News from the Sky: Airport Museum—35 Years and Counting

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

For 35 years the Phoenix Airport Museum has been filling Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with art. The museum is located throughout the entire airport system. Visitors to the airport can view art inside, outside, above, and below. Artist-designed floors, ceilings, and murals, as well as themed exhibitions and an outdoor sculpture garden are all part of the experience.

Art at Phoenix Sky Harbor has been a long-standing tradition. The program’s roots began in 1962 when the new modern Terminal 2 opened with the iconic 75’ wide Phoenix mural created by Paul Coze. Terminal 3 was designed with art in mind and opened in 1979 with large-scale commissioned paintings and sculptures.

In 1988, an exhibition titled Dental Impressions presented children’s posters along with contemporary art and historic dental equipment. This quirky show about teeth is considered the birth of an airport art program paving the way for a full-blown museum.

The museum’s mission is to enhance the airport visitor’s experience by creating memorable environments that promote Arizona’s unique artistic and cultural heritage. The mission is accomplished by presenting a wide variety of themed exhibitions on everything from Arizona’s scenic wonders to art and science to embellished motorcycles. Exhibitions are engaging, educational, accessible, and unintimidating, typically providing something for everyone.

During the last 35 years, the Phoenix Airport Museum has grown considerably. The art collection grew from fewer than 20 pieces to more than 1,000 of both portable and architecturally integrated works in all mediums. The museum has presented 560 themed art and aviation history exhibitions in more than 40 display areas throughout the airport system. In addition, the museum has assembled an extensive aviation history collection and archive. Today, the Phoenix Airport Museum has become one of the largest airport art programs in the country.

The museum is free to all airport visitors. You do not need a plane ticket, because most art and exhibitions are pre-security and viewable 24/7. Arizona’s unique artistic resources will continue to guide the Phoenix Airport Museum for decades to come. Learn more at