Visitor Center and Museum
NPS Photo by Anita Badertscher
In 1935, a group of National Park Service employees mounted an expedition to collect architectural information about churches in northern Sonora. The purpose -- to build a visitor center for Tumacacori that embodied the historic style of the mission churches in the area. Architectural features such as the carved wooden doors, arched portales, and corbels are details brought from this expedition to Mexico. A veritable alphabet soup (CCC, WPA, CWA, PWA, HABS, etc.) worked to complete the visitor center building in 1937, the museum in 1939, and the courtyard garden shortly after.
The park's museum contains unique artifacts and images which tell the story of the Santa Cruz Valley, the mission period, and the current age of preservation with the National Park Service. Original wooden statues of saints (or santos) which stood in the niches of the church over 100 years ago can be seen today in the museum.
Also in the museum stand lifesized models of mission priests -- so lifelike, they are known to give visitors a bit of a fright!
The photogallery below contains additional images of the musuem which are great for school projects.