Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The 5Cs and the Arizona Historical Society

In early 2010, the Arizona Historical Society participated in a hostile takeover of the top- rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. They intend to convert it into the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum featuring cattle, citrus, climate, copper and cotton.

The pedigree of the 5Cs is a bit fuzzy. Someone fluffed the classic 4Cs from old Arizona history books into the 5Cs by adding “climate” which supposedly represents tourism. Where did the AHS get their burning desire to present either the 4 or 5Cs?  Not from their history.

In the 1990s, the AHS was handed tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to build the Marley Center Museum (described in the Feb 6th post).  They could have included a cattle yard and a citrus orchard had they wanted to.  Does the Marley present the 5Cs?


Does it even present 4Cs?

Well, yes and no.

On the second floor, the south east corner of the Marley does display 4Cs: cattle, citrus, cotton, and chickens. Yes, CHICKENS! A large glass case displays a bale of cotton and related items.  A large mural shows cattle and citrus. Another large case, similar to the one with the cotton bale, features chickens.

Is there any display in any way related to copper within sight (or hearing) of the chicken edition of the 4Cs display?


Finding anything related to copper in the Marley takes some effort.  There is a copper room.  That turns out to be the kitchen down on the first floor. The door says “Copper Room,” but it is really the stainless steel room. The only things remotely related to copper are a few pictures of old mines on one wall.

Around the first floor courtyard, there are some large rocks containing copper minerals. They are not labeled.  The uninformed visitor would think that maintenance workers spilled a bit of blue and green paint on them.

Back on the second floor, far from the “4Cs,” there is a relatively small case labeled “Manufacturing and Mining. ”  It includes a rock drill and a half roll of small copper tubing!

The Marley makes absolutely no attempt to tell the story of Arizona’s unique mining history. Nor does it explain the contribution of mining to Arizona’s economy, past and present.  Rather, the Marley misinforms any visitors that should happen to appear. It implies that mining is insignificant relative to cattle, citrus, cotton, and chickens.

Perhaps that explains the AHS's desire to destroy the top rated (and historic) Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. It simply dislikes mining, is embarrassed by Arizona’s unique and historic mining heritage, and seeks to rewrite history to make mining disappear.

                           Cattle and Citrus


Copper Tubing

"Copper Room"

Unlabeled Copper Minerals

1. The sarcastic September 16th post (Will Governor Brewer put chickens in the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum?) was written long before this blogger’s Feb 11, 2011 tour of the Marley and the actual discovery of a chicken display.

2. The June 16, 2010 post (Will the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum be relevant in 2012?) showed that the other Cs are insignificant relative to copper.

1 comment:

  1. The old 5 "C"s concept for exhibits is a lazy mans way of doing history in a museum. It lacks thought and would bore the visitors to death. It doesnt seem to excite them right now so why would they expect anything different?
    Arizona has a rich and exciting history. So who thought up this concept? Oh.... excuse me its either a New York expensive team or the administration of AHS.