To identify Arizona as the Copper State using artwork as the evidence. To present the world's most beautiful metal by acquiring, preserving, educating, and displaying works of coppersmiths from around the world.
To inspire visitors and create memories about the Copper State that will never be forgotten.
1958 The Spark
The Arizona Copper Art Museum originated from a simple spark. In 1958, John and Patricia
Meinke of Minnesota saw in an antique shop several copper molds that captivated them.
Later, Pat opened a small antique shop which kickstarted the massive collection that is
today displayed in this museum.
1970-2003 Copper Dealer
The shop eventually closed in favor of selling copperware at antique shows, primarily in
large cities throughout the U.S.A.; copper items were mostly obtained in Europe. In 1978, son,
Drake, joined the business and started his own collection.
2000 Thoughts of a Museum
Over the years, both collections grew in size and prominence, and the family envisioned
sharing these acquisitions with the public. A museum concept then evolved with a focus of
connecting to an appropriate community which had a foundation built around copper. Thus,
the artifacts would make a nostalgic impact and a significant museum would be realized.
2002 Museum Establishment
The founders, Pat and Drake, then contributed all resources necessary for the museum’s
establishment. The two existing collections and the idea provided the basis of the museum.
2000 Finding the Best State - Arizona
A two-year survey was conducted to find the best location within the U.S.A. for a museum of copper art. Since the museum had to connect to its location, copper producing states were contenders. Arizona, nicknamed the Copper State, was easily chosen being the largest copper producer in the nation.
Finding the Perfect Town
Many towns in Arizona had potential; however, Clarkdale, having the most profound copper connection in the country, was chosen. Clarkdale’s entire foundation was embedded in copper, as it was a massive producer. The town is home to several tourism establishments that added viability to the concept.
Cradle of Civilization
Copper is the oldest and one of the most important metals in the world. It has been at our side since
civilization began and has helped us thrive at every step of human history. It was used in almost everything,
and this museum’s collection stands as the evidence.
Clarkdale’s sole purpose was to produce copper by utilizing the natural resources of the area. Employees of
the copper company had a deep-rooted connection to copper as they were the beginnings of an unknown
journey that spanned the world. However, all of the copper in Clarkdale was exported, and no one ever saw
its beauty or the final outcome of the metal.
Museum Grand Opening
The museum is an official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project and opened as part of
Arizona’s and Clarkdale’s mutual centennial celebrations of 2012. This museum reveals
how copper was fashioned into artwork while on its journey around the world. To show
this, copper was brought back to the Copper State.
2014 - Present Museum Ranks Among the Nation’s Best
Within the first year, the museum won the 2014 Arizona Governor’s Tourism Award. The
museum has also rocketed to the top 1% of 4,500 attractions in Arizona and rates within the
top 1% of 35,000 museums nationally, per travel website ratings.