cave creek arizona museum
cave creek arizona museum

A New Page in History at Cave Creek Museum

Writer Amanda Christmann

From the Tonto Apaches to Stoneman’s troops, and from prospectors to cattle ranchers, Cave Creek has made an adventurous ride through the continuum of history. Since 1970, the Cave Creek Museum has honored the stories of those who lay claim to building the historical foundation for the town and its surrounds. This month it will recognize a different kind of honor—a changing of the guard, so to speak.

Evelyn Johnson, who has been at the helm of the museum for the last 12 years, has handed the reins to new executive director Karrie Porter Brace upon her retirement. Porter Brace’s most recent title of chief exhibits curator for Arizona State University libraries, archives and special collections is just one of several relevant experiences in an impressive curriculum vitae. She was chosen from a list of qualified applicants for her energy, eagerness and impressive background in historical artifacts.

“Museums and the objects they have in their care have been a huge part of my life,” Porter Brace explained. “I believe the objects in our lives, ordinary and extraordinary, tell distinct and exciting tales. That’s why I’m honored to be serving as the new executive director of the Cave Creek Museum.”

“Karrie has extensive experience in the museum world and is excited to embrace the communities that we serve and have the privilege to tell their history,” said Johnson in support.

Porter Brace’s fascination with museums began when her Brownie troop took a field trip to the Logan Museum of Anthropology at Beloit College in Illinois. “The experience impressed upon me how the world and our history could be displayed, all in one building,” she said. “It captured my imagination and set a course for the rest of my life.”

Her passion is evident. “It’s the idea of bringing what’s unique about each community—the whats and whys and hows of a shared history,” she explained. “It’s displaying the artifacts to tell the stories of the founders, the families and those who carry on each place’s legacy.”

Porter Brace’s Cave Creek commencement is already looking to be a challenge—but one she’s willing to tackle. She’ll start November with Cave Creek Days, followed by the museum’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the ever-popular Miners’ Dinner Nov. 14.

The Miners’ Dinner provides a great opportunity to meet Porter Brace and see what’s new at the Cave Creek Museum. This year’s all-you-can-eat chuckwagon dinner will feature cowboy balladeer Mike Ewing, a special run of the restored Golden Reef Stamp Mill that once pounded ore from nearby Continental Mountain, blacksmith demonstrations, panning for gold and a silent auction.

This new chapter of the Cave Creek Museum’s history is all-the-more reason to celebrate—and to be part of what continues to make our community thrive.

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