Thursday, February 10, 2011

The end of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum?

Why the Arizona Historical Society wanted the top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum may forever be a mystery. Clearly, the AHS desperately wanted the building the mineral museum occupied, but the building did not belong to the museum. The museum simply occupied a state owned building assigned to it.

The assets of the mineral museum (established by Arizona statute) consisted only of the mineral collection, displays, and mining equipment. Those could have been relocated or stored and the building could have been assigned to the AHS.  Instead, the AHS proponents pushed through a bill that revised Arizona law and transferred the mineral museum to the AHS.

Now that the AHS has possession of the mineral museum, it appears to be in the process of destroying it.  Schools are no longer allowed to schedule field trips, and Arizona students will be deprived of a lifetime learning experience (50 year old Arizonians fondly remember their 3rd grade field trip to the mineral museum).  Planning for the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum suggests that many of the existing mineral museum assets will be eliminated.

As reported in the Feb 4th post (Cockroaches …), 5C planners and promoters work in secret.  However, one of their documents has recently been exposed to daylight, and it reveals some of their intentions.  The two page document is titled:
Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
Construction Manager at Risk (CM@R)
The Arizona Experience
It requests corporate resumes for a 5C constructor manager. The RFQ identifies the following point of contact: Janet Collegio, Arizona Department of Administration, 100 North 15th Ave, Suite 202, Phoenix, AZ, 85007.

The RFQ states that the current mineral museum will be shut down on June 1, 2011, and that the target opening date for new museum is November 30, 2012. The design time is 10 months and the construction time is 12 months.  The RFQ further states that:
The primary goal of the project is to renovate the existing building to create the “Arizona Experience,” that showcases the 5C’s Gallery depicting Cattle, Citrus, Climate, Copper and Cotton as well as a Gem and Minerals Gallery. There will be an Orientation Theatre, and Event Space, New Main Lobby and Gift Shop, Education and Public Programming, as well as administration and support space for both the Southern Arizona Division and State Historical Society Headquarters.

Another portion of the RFQ states that the total floor space will be 18,000 square feet. Therefore, given every thing that will be added inside the existing building, the museum area cannot be very large. That suggests the primary purpose of this new AHS project may have little to do with the museum. A token museum is perhaps adequate to justify the use of public funds to maintain and staff the “museum.”  That would be consistent with the design and layout of the Marley Center Museum as described in prior posts.

Given the existing design of the Marley, the “Event Space” for the new 5C museum presumably means cocktail lounge.  So, students will probably be forever deprived of a lifetime learning experience so that the Governor and the AHS can rub elbows with the upper crust at a conveniently located watering hole on the Capitol Mall.

Too bad the kids won’t enjoy “The Arizona Experience.”

Added Note on Feb 10th: Ron Vokoun of Mortenson Construction tweeted their selection as the 5C contractor.


  1. The AHS fought the battle for where the HQ should be for the Agency. That location was and is supposed to be in the Agency HQ in Tucson. Its in the bylaws and this battle was fought and lost by the Phoenix board members before.
    Maybe you should post the by-laws to remind those people. This battle then becomes more that the location of a mineral museum it will be a fight to the death within the AHS. Should be fun to watch.
    Its all in the board minutes and the public record of the Annual Meeting of the AHS.

  2. The Mortenson Construction Co. is from out of state. You mean there are no ARIZONA Construction companies who can rehab a pre-existing building in Phoenix. We are not talking about building a new building we are talking about spending 12 million dollars to do fixer upper.

  3. Much of the $12 million will go to the sole source east coast museum display designer, Gallagher and Associates. The contractor will get a fee on top of the $12 million.