Saturday, October 9, 2010
UPDATE to “What’s happening to the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum”, Oct 2010
The original June 5 blog post entitled “What’s happening to the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum” described preparation and passage of the bill transferring the mineral museum to the Arizona Historical Society (AHS) for them to decimate and convert into the Governors 5C Arizona Centennial Museum.
The bill became law on July 29, and the AHS has taken control of the mineral museum. Conversion to the centennial museum has not started because centennial museum fund raising has been unsuccessful thus far.
The long circulating story about Freeport donating a million dollars for the %C Arizona Centennial Museum appears to be only partially true. Apparently the commitment is conditional, requiring completion and approval of centennial museum plans.
No plan has been presented for the centennial museum. The sole source out of state contractor did circulate a questionnaire seeking input for new displays. The questions suggest that the centennial museum, if built, will be a social studies museum.
At the moment, the mineral museum continues to function as it did. Most of the volunteers are still supporting it and the earth science education educating programs. However, the volunteers are extremely apprehensive about the future, and the curator has resigned.
Though work cannot start on the centennial museum, millions of state tax dollars are being diverted to the AHS to administer and maintain it. The AHS budget increased over 50% in the last year.
The Governor committed 7 million dollars (federal pork) to replace the perfectly functional sidewalks on Centennial Way (in front of the museum) with wider ones including some extra frills. The contract has been placed, and this may now be the greatest threat to the functionally restored stamp mill front of the museum.
Even though there was no need to do so at this time, the Governors office spent tens of thousands of dollars in September to move the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (ADMMR) out of the mineral museum building. They are now in temporary quarters in two different buildings. Offices are in one on Adams Street, and some of the mine and mineral records are in another on Washington Street. The public no longer has easy access to the department because the offices are in a health department building with controlled access. Their function is badly compromised. Personnel are in one building, data files are in a second building, and mineral samples are in third under AHS control.
So, after over a year of preparation, the Governor appears to have accomplished absolutely nothing except to push through the bill inappropriately transferring the mineral museum to the AHS, to squander 7 million dollars on a sidewalk to nowhere (no one will use it), and to make an absolute mess out of the ADMMR. Which centennial is the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum being prepared for?