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Below is the list of tours for the 2023 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference in Tucson, Arizona, with each day's tours grouped together by date. Secure your spot by registering early for any tour by sending an email to Connie Gutierrez, Conference Planner. In the email Subject Line, write I would like to attend [NAME OF TOUR] on [DATE] at [TIME]. You can also register at the conference Registration Desk at the Tucson Conference Center. 



#1 Tour: African American Museum of Southern Arizona. Explore Arizona's first African American museum which houses valuable oral histories, legacy stories from native Tucsonans and Arizonans, and a commitment to community engagement. We are a Movement, not just a Museum! We have hosted events with civil rights icons like Ruby Bridges and are honored to preserve Southern Arizona's African American and Black history. Discover our curated stories, images, and artifacts, contributing to a richer understanding of the past and benefiting our community. 

  • Guided one hour tours: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., Noon, and 1 p.m.

  • Meeting location: University of Arizona Campus, Student Union Room 244

  • Registration: up to 30 guests per hour

  • Cost: free; donations appreciated

  • Self-transportation; park in 2nd Street garage; click on "Museum Map Guide" for additional parking suggestions

  • ADA/accessibility information: parking and maps     

  • Hosts: Beverely Elliott, Executive Director, and Jie Li (Jenny), Curatorial Assistant II

  • Questions: 520-907-2585 or



#2 Tour: Eckbo Landscape Tour. The Alva Bustamante Torres Plaza surrounded by the Tucson Convention Center, the Leo Rich Theater and the Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, was designed by world-renowned modernist landscape architect Garrett Eckbo (1910-2000). Eckbo was known for his interest in designing “people places.” Completed in two stages in 1971 and 1973, this landscape is the largest preserved Eckbo design sequence in the United States. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2015, the landscape has since been rehabilitated following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. 

  • Time: 2:40 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Meeting Location: in front of Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, Tucson Convention Center

  • Maximum participants: 20

  • Self-transportation, walk to the meeting site, wear comfortable shoes, and bring water

  • ADA/accessibility: yes; barrier free

  • Host: Helen Erickson, College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture



#3 Tour: Tumamoc Hill. Tumamoc Hill is an NRHP-listed property that includes both prehistoric and historic elements. It has been actively used for cultivation, habitation, and botanical research since the early Archaic period. Tour will make two stops along the hill, one to tour the historic Desert Laboratory (originally the Carnegie Desert Botanical Laboratory) which was founded in 1903 and the other to view the prehistoric trincheras features on the hill.

Participants must be able to walk short distances over uneven, rocky terrain. Proper footwear expected. Bring water (there is a refill station available on the hill). Click here for complete rules and regulations about Tumamoc Hill access.

  • Meet at designated conference spot at 6:30 a.m., tour begins at 7 a.m.

  • Maximum tour participants: 15

  • Van transportation available

  • ADA/accessibility: no

  • Hosts: Ed Galda (UArizona), Paul Fish (UArizona Emeritus), Suzanne Fish (Arizona Emeritus)

  • Questions: Shannon Plummer, M.A., RPA, Arizona Antiquities Act Administrator,

#4 Tour: Presidio San Agustin del Tucson Museum. Tour includes an explanation of the history of the Presidio. A tour of the changing exhibits in the Jacome-Siquieros home that also houses the Museum Shop, a glimpse into a Presidio-era home and barracks, and an opportunity to see an exact replica of an 18th century cannon. There will be an explanation of a 2,000 year old Native American pit house and what it represented. And, a walk through the Early People’s Park to discuss how the Tohono O’odham’s ancestors lived and farmed in the Tucson basin, and a view of a store-room used for food and supplies.

  • Time: 12:10 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

  • Meeting location: 196 N. Court Ave. (a short 5-10 minute walk from the conference)

  • Cost: $5 for the tour, 45 minute docent guided tour (prepaid at time of registration)

  • No maximum guests; tour groups will be about 15 people each

  • Self-transportation


OPTIONAL: Dandelion Café Lunch option $20 (pre-paid at time of registration). Deluxe sack lunch ready and waiting will only be available if pre-registered and paid for. Otherwise, guests will need to order alongside regular guests and wait for prep time. Sack lunch options: 

