Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is Governor Brewer’s vision an illusion or a delusion?

In a recent article, the Arizona Republic reported that the Governor’s pet project has hit some snags. No one is interested in contributing to a $15.5 million centennial museum that can never be open for the centennial, and mineral museum supporters are fighting the project “every step of the way.” Karen Churchard, director of the AZ Centennial 2012 Foundation, said they have raised $1.7 million of the needed $15.5 million. As dismal as that is, it is probably an exaggeration. She is probably including federal stimulus money. If that is true, the governor is breaking the promise, made in her Februarys 2010 press release, that “no public funds” would be used.

Churchard went on to say “I totally understand that change is hard, but this is the governor’s vision and I think it is a good one. When it’s finished, this is going to be a really unique way for our children to learn about our state.” First, the phrase “change is hard” is an insult to Arizonians. It implies that only Churchard and the governor possess the vision and intellect required to appreciate a 5C museum. Second, a 5C museum would truly be unique. Citrus, cotton, and cattle account for less than a fraction of one percent of the Arizona economy, but their displays would occupy 60% of the main floor. That is a uniquely irrelevant and distorted way for children to learn about their state.

The Governor’s “vision” is both an illusion and a delusion. She is not properly seeing the destruction of the mineral museum and its K-12 earth science education programs, and she has mistaken beliefs about the value of and interest in a 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. The failure of the fundraising effort made a clear statement. Refusing to see it, the Governor simply renamed the ‘centennial museum” the “Arizona Experience” and continues to pretend that her vision (illusion) will become reality.

From the beginning, she absolutely refused to see the engineering and scientific value of the mineral museum and its self-funding K-12 education programs. She is under the illusion that a 5C museum has more educational value that an earth science museum and she is under the delusion that Arizonians will appreciate an “Arizona Experience” museum if she can just extract enough money from somewhere to build it.

Furthermore, she is under the delusion that if Arizonians did want another Arizona history museum, they would want one built by a sole source east coast contractor. She is also under the delusion that the Arizona Historical Society, with a failed $30 million Marley Center Museum, can successfully operate a similar Arizona Experience Museum.

Unfortunately, the Governor lacks the knowledge to properly perceive the tradeoff between an existing top rated mineral museum and a proposed $15.5 million 5C museum (virtual repeat of Marley Center Museum mistake). She is also confused by her belief that her vision is what Arizona wants.


Centennial museum hits snag
Alia Beard Rau and Mary Jo Pitzl
The Arizona Republic, Mar 20, 2011, page B3

Note: Taxpayers are still supporting the failed Marley Center Museum. Last year, it cost them over $3,000,000.

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