Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Psychic historical society?

According to a 2010 revision to the Arizona statutes, the Arizona Historical Society is responsible for the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. In the Governor’s February 12, 2010 press release, she said, “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.” In a recent (Mar 20, 2012) Arizona Republic article, Karen Churchard said “the new museum will “ tell the story of Arizona’s economic past and future … this is the governor’s vision and I think it is a great one.” Karen Churchard is the director of the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation which is placing the sole source contracts to build the centennial museum.

Now, the Governor chose the AHS to maintain and operate the centennial museum. Just exactly how did she determine that the historical society was the best agency to manage a facility predicting Arizona’s future? A fortune telling historical society is an oxymoron. She could have thrown the yellow pages down the elevator shaft and torn off the first open page to find a better qualified organization to foresee the future.

The fluff being added to the centennial museum also makes the AHS uniquely unqualified to operate it. Stung by criticism of the banality of the 5Cs as a museum theme, the Governor’s office began adding all sorts of high tech gizmos from robots to spacecraft. Just how is the AHS going to plan, prepare, and maintain displays explaining high tech industries? The choice of the AHS for that task is ludicrous.

The 5Cs however, are still the prized center piece of the centennial museum. The 5Cs will each occupy 1/5th of the main floor, and the fluff will be stuffed in the mezzanine. That means most of the floor space will feature the Governors vision of the “brilliant future” of the 5Cs. There is a major problem here. Three of the 5Cs are in continuous decline. Altogether, citrus, cotton, and cattle no longer make up even a half percent of the Arizona economy. To show them on a pie chart of the Arizona economy, the chart would have to be a hundred feet in diameter. The last citrus packing plant in Maricopa County closed in 2010. Cotton fields that have not been overrun by houses are being left to grow tumbleweeds because of the continually dropping water table. Cattle may become an endangered species unless someone figures out how to breed ones that can eat creosote bushes. If citrus, cotton, and cattle have any future at all in Arizona, it is most certainly not “brilliant.”

Perhaps the AHS should ask a real psychic about the future of the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. Specifically, they should ask her if a new $15.5 million (so far) museum that repeats the mistakes of the Marley Center Museum can be successful.

Arizona taxpayers should also consult a psychic. They should ask how much the cost overrun on the centennial museum will exceed the cost overrun on Marley Center.

1 comment:

  1. Look at it this way. The AHS Director and her Board of Director have no chance of raising any kind of money. They haven't so far for any programs so why figure that they would now.
    Has anyone one told the Board that are suppose to do this.
    Looks like they are suppose to raise money for a Goldwater statue. Yea sure. $500,000.
    They already have a Greeenway Statue in the front of their building. Maybe they can sell it to raise money. Dumping our older heros just because some people in Phoenix want to have Goldwater in Washington. Wait until the folks in Ajo or at the Arizona Inn hear about this.Why not get rid of Father Kino. Nobody cares about him...right!! Just another old hero of our State. How shortsighted.