  1. Grilled cod sandwich, pasta salad, cookie and choice of beverage.

  2. Grilled veggies (vegetarian or vegan), house salad, cookie and choice of beverage

  3. Court Avenue Burger, fries, cookie and choice of beverage

  4. Gluten free option, choice of either grilled veggies, grilled cod or grilled ground beef patty with your choice of either fries, grilled brussel sprouts or side salad, a cookie, and choice of beverage 

#5 Tour: Rialto Theatre. Built by William Curlett and Son, the historic Rialto Theatre first lit up the east end of Congress Street in 1920, hosting traveling vaudeville shows, prominent performing artists of the day (e.g., Ginger Rogers, Anna Pavlova), newsreels, cartoons, and silent films. The Rialto Theatre ushered in the “talkie” era to Tucson in 1929, and in later decades, operating as The Paramount, the Theatre enjoyed a marquee period before closing as a studio motion-picture house in 1963. Following several years’ dormancy and use as a furniture storage space, the Theatre reopened as El Cine Plaza, a first-run Spanish language theatre previously housed in what is now the Temple of Music and Art. A minor fire, a major boiler explosion, and a near-demolition later, Theatre was renovated and reopened in 1995. Since then, it has served as a marquee venue in downtown Tucson, run by the Rialto Theatre Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship and preservation of this unique entertainment venue and cornerstone of downtown Tucson. Today, the Rialto Theatre and its sister venues 191 Toole and R Bar collectively serve more than 250K visitors and present 300+ high-quality performing arts and education programs annually, all reflective of the diverse and vibrant community it serves.


  • Tour time: 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. 

  • Light refreshments provided

  • Maximum number of participants: 30  

  • Cost: Free, donations are welcomed and encouraged

  • Location: 318 E. Congress St.

  • Special instructions: balcony portion of the tour is not ADA-accessible

  • Self-transportation; 10-minute walk east of the conference; self-paid parking ($3) is available in the El Centro Parking Garage located across Congress St., to the immediate north of the Rialto Theatre

  • ADA/accessibility: balcony portion of the tour is not ADA-accessible

  • Host: Cathy Rivers, Rialto Theatre Foundation

#6 Barrio Tour: At the 2022 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference in Yuma, a well-attended session was held on "How can preservation be used as a tool to address gentrification and appropriation." Since then, research has been gathered and partnerships formed by grassroots advocates to be introduced at this year's conference in Tucson. In addition, take a guided walking tour to learn of the Barrio’s special places, traditions, and stories, and to learn more the role that historic preservation is playing. Join us as we celebrate the Barrio's 102 anniversary! 

  • Tour time: 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. (tentative)

  • Meeting location: to be determined

  • Maximum participants: to be determined

  • Cost: to be determined

  • ADA/accessibility: to be determined

  • Hosts: to be determined

  • Questions: to be determined


#7 Tour: Ignite Sign Museum. Ignite Sign Art Museum tour showcases signs that were once part of Tucson and Arizona’s historical fabric. You will hear the history of the collection, the rescuing of historically significant signs and the restoration process. Some of the signs have been restored and are on display and others are still in process. The tour includes an in depth discussion of neon history and a bending demonstration.

  • Tour times: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (two 2-hour tours at each time)

  • Meeting location: 331 S. Olsen

  • Maximum participants: 15 each tour

  • Cost: $10

  • Self transportation

  • ADA/accessibility: yes

  • Host: Jude Cook, Founder

  • Contact: 520-319-0888 or


#8 Tour: Valley of the Moon Tour & Walkabout. Valley of the Moon’s restoration work in the Enchanted Garden complex illustrates the unique challenges of preservation of an artist-built environment and a coming together of traditional artisans and cutting-edge imaging in the creation of an innovative repair plan. LiDAR display will be available. Valley of the Moon was constructed between 1923 and 1932 by George Phar Legler from rocks, recycled material, adulterated Sears & Robuck cement and a glorious vision into an imaginatively integrated collection of buildings, landscapes, miniatures, and intimate experiences. Legler used this magical place to promote kindness and inclusion. This tradition lives on 100 years later, with the whimsical storybook land essentially unchanged, due to the efforts of a 78-year-old micro non-profit. 

  • Docent-led tours: 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. (maximum registration is 15 people per tour) OR explore on your own between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Cost: as is tradition, a donation box is available 

  • Location: 2544 E. Allen Rd.

