Monday, August 15, 2011
Education committee for the Arizona Centennial Museum?
The top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum provided free science education programs to tens of thousands of students and teachers each year. The broad ranging earth science programs included principles of geology, chemistry, physics, and mining engineering as well as mineralogy. They were presented by self-supporting employees and volunteers. The museum and its programs were supported by a large group of volunteers that included scientists, engineers, and educators. These people prepared displays and educational programs. This arrangement was a true win – win for Arizona. The free educational services were provided at no cost to taxpayers.
The Arizona Historical Society offended, insulted, and alienated the many people supporting those popular educational programs by blatantly refusing to comply with Arizona statutes defining AHS responsibilities. They refused to allow the mineral museum to continue to operate in a portion of the centennial museum building as prescribed by Arizona law. The AHS scrapped the mineral museum and terminated the education programs without notice while schools and scout groups still had field trips scheduled. The complete mineral museum staff was locked out.
Incredibly, the AHS now claims that the Arizona Centennial Museum (AKA Arizona Experience Museum) will be a “prominent resource” for mineral education in the same league as the American Geological Institute, Cochise Community College Arizona Mineral & Geology, and the University of Arizona Mineral Museum. This grand claim is made on http://www.azmineraleducation.org/
Presuming to assist the AHS in achieving this probably impossible goal, the Governor’s staff has established an Arizona Centennial Museum education committee. The AHS has even hired a geologist for the now empty building.
None of this makes any sense.
The Arizona Centennial Museum does not exist, and the fund drive for building it has been a flop. The latest theme for the museum is speculation about the future. The designer’s plans show an entertainment arcade augmented with “smells and vibrations”, not an educational facility.
The current status of the Marley Center Museum in Papago Park shows that the AHS has been unable to organize and operate a quality history museum. Their embarrassing failure at Rio Nuevo in Tucson shows they have little to no community support and cannot raise funds for a new project.
All the AHS is likely to create in the old mineral museum building is a mediocre mineral education program that consumes Arizona tax dollars. Nothing in the history of the AHS suggests it is capable of performing the new mission the Governor has assigned to it.
Why are Arizona students being deprived of a lifetime learning experience? Just to satisfy an AHS craving for a presence on Capitol Mall?