Museums for America program. The grant allowed the Center to purchase two large and four small display cases for artifacts. The exhibit includes two large woven baskets on loan from the Nation and eight small woven items on loan from the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott. There is also a diorama of a wickiup village, typical of both the early Yavapai and Apache lifestyles.  In addition, the exhibit area includes two iPad Kiosks that contain information about the Nation that visitors can select and hear rather than having to read large display boards. The Kiosks also allows us to include much more detailed information that visitors may find of interest.  If you click on the image below that will take you to the full iPad program to review at your leisure.

Dyck Cliff Dwelling

Paul Dyck was born in 1917. His family lived for many years in southern Alberta with the Blackfoot Tribe, which initiated Paul’s life-long interest in the Plains Indian culture. Paul’s family returned to Europe in 1921. Being descendants of Sir Antoine Van Dyck, his family decided that Paul was to train to be an artist. At age 12 he was sent to apprentice with his Uncle Johann Van Skramlick, a well-known European portrait painter. Then, at the age of 15, he was sent to train at the Munich Academy. 

In 1934 after leaving Europe, Paul returned to New York (staying only three weeks) and then went to South Dakota to see his friend, One Elk, a Lakota Sioux holy man whom he'd met in Europe. Paul met and fell in love with One Elk’s daughter, Fawn, and they were married. It was during his time living with the Sioux people that they gave him the name Rainbow Hand, an admirable name for a person who was an old world master painter of beautiful paintings. In 1935 Paul’s wife died from childbirthing complications. In despair, he traveled on his Indian motorcycle throughout the West for the next several years,Paul settled in Rimrock in 1938. Using his earnings from advertising illustration work, he purchased a 312-acre ranch that had fallen into disrepair. 

In the late 1950s, Paul became concerned that the cliff dwellings on his property would be pot hunted due to more development in the Rimrock area.  Paul asked Dr. Charles Rozaire of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, if he would be interested in conducting a professional excavation of the cliff dwelling.  Dr. Rozaire conducted excavations over the course of seven seasons of investigations; in 1962, 1968 (two seasons), 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972. These excavations recovered thousands of artifacts, including a large collection of perishable materials preserved in the dry midden deposits inside the dwellings. 

Paul Dyck passed away in 2006 at age of 88. In 2014, John Dyck, son of Paul Dyck and President of the Dyck Foundation, contacted the Verde Valley Archaeology Center to donate the Dyck cliff dwelling artifact collection and site records. The Center quickly accepted the collection. The exhibit displays only a tiny fraction of the items in the collection. There is a display of Farming and Gathering, Hunting, and Weaving.  Items are periodically rotated to keep the exhibit fresh and interesting. 

Sinagua Culture

The most visible prehistoric culture within the Sedona/Verde Valley area were the Sinagua. This culture flourished within the area from about 650 to 1450 and were responsible for all of the cliff dwellings and pueblos that are visited today, such as Montezuma Castle, Tuzigoot, Palatki and Honaki, as well as most of the rock art areas.

The Center has several exhibits on the Sinagua culture. These include an exhibit on their lifestyle, pottery trading system, adornments and one specifically on loan from the U.S. Forest Service of artifacts from the Honanki Heritage site.