Governor Brewer directed the Arizona Historical Society to convert the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum into the 5C Centennial Museum. The museum is to feature cows, cotton, citrus, copper, and climate. In preparation for that, she had the Arizona Legislature rubber stamp a bill to transfer the mineral museum to the historical society. However, so many citizens appeared to protest at the Senate public hearing that was that there was standing room only.
Possibly reacting to unfavorable public comments about such a questionable theme for a new museum, the historical society began backing away from the 5C theme right at the hearing. That put them in the peculiar position of promoting passage of a law they were promising not to follow, but the Senate committee did not seem to mind as they voted for the bill along party lines.
The historical society droned on about “many Cs”, including computers, construction, canyons, and Cs they had not even though of yet. Now, is seems like things in Arizona that start with the letter C is an even sillier theme for a new museum than the historic but archaic 5C economic theme. However, if we are going to spend millions on a “Many C” museum (or perhaps an XC museum), then the Cs should at least be highly relevant.
What is the fist “c thing” that people become aware of when they first come to Arizona? Only someone with the brains of a carrot would not say “cactus”. Colorado has mountains, Florida has beaches, and Arizona has cactus.
So, will there be cactus in the XC Arizona Centennial Museum? They should be. Except for copper, cactus was here long before all those other C things. No matter how you travel into Arizona, they are also the most conspicuous.
Cacti have other worthy features. The do not stink like cows, and they are much more interesting that cotton plants. Cotton plants all look alike. Not so cactus plants. They come in an unending number of sizes and shapes, and they produce a great variety of beautiful flowers and fruit. Furthermore, they are immune to boll weevils, and do not have to be drenched in pesticides to keep them alive.
Look at Arizona postcards. How many cactus picture postcards are there for every citrus field postcard? Ten? A hundred? More? Cactus have a way of capturing the public imagination in a way that a grapefruit tree simply cannot. Grapefruit are boring. Besides, how many people even eat grapefruit?
And just how do you put climate into a museum? Do you need a retractable roof, like a football stadium? That’s expensive. Cactus, on the other hand, can be economically acquired and maintained.
Cactus are the big C. There cannot be an XC museum without cactus.
Note: Arizona Senate Bill 2251 actually states that:
"The Arizona Historical Society shall operate and maintain the Centennial Museum --------to promote the recognition and celebration of the historical, cultural, economic, and social contributions to this state made by the “Five C’S” of cattle, copper, cotton, climate, and citrus for the observance of the centennial of Arizona as a State."
Are you pleased to know that the hired help has been hard at work?