Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More hogwash from Governor Brewer’s office

The following recently appeared on page 24 of the proposed FY 2012 executive budget summary (www.az.gov)

Begin quote:

To streamline management of the State’s historical assets, the Executive recommends eliminating the Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (DMMR) and reassigning its two major functions to related agencies.

Centennial Museum. Pursuant to an FY 2011 initiative, the Mines and Minerals Museum is to be enhanced by making it a part of the new Centennial Museum, which will open in early FY 2013. The Centennial Museum will be operated by the Arizona Historical Society (AHS). As part of that initiative, a portion of the funding necessary to operate the Centennial Museum was transferred to AHS from the DMMR to fund a museum curator position and pay for rent expenses.

For FY 2012, the Executive recommends transferring from DMMR the balance of $120,000 to operate the Centennial Museum.

Agency Merger. To reform the State’s bifurcated system of mineral promotion and education, the Executive recommends merging the remaining functions and funding of the DMMR into the Arizona Geological Survey.

DMMR maintains an extensive repository of historical documents and maps related to mining and minerals in Arizona. The Executive recommends transferring the repository and $100,000 to the Geological Survey for the cataloging and digitizing of those historic records, resulting in convenient online access and display of the material, thus giving the public a more comprehensive understanding of Arizona’s geological character and mineral resources.
End quote:
Questions from upper management (taxpayers)

  1. Will “streamlining” management structure be beneficial if one of the agencies receiving additional responsibility has not been able to handle the responsibility it already has (See Jan 3rd post)?

  1. Exactly how will transferring a top rated earth science museum (mineral museum) to an under performing non technical agency “enhance” the mineral museum?

  1. What is the projected attendance for a “centennial” museum that opens a year after Arizona’s centennial and a year and a half after the celebration begins? (Nationwide, average attendance at a history museum is 3% that of a science museum.)

  1. Since the entire staff of the DMMR was already eliminated (ref: yesterdays post), who will have the knowledge necessary to index and catalog the digitized records in a manner that will make them useful for mining engineers and mineral exploration companies?
  2. If bifurcation of mineral information was a problem, won’t bifurcation of scientific mineral specimens (now in the possession of the AHS) and supporting data (in ADMMR or AGS) be worse?


  1. Point #3. Will the Centennial Museum have free admission or charge admission? Will they charge from the day they open? Who will pay for such boring exhibits.
    Check to see what happened to the attendance of all of the AHS museums after they started to charge admissions!! It dropped a lot.

  2. The initial statements out of the Governors office (last February) said the 5C museum wold be self sustaining. If so, it would have to charge admission.

    However, there is absolutely no support for the assumption that it can ever be self supporting. Museum Association of America statistics show that history museums are failing across the country. They no longer attract visitors.

    Bits of information in Arizona JLBC reports show that AHS attendance dropped by about 3/4 when their museums began charging admission.

  3. If their director and board of directors actually raised some money maybe the public would be able to walk into the places. In todays world a family will not be able to afford to walk in. And see a 5"C"'s exhibit!! They will go and rent movies from Netflix and some popcorn from Walmart. Better deal.
    The attendance at the Arizona Desert Museum in Tucson and the Pima Air Museum is extremely high but many of those visitors are from out of town (winter visitors) and better off locals who can afford paying the price of admission. The Tucson Zoo and Phoeniz Zoo which have low admissions are probably doing well. The cheap movie theaters in Tucson are packed on the days when the lower prices are in effect.

  4. Nationwide, museum attendance increased during the recession. However, attendance at AHS museums seems to be declining.