Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A plan for no plan?

The February 16th post attempted to summarize AHS options for the empty mineral museum building as reported in the referenced AHS Board minutes. However, they do not match the options discussed by the senators in the committee hearing on SB1200 (see prior post).  Those senators had reviewed the plans that the AHS and the DOA submitted to the JLBC.

According to these senators, the options included office space ($2.5 million), a  modern museum ($2.1 million), sale of the building, and leave as is (empty). The sale of the building was one of four  options instead of a reception and event center, and the recommended option was to leave as is (empty) rather than a reception center.

The senators appeared annoyed by the AHS recommendation to leave the building empty rather than allowing children to have their mineral museum and K-12 education programs back.

Having failed to put the building to any alternate use for nearly four years now,  why is the AHS opposed to the return of the K-12 science education programs?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mineral Museum Reopening?

The Senate Rural Affairs and Environment committee passed SB1200 today. If the bill becomes law, it will restore the mineral museum by transferring all museum assets from the Arizona Historical Society to the Arizona Geological Survey. Senator Sylvia Allen is the committee chairman and Senator Gail Griffin (co-chairman) is the bills sponsor. Other committee members are Senators Don Shooter,  Andrea Dalessandro, and Barbara McGuire. The vote was unanimous.

To express support for the bill, Arizona residents can find contact information for their state senators and representatives at


Monday, February 16, 2015

Education or Entertainment?

This blog has, for nearly the past 5 years, been documenting the senseless destruction of the mineral museum and the K-12 education problems. Now, the AHS is continuing to present alternate uses of the building to the State Legislature. The minutes of the January 9, 2015 AHS state board of directors meeting (lines 44 through 82) show that the AHS has now made four recommendations for the future use of the now empty building.

Combined office and display space
A modern museum
A space for receptions and special events
Leave empty as is

The minutes go on to say that the AHS preferred use is a place for “meeting’s, receptions, special events, and other civic related opportunities” ( Cocktail bar like at the Marley Center Museum?)

The building has now been standing empty for almost four years as multiple, prior AHS projects failed.  The obvious (and most economical) use for the building is to restore the once top rated mineral museum and the K-12 science education programs.

Why can’t the kids have their museum back?

Why is letting it stand empty better than letting the kids have it again?

Is the AHS going on beyond madness?

Is this meanness?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Will the Madness end?

Four years ago, an unfortunate piece of legislation gave the Arizona Historical Society control of the once top rated mineral museum in Phoenix. It was a clear case of political malpractice. This blog has documented how the AHS proceeded to destroy the mineral museum in less than a year.  As of this date,  over 100,000 students have been cheated out of the once popular K-12 education programs even though the mineral museum has been fully funded in every subsequent state budget.

Senate Bill 1016 would transfer mineral museum assets from the AHS to the Arizona Geological Survey.

Will sanity prevail?

Will the bill become law?

Will the remnants of the mineral museum be recovered from the apparently incompetent AHS?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Letter to the Auditor General

The following letter was sent to the Auditor General two months ago. There has been no response as of this date.

Debbie Davenport, Auditor General
Office of the Auditor General
2910 North 44th Street, Suite 410
Phoenix, Arizona, 86018

Reference your letter of Oct 27, 2014 to Doug Lindsay concerning Arizona Historical Society

Dear Debbie Davenport,

The above referenced letter to Mr., Lindsay implies that is acceptable for the Arizona Historical Society to place material and equipment from the mineral museum on loan in other locations.  If you read the entire half page content of ARS 41-827 you will see that is not correct.

The Allen amendment to the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum bill, established into law via ARS 41-827 and ARS 41-827.01, was very clearly intended to preserve the operation of the mineral museum and its K-12 science education programs.

Specifically, the AHS was required to:

1.      “operate and maintain the centennial museum that houses the (existing) mining and mineral museum”
2.      “to maintain the mineral museum …
3.      To employ a qualified curator…
4.      To operate “educational programming” ….
5.      To maintain the items, artifacts and other inventory … including equipment and outdoor displays  … and shall not sell or otherwise dispose of materials” …

If you look at the equipment and outdoor displays still standing at 1502 West Washington, you will see that the obvious intent of the Allen amendment was to preserve the mineral museum and K-12 science education programs that served 40,000 students per year on the existing site.

The AHS was well aware of the intent of the Allen amendment. They were represented at two meetings where the amendment was drafted. Furthermore, the legislature transferred the complete mineral museum budget to the AHS. They continue to receive it at this time, even though they are not operating the museum. However, they inexplicably defied every provision of the amendment by closing the museum and then scattering its contents across the state. They even sold some material on eBay.

When I had a law firm challenge the lawless AHS behavior, the Arizona Attorney General responded on their behalf.  The letter from the AG said the AHS would comply with the statutes, but they did not.

Most inexplicably, your office ignored this lawless AHS behavior during the AHS sunset review, even though your auditor was provided with detailed information by multiple individuals. Now, when questioned, you appear to claim that the AHS actions are acceptable (per above referenced letter).
Although I cannot imagine why, it looks like your office is protecting the AHS as they engage in their stature defying activities. 

I respectfully request that you review this situation more thoroughly. The AHS has seriously damaged K-12 science education, in knowing defiance of Arizona law, for no apparent reason. They must be held accountable for their irresponsible actions.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Barbarians closed the museum?

The following letter appeared in the Friday, January 2, 2015 Arizona Republic (page 17).

Your recent review of Gov. Jan Brewer’s tenure in office failed to mention her destructive, senseless act of closing down Phoenix’s wonderful Mining and Mineral Museum.
Her plans for replacing it with a museum of Arizona’s “5Cs” never attracted adequate funding, and there was no good reason for closing an important educational facility and tourist attraction. Only barbarians destroy museums. (Barbara Lesko, Gold Canyon )

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Arizona Historical Society no friend of students.

Despite receiving the complete state mineral museum budget every year since 2010, the AHS closed the mineral museum and scattered its assets across the state in the spring of 2011. Each year since, 40,000 students have been deprived of the K-12 education programs.

Now, as of January 1, 2015, the AHS is offering school tours at their Marley Center Museum (Museum at Papago Park) in Tempe.  They have transferred some of the mineral museum assets there and opened what they call a Gallery of Natural History.

The mineral museum provided free educational services to all students and teachers. The AHS wants $4 per student for a watered down version of the mineral museum.

Why do they need to charge students $4 each when they still get the entire mineral museum budget, plus millions more each year from taxpayers?

Perhaps it does not matter. What responsible teacher would take students to a mediocre history museum for a science lesson?