Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The Arizona Historical Society’s illegal actions
The AHS closed the mineral museum without notice on April 30 and is proceeding with their centennial museum project. They seem confused, but they are proceeding to disassemble the mineral museum in preparation for converting the building into the centennial museum. They seem confused about the name and the theme. They seem confused about the budget and the schedule. They also seem to be confused about the law.
The law however, is not confusing. It is actually quite simple and clear, and even brief. The applicable Arizona statute is reproduced in it’s entirely in the appendix below. Whether the AHS is confused or defiant is not known, but the extent of their illegal activity is known. On TV and in the press, they have stated their intent to violate the requirements that the mineral collection be kept in intact and that the historic mining equipment be kept on site. By their actions, they have violated the requirements that the earth science educations program be continued and that the mining and mineral museum be maintained. A complete list of violations is becoming quite lengthy.
Do they think no one will notice or care? Do they think they are immune from the requirements of Arizona law if they are following the Governors directions? Are they so mesmerized by their prestigious, sole source, east coast contractor’s design concepts that they cannot process that they violate Arizona law?
In a recent TV interview, the director of the AHS said that the centennial museum (AKA Arizona Experience) will “imagine the future”.
Given their current course of action, the AHS cannot imagine how ugly their future will be.
Appendix: Arizona law governing centennial museum / mineral museum
ARS 41-827. Centennial museum; mining and mineral museum; donations
A. The Arizona historical society shall operate and maintain the centennial museum that houses the mining and mineral museum for the following purposes and with the following authority:
1. To promote the recognition and celebration of the historical, cultural, economic and social contributions to this state made by the "five C's" of cattle, copper, cotton, climate and citrus for the observance of the centennial of Arizona as a state.
2. To maintain the mining and mineral museum as the state depository for collecting, cataloging and displaying mining artifacts and specimens of various ores, gemstones, lapidary material and other valuable mineral specimens.
3. To apply for and accept grants, donations, gifts, bequests of legacies of real or personal property, or any other contribution, financial or otherwise, for use in accordance with the direction of the donor, or, in the absence of an express direction, to be disposed of as prescribed by the board consistent with this article. Monies received pursuant to this paragraph shall be deposited in a separate account of the museum for the purposes of the museum.
4. To accept from the federal or state government, any local government or any of their agencies restricted and unrestricted monies made available to the state for the purposes of this article.
5. To establish and collect entrance fees to the museum for persons who are at least eighteen years of age.
6. To operate a retail gift shop including the acquisition, purchase and resale of mineral specimens and mineral-related items.
7. To authorize the director to employ a curator for the museum. The curator shall possess knowledge or experience in mineral collections or shall have other museum experience
8. To operate educational programming for the museum.
9. To accept the services of volunteers and provide oversight for their activities.
B. The Arizona historical society shall maintain the items, artifacts and other inventory received for display or storage, including equipment and outdoor displays, and shall not sell or otherwise dispose of materials received for the centennial museum or the mining and mineral museum.