The 5C Arizona Centennial Museum will be an international embarrassment no matter what the quality of its displays may be. That is because of the loss of the existing top rated mineral museum it is displacing and because of the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.The annual Tucson show attracts over 50,000 visitors a year from around the world. They come from Thailand, China, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Russia, and many other countries. Depending upon which review you read, the Tucson show is either the largest gem or mineral show in the USA, or the largest in the world. Since fossils were added to the agenda, it has been described as the largest natural science show in the world.
The “show” is actually over 40 different shows scattered over the city of Tucson in two dozen different locations. Virtually every hotel and motel is filled with mineral dealers or buyers. Dealer’s rooms become shops by day. Various surveys place the impact on the Tucson economy between 75 million and 110 million dollars. It is the largest annual event in the city of Tucson.
Visitors coming to the two week show spend and average of 20 days in Arizona. About 50 percent take extra time to sight see and take tours. About 20 percent visit museums.
Now, just what might type of museum might attract this international crowd? The existing Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Phoenix is an obvious choice, and is closely associated with this international Tucson event. For Arizona to eliminate the mineral museum in favor of another history museum will appear ludicrous.
Each year, the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum has placed a guest display in the 180,000 square foot main show in the Tucson Convention Center, as do other museums from around the world. Prestigious museums such as the Smithsonian and the Sorbonne have participated in the Tucson show.
Eliminating the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum will appear incomprehensible to this large crowd of international visitors, especially since Arizona is the number one mining state for non fuel minerals. The huge Tucson show, begun is 1955, is in Tucson because of Arizona’s exceptional mineral resources. Many of Arizona’s mines are world famous among mineral collectors because of the prized specimens those mines have produced.
Why would you close a top rated and internationally recognized mineral museum to build another history museum?
Arizona will suffer international embarrassment.
Note: Statistics for this blog currently (Oct 16th) show viewers in Canada, South Africa, Ghana, Brazil, Japan, Indonesia, China, India, and Vietnam.