Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is the Arizona Historical Society rewriting Arizona history?

The motto of the Arizona Historical Society is: “Saving Arizona’s history since 1864”. That may soon have to be revised to read: “Saved Arizona’s history from 1864 to 2009.” That’s because the AHS now appears to be rewriting Arizona history.

The AHS is planning the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum (now AKA the Arizona Experience museum). Since they choose a sole source out of state contractor, and because they are a state agency, they could not place the procurement themselves. Therefore, the procurement is being placed for them by the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation. That is an Arizona corporation formed by state and quasi state employees that operates out of the Office of Tourism, another state agency.

The Foundation recently released a statement about progress (actually lack thereof) on the new museum. It has been renamed because there is no chance in a spot hotter than Arizona of it ever being open for Arizona’s centennial. In part, the statement read:

Last year, Governor Jan Brewer announced plans to enhance and transform the current Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, located at 15th Avenue and Washington Street in Phoenix, into The Arizona Experience Museum, a highly interactive, technology-driven museum showcasing Arizona’s past, present and future.

Not true.

What the Governor actually said in February 2010 (documented in her Feb 12, 2010 press release entitled: Governor Announces Centennial Birthday Present) was:

This new Centennial Museum will be a vibrant, interactive facility, offering state-of-the-art technology and exhibits unlike any in Arizona,” said Governor Brewer. This facility will feature educational profiles of each industry, showcasing the rich heritage of Arizona’s economy and providing a vision of its brilliant future. -------- Arizona’s story of economic advancement will be told through the “Five Cs” (Copper, Cattle, Citrus, Climate and Cotton) of our state’s industrial heritage. Interactive displays will highlight these key industries allowing the Arizona story to unfold. Each of these displays will bring to light how these prime industries continually bring prosperity and contribute to Arizona’s economic health and vitality. ………….. The Arizona Centennial Commission, the Arizona Centennial 2010 Foundation, the Arizona Historical Society and representatives from the “Five Cs” are working collaboratively to collect the necessary private sector funds to renovate and maintain the museum.

In fact, House Bill 2251 (2010) that revised Arizona statutes to include the centennial museum specifically specified that it is to be the “5C Arizona Centennial Museum.” The recent statement put out by the foundation is nearly a complete rewrite of the Governor’s statements. It is certainly not a paraphrase. Someone tried to completely change the words that came out of the Governors mouth. Since the Foundation is simply helping with an AHS project, the AHS is responsible for this statement. According to the statutes, the “5C Arizona Centennial Museum” is solely an AHS responsibility. The Foundation has no authority to raise funds for it or to build it unless so authorized by the AHS.

Likewise, the AHS has no authority to change its name or to change its theme. These changes are a misrepresentation of what he Governor said, and they are also a violation of Arizona state statutes.

The sole source out to state contractor’s design sketches show almost no trace of the exiting top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. That is another violation of state statutes. HB 2251 (which the Governor signed) clearly stated that the existing Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum would be “housed” within the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. The new museum and the old museum were clearly supposed to share the same building. The AHS and the Centennial 2012 Foundation are now throwing the mineral museum out and using all the floor space for the Arizona Experience Museum. Perhaps the AHS will eventually be reenacting history as well as rewriting it. Perhaps they will all be housed in the old Yuma Territorial Prison.

Note: The sole source contractor is the same one used by AHS for their failed Rio Nuevo project in Tucson. There, the AHS spent $1.4 million tax dollars designing a museum that will never be built.


Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation Advances with Plans for the Arizona Experience Museum
Construction Partners, architect, and museum designer announced, 03.11.2011 – Phoenix-

Governor Announces Centennial Birthday Present
Privately-funded museum dedicated to telling Arizona’s remarkable story of growth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Office of the Governor, Feb 12, 2010

1 comment:

  1. Since time began the AHS stated that the AHS was started in 1884. Woosley becomes director and now its 1864.The Pioneers met in 1884 and started the organization. It was mentioned on paper earlier but became a reality in 1884. Woosley has a problem with numbers, as in the number of artifacts and documents when she talks to the legislators.What a liar.