By Steve Segner —
I have a vision: to establish a new museum in the “Heart of Sedona” at the historic Ranger Station “house” and barn on Brewer Road.
My goal is to seamlessly integrate this museum into the context of Ranger Station Park, harmoniously blending it with interpretive panels and artwork spread across the park’s 3.4 acres.
This endeavor aligns perfectly with the objectives outlined in the Ranger Station Park Master Plan, aiming to create a community gathering space that pays tribute to history, fosters a sense of community, encourages interactions, incorporates art, and establishes a sustainable sense of place.
The Ranger Station “house” and barn, among the oldest structures in Sedona, are local landmarks listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1917, the “house” showcases simple Arts and Crafts architectural elements and materials representative of the era’s government standards.
Inside, the original fireplace and mantel offer a glimpse into the period’s lifestyle. The barn, erected in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, mirrors the time’s architectural and societal characteristics.
Both structures reflect, in their exterior and interior appearance, the time and the lifestyle of an era in Sedona as well as the nation. This provides an excellent opportunity to use local history to teach students, residents, and tourists national stories, allowing them to understand Sedona’s story in the context of state, regional, and national history.
These structures provide an invaluable opportunity to utilize local history as a means of educating students, residents, and tourists about national narratives, enabling them to comprehend Sedona’s story within the broader context of state, regional, and national history.
The proposed operation of the Ranger Station Park Museum (actual name to be determined) draws inspiration from the Sedona Heritage Museum in Jordan Historical Park. Our vision entails a similar approach for Ranger Station Park, wherein the Sedona Historical Society would establish a long-term lease agreement with the City to oversee the museum’s operations.
Foremost, the new museum should distinguish itself from the existing Sedona Heritage Museum in Jordan Historical Park. While the current museum delves into the history of the wider Sedona area, the strategic location of the new museum in “The Heart of Sedona” offers an opportunity to delve deeper into specific themes. These themes could encompass:
- Tourism, hospitality, and commerce, with an emphasis on the area’s first hotel, store, and gas station.
- Sedona’s art history, especially its connections to the Dada and Surrealist movements, anchored by the nearby home and studio of Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning. This space could also host exhibitions and displays by local artists.
- A unique perspective on Sedona’s namesake by exploring the proximity of the Schnebleys’ original homesite.
- The proximity of Oak Creek allows for interpretation of water and its role in Sedona’s founding and growth;
- The site’s rich history as a USFS ranger station, providing insights into the rangers, Forest Service, the national forest, and the intricate relationship between the national forest and the Sedona community.
By weaving these themes together, the new museum will not only contribute to Sedona’s cultural landscape but also offer an engaging and immersive experience for visitors seeking to understand and appreciate the multifaceted history of our beautiful Sedona.