Arizona State Museum Collections Storage Renovations - The University of Arizona

Arizona State Museum SmithGroup
arizona state museum smithgroup
Arizona State Museum SmithGroup

With its rich Native American and Spanish colonial heritage, Arizona is an archeologist’s paradise. Our team worked with the Arizona State Museum to conceptualize a facility that can house and preserve the state’s rich archeological history.


The University of Arizona


Tucson, Arizona


Architecture, Arts Education, Cultural, Fire Protection and Life Safety Engineering, Historic Preservation, Interiors, MEP Engineering, Programming


137,000 SF

In Arizona, state law requires that any artifact, whether extracted from an archeological dig or uncovered during a construction project be recorded and preserved by the University of Arizona’s Arizona State Museum (ASM). The museum was originally conceived as both the repository and exhibit space for historic material, but after decades of receiving artifacts, the museum ran out of space.

SmithGroup was hired to create a master plan to solve its storage issues and reimagine the beautiful 1935 Spanish Romanesque Revival south building of the ASM as a place of learning and exploration across multiple scientific and artistic disciplines, as befits a major research university. The building is nestled on the historic edge of campus and situated as an ideal “gateway” to diverse offerings of the University – including two other museums.

Our team studied an off-site storage solution while completely reconceiving ASM South in three design options that could be presented to potential donors. The renewed ASM will have flexible galleries and multifunction spaces with controlled daylight to accommodate trans-disciplinary exhibits and host public and private events.

The design options propose returning the main gallery space in ASM South to its former glory and adapt the building for greater accessibility, with interventions ranging from a modest renovation, to a beacon-like skylight, or a contemporary yet complimentary addition.

The project will reflect the rich mix of pedagogies in the arts and sciences that take place daily at the University of Arizona.