12901 N. La Montana Dr.,
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
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A Message from the Executive Director

by | May 12, 2022

What an exciting time here at the River of Time!

We’ve got a new look, a new name, and lots of opportunities for new programming. We are excited about the future! As you probably know by now, we’ve completed our rebranding journey; we have a modern new logo, a contemporary new website, and we are now officially known as the L. Alan Cruikshank River of Time Museum and Exploration Center!

A New Mission

The River of Time had to evolve, so we have repurposed our mission for the 21st Century. Water has always been central to the River of Time, as we showcased our region’s history and its inextricable links to flowing waters of the Verde River. But now water is coming more sharply into focus for all desert dwellers as our mega drought continues and we look to the future. We want to do our part to educate and increase awareness about the role water has had in our past, and the role water conservation must play in our future. So, our mission had to evolve:

To engage, entertain, educate, and inspire people about the Lower Verde Valley, the river that runs through it, and the life that water brings to the desert.

A New Fountain Hills Attraction

As we embarked on the strategic planning process, we had the opportunity to talk with many of you: our constituents, members, and supporters. Although we discovered that we were in fact a beloved institution in our community, we also learned that there was a concern that the old museum was a “one and done.” In other words, once you had visited us, there was nothing to come back for.

We tackled that challenge on two levels. First, in the redesign of the exhibits we included more stories with increased interpretation and a complete flow through the timeline from past to present. We also produced a video with stunning visuals that lays out the history of the Lower Verde River region and the challenges of surviving with this limited resource in the desert. Additionally we’ve planned for a series of temporary exhibits to be mounted and featured throughout the year. These will focus in more detail on the myriad stories that couldn’t be included in the limited space of our existing building.

We wanted and needed to become ‘more than just a museum’. We want to become a destination, an attraction, for people to come explore, discover, and enjoy not just the River of Time, but our beautiful piece of central Arizona.

River of Time Grand Opening

Adding “Exploration Center” to our name was imagined when discussions began about how to better incorporate our communities and partners into our programs and events. The highly successful Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Tour was used as a model to begin building other tour programs. Watch this space because we’re ‘exploring’ lots of new opportunities to engage and excite our visitors!

Come, Experience the Journey!

The first in our new “Exploration Tours” will be in partnership with McDowell Sonoran Conservancy (MSC). A series of hikes in the Scottsdale Sonoran Preserve conducted by MSC will highlight topics related to River of Time exhibits. After an interpreted, themed hike, participants will gather back at the River of Time for a tour of the related exhibits and then be treated to a catered lunch. The first in this series, Fantastic Foragers, was launched this spring and will return for Fall 2022 offerings.

Summer is a great time to visit! We look forward to welcoming you to the newly reimagined and redesigned River of Time! You can buy your tickets here!