  • Wear closed-toed, comfortable walking shoes

  • Self-transportation

  • ADA/accessibility: not completely, some walkways are accessible, many areas are not, or partially accessible

  • Host: Jenni Sunshine, President

  • Questions: 520-609-9569


#9 Tour: Teatro Carmen. The iconic 1915 Teatro Carmen building in Barrio Viejo is being restored and will include a 250-300 seat performing arts space, restaurant, bar, and outdoor patio. The property has Hispanic, African-American and Chinese history which will be celebrated appropriately upon completion of the project. Currently the goal is late 2025, but entirely dependent upon fundraising, of which nearly 1/2 has been raised. The facade restoration was funded in part by an Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund grant. Project director Herb Stratford will lead the tour, he also restored the 1929 Fox Tucson Theatre and 1883 Arizona Daily Star building in Tucson.

  • Tour times: 11:30 a.m., Noon, or 12:30 p.m.

  • Maximum number of participants: 30 (each tour)

  • Cost: free, donations welcome

  • Meeting location: 380 S. Meyer Ave.

  • Wear closed-toed shoes as this is a construction site

  • Self-transportation

  • ADA/accessibility: yes

  • Host: Herb Stratford, President, Historic Theatre Consultants


#10 Tour: University Indian Ruins. University Indian Ruins is a National Register-listed property that includes both prehistoric and historic elements. It includes one of the last remaining Hohokam Classic Period platform mounds in the Tucson Basin. Tour will include viewing the platform mound as well as the historic structures constructed by the University Arizona in the 1930s to support archaeological research at the site.

  • Meet at designated conference spot at 8:15 a.m., tour begins at 9 a.m.

  • Maximum number of tour participants: 25

  • Cost: free

  • ADA/accessibility. participants must be able to walk short distances over uneven terrain; proper

  • footwear expected; bring water

  • Host: Contact: Shannon Plummer, M.A., RPA, Arizona Antiquities Act Administrator, Arizona State Museum, The University of Arizona

  • Contact: 520-971-0492 or


#11 Tour: Urban Renewal Walking Tour. Urban renewal added to the chaos of the 1960s with “slum clearance.” This provided cover for racist attitudes and was enabled by a convenient relationship between local government with the power of eminent domain and real estate interests. Quickly, truly historic buildings and landscapes vanished, given that there was no “voice” for preservation in communities across the nation. In Tucson, the destruction of the Old Pueblo’s original neighborhood is likely the saddest chapter in our history. There were voices for preservation but this was the infancy of the historic preservation movement in Tucson and the nation at large. The tour will walk the entire length of the urban renewal zone with emphasis on areas of preservation. We will finish at the “wishing shrine” where the Butterfield Parkway proposal was stopped. Participants will use maps, photographs, and newspaper articles of the time to understand the challenges to preservation and the resulting establishment of the Tucson historic preservation ordinance.

  • Tour time: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

  • Cost: $20

  • Limited to 12 participants; informational handouts included

  • Self-transportation: meet at the fountain in El Presidio Park (located between Tucson City Hall and the historic Pima County Courthouse and sitting atop the underground parking garage)

  • Wear comfortable, closed-toed walking shoes; bring water

  • ADA/accessibility: tour takes participants over city sidewalks, crossing streets

  • Host: Ken Scoville, Retired Educator and Tucson Historian


#12 Tour: San Xavier del Bac Mission. San Xavier’s spectacular baroque interior and ambitious dome and vault construction make it a unique and premier example of Spanish Colonial art and architecture in the United States. This tour will cover the history of San Xavier del Bac, with an emphasis on architectural and art history, while discussing ongoing preservation and conservation work and the complexity of preserving a living church within a tribal nation. Patronato San Xavier funds and directs ethical conservation, conducts scientific research, and conveys the significance of Mission San Xavier del Bac, a National Historic Landmark, in the community of Wa:k, part of the Tohono O’odham Nation.  

  • Time: 11 a.m.

  • Meeting place: 1950 W. San Xavier Road; meet in the plaza in front of the mission

  • Maximum number of participants: 25

  • Cost: suggested donation $25

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes

  • Self-transportation

  • ADA/accessibility: the Mission is mostly accessible, there are ramps that provide access to the ground floor of the church. Busy times can be challenging as the aisles are quite narrow. The tour will go to the roof and choir loft which requires climbing relatively steep an uneven stairs.

  • Hosts: Miles Green and Starr Herr-Cardillo, Patronato San Xavier

  • Questions:

Please note that for some tours, specific details are pending and should be confirmed closer to the conference date.

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