Old Ned

Arizona Historymakers™

Arizona Historical Society

Michael J. Fox

1945 -

Honored as Historymaker 2019

Art and Heritage Preservationist

Oral History Transcript:

Video by Inspired Media 360 for the Historical League

Michael J. Fox, founding director/CEO of Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West, began his career in nonprofit management. His transition to the world of arts and culture, however, would define his legacy. In 1975, Mr. Fox joined the Phoenix Art Museum, then years later administered the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art. In 1980, he became its director and helped reposition the museum into becoming nationally recognized for its Native American artistic and material cultural collections, exhibitions, and relationships. Mr. Fox's interests in Native American issues went beyond the walls of the museum, evidenced by his leadership of a national initiative to settle decades of disputes involving Native Americans, scientists, and museums. His work with national leaders, testimony before U.S. Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, and his two-year management of National Dialogue on Repatriation led to the 1990 passage of the landmark Native American Graves Protection Act. In Arizona he also has led the Museum of Northern Arizona and its Colton Research Center and Butterfly Wonderland Conservatory. Mr. Fox has served as board member of the American Association of Museums, president of the Western Museums Association and held other positions in the arts and community development in Arizona. Outside Arizona he developed two new cultural institutions for the University of California at Berkeley and served as founding director/CEO of the International Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. He earned a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in management.