Thursday, February 17, 2011
Why attack the Arizona Historical Society?
The following comment appeared under the February 4th post. It is a very good question, and deserves further discussion.
It seems as though your position is one against both the AHS and the museum. Regardless of the problems with AHS, the work it does is important, and focusing on the AHS only drives away many of those that would otherwise support your position against the museum.
In the quoted comment, “museum” means 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. Others have asked a similar question. The questions obviously assume the AHS is really dedicated to Arizona history.
This blog did begin as a non-political attack on the proposed 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. At the time, the AHS might have been just another victim in the Centennial Commission’s plans. However, it later became apparent that the AHS was not an innocent party. Documents now show that, beginning in mid 2009, the AHS was a willing participant in the plans for a hostile takeover of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum.
As a result of that takeover, Arizona’s scientific mineral collection is now under the control of the AHS. That is completely inappropriate and unacceptable. Recovery of the collection is urgent, and collateral damage to the AHS cannot be a concern. Furthermore, the hostile takeover of the mineral museum is damaging K-12 earth science education and Arizona’s mining industry. The AHS has already started shutting down the education programs.
Claims that the AHS had museum management expertise were found to be flawed. The AHS obviously has experience, but not expertise. The AHS is either not interested in, or does not understand, the operation of a top rated museum. The design and condition of the Marley Center Museum clearly demonstrates that. The somewhat hidden museum area is in a state of disrepair, and the library is closed. The AHS does not appear particularly interested in its assigned mission.
The AHS, with funding for 50 full time equivalent positions, never produced a top rated museum. The mineral museum, with funding for just 1 full time position, did. The AHS has powerful political connections, but no community support. It pays a lobbyist to harvest tax dollars, but is unable to rise any private funding. Arizona is not being well served by the AHS.
The work that the AHS is supposed to be doing is indeed important. Nothing on this blog takes a position against the mission assigned to the AHS as it appears in the Arizona statutes. However, the AHS is apparently not focused on that mission. The AHS needs to be cleaned out and refocused, or replaced with a private foundation.
Thus, the attack is now directed on the AHS as well as on the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum.