Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Perhaps sunlight will kill the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum

On February 14, 2011, Arizona’s 99th birthday, KAET Channel 8s Horizon program took a look at plans to celebrate its 100th birthday.  They reviewed the Countdown to Arizona’s Centennial with guests Karen Churchard, Director of the Arizona Centennial Commission, and Catherine May, Vice President of the Arizona Historic Advisory Council. Neither guest revealed the Commissions “number one signature project”, the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum.

                                                 (see video links below)

Acting on tips that the “best” centennial project was being hidden from them, Horizon invited the Director of the Arizona Historical Society to explain the centennial museum project. She was interviewed on Monday, April 18th.  In long and rambling answers to direct questions, she presented a fuzzy vision of the centennial museum (AKA Arizona Experience).  Incredibly, she described it as not so much about Arizona’s history as about Arizona’s future.  In a truly astounding statement for a historian, she defined history as “about learning and imagining the future”.  She also redefined Arizona’s centennial celebration as an event extending through 2012. Most people think the celebration began on February 14, 2011 and will culminate on the centennial, a year later.  This redefinition of the centennial celebration appears driven by the painfully obvious fact that Arizona’s “centennial museum” cannot possibly be open for Arizona’s centennial. It may not even open anytime in 2012. It may never open, because it is not yet funded.

Two segments of Tuesdays Horizon program explored the penalty Arizona is being asked to pay for a centennial museum that will not really be part of its centennial. Centennial museum planners intend to displace the entire top rated and historic Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum at 15th Avenue and Washington Street in Phoenix.  It’s decades old and very popular K-12 earth science education programs will also be eliminated. No trace of the mineral museum is expected to remain except a single display with a small percent of the mineral collection.  Obviously, there is bitter opposition to this plan, especially among teachers and students.  Horizon provided an overview of this opposition.

For nearly two years, centennial museum planning has proceeded in secrecy. Details are still secret. Perhaps the sunlight finally exposing the centennial museum plans, or lack thereof, will kill it before taxpayers are saddled with another useless, high dollar museum like the Marley Center Museum in Tempe. Perhaps public awareness will yet save the children’s beloved mineral museum.

The KAET Arizona PBS Channel 8 Horizon programs that covered the upcoming Jun 1 mineral museum closure are as follows:

Ted Simons, Host and Managing Editor:
David Majure, Executive Producer:

Monday Apr 18,   Arizona Centennial Museum:  The latest on plans to transform the state's Mining and Mineral Museum into a Centennial Museum

Tuesday April 19,   Mining and Mineral Museum:  As the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum begins its transformation into a Centennial Museum, those affiliated with the mining museum share their concerns about the future of its extensive and valuable mineral collection

Tuesday April 19, Arizona Geological Survey (The first part of this video continues the discussion on the mineral collection)

The links have been verified. However, it they do not work, go to the KAET 8 website. Click on “Horizon”, click on “archives”, and select the date.

To prepare one of their program segments, KAET 8 visited the mineral museum on Friday, April 15th. The three photos on this blog post were taken by a mineral museum supporter during that visit.

1 comment:

  1. The TV Show was very good. It showed the Mineral Museum full of school kids. Something the AHS never has. A museum full of kids and visitors.