Friday, September 30, 2011

Exploring Arizona visits Marley Center

The home page for Exploring Arizona states:

Exploring is your local guide to all of the Arizona cities. With information from government and city links to dining and recreation, you will find it here.

On September 18, 2011, Exploring Arizona visited the Marley Center Museum. The Arizona Historical Society , apparently embarrassed by the Marley’s history,  is trying to rebrand it as the History Museum in Papago Park.  However, they made a million dollar deal with Kemper Marley, and his name therefore remains on the sign and on the building.

Exploring Arizona’s photos and comments are at:

The comments include the following:

“We went on a Friday afternoon and had the place largely to ourselves.”

“Some of the displays were not working when we were there.”

Exploring Arizona may not be aware that they would have had the museum to themselves no matter when they visited. Attendance is so miniscule the AHS will not release attendance figures. The photo below was taken on Museum Day 2011 when admission was free and the Marley drew a “crowd”.  Only about half the cars belonged to visitors however. The rest belong to the many staff members that hide somewhere in the huge (80,000 square feet) underutilized building.

As for the non-working displays, “some” is an obvious euphemism for “most”, and Exploring Arizona may not be aware there was nothing unique about their visit.  The displays were not working six months before their visit, and may have been inoperable for years. The second photo shows that the out of order signs have a rather permanent look.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Madder Museum Madness

The Arizona Historical Society designed the Arizona Centennial Museum to obliterate the mineral museum and its science education programs. They then proceeded to close and eliminate the mineral museum even though they failed to raise the funds for the centennial museum. Now, feeling the sting of adverse public opinion, they are making a less than credible attempt to redefine their failing project.

The AHS now claims the Arizona Centennial (AKA Experience) Museum is a “prominent resource” for mineral education.  In fact, the experience museum does not and may not ever exist, and the AHS has terminated the education programs previously conducted by the mineral museum.

The AHS prominently features a link to Arizona Mineral Education on its website. As reported in the Sept. 8th post (Flying false colors) the AHS actually has no connection whatever to the outreach education program presented there.

The AHS also has no connection to the mineral photos.  Those minerals are part of the Flagg Mineral Foundation collection.  For fifty years, that high quality collection was housed in the mineral museum. The Foundation was previously named the Arizona Mineral and Mining Foundation and conducted a number of annual fundraising activities to support the mineral museum.

Following the AHS takeover of the mineral museum, the Foundation voted to sever all connections to the AHS. The vote was based on the unwillingness of the AHS to continue housing the mineral museum and education programs in a portion of the building as prescribed by Arizona statute. The Foundation changed its name, and removed its collection from the building. Part of the collection is now on display in Tucson (not at an AHS facility), but most of it is in storage.

The AHS however, is now trying to credit itself with mineral and education resources not actually associated with it in any way.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mineral Museum gutted

Even though fundraising for the centennial museum failed, the AHS is continuing with the total elimination of the mineral museum.  Minerals and artifacts have been removed from all cases, and the cases are being removed from the building.  The cases are being loaded onto U-Haul trucks that are taking them to Globe to display the Mofford memorabilia collection.

Many of the cases were recently refurbished and refinished by former mineral museum volunteers.  That also included the installation of new glass that was paid for by the Flagg Foundation.  This demonstrates the folly of providing volunteer labor or contributions to a state agency managed by fickle bureaucrats incapable of recognizing a top rated and historic science museum.

The newly hired curator (on the state payroll) was seen in the lobby, doing whatever it is that curators do in museums that are closed and empty.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Additional Centennial Commission donors revealed

As listed below, additional donors have appeared on the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation website (  Will their money be diverted to the Arizona Experience Museum?  Will it be used to remove or destroy the antique mining artifacts still in place in front of the mineral museum building?

Clear Channel OUTDOOR
2201 East Camelback Rd. Suite 500
Phoenix, AZ 85016

1521 N. Project Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281-1298

Channel 12
200 East Van Buren
Phoenix, AZ 85004

The University of Arizona
Tucson AZ 85721

Branded Cities Iconic Media
505 Huntmar Park Drive
Herndon, VA 20170-5155

CBS Outdoor
405 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10174

Fiesta Bowl
The Ellie & Michael Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Center & Museum
7135 E. Camelback Rd.  #190
Scottsdale, AZ  85251

Snell Wilmer
One Arizona Center
400 East Van Buren Street
Suite 1900
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2202

Arizona Diamondbacks
401 East Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2438

American Outdoor Advertising
1702 E Highland Ave # 304
Phoenix, AZ 85016-4666

PetSmart, Inc.
Store Support Group
19601 North 27th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027

The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301, USA

Hensley Brewing
4201 North 45th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85031

Waste Management
1001 Fannin, Suite 4000
Houston, Texas 77002

Union Pacific Railroad
1400 Douglas Street
Omaha, NE 68179 

3 Amigos Tequila

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Letter to Centennial Foundation donors

The Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation’s website shows you as a sponsor.  Undoubtedly, you expect your contribution to make a positive impact on Arizona’s centennial celebration.

You should be aware that some centennial events may be downgraded or cancelled to divert Foundation funds to a seriously misguided project.   That project is the Arizona Historical Society’s Arizona Centennial Museum (AKA Arizona Experience Museum).

That poorly planned project is a third AHS attempt to build a reputable new museum.  The badly designed $30 million Marley Center Museum at Papago Park has not even been maintained. It attracts but a trickle of visitors.  The $80 million History Museum at Rio Nuevo was never built, even though it ate up $1.4 million in design fees.  The $15 million Arizona Centennial Museum is so far behind schedule it can never be open for the centennial.  Thus the name change. The theme is ever changing, and funds to complete it may never be raised.

The $15 million budget is an unrealistic lowball.  The east coast designer is planning high tech, high maintenance, interactive displays.  The budget includes no funding for the very expensive maintenance of such displays. That is the very same mistake made at the Marley Center Museum.  Today, the ten year old interactive displays are non-functional and probably non repairable due to obsolescence.  The museum was widely criticized in the media during the prolonged construction, and is today an embarrassment to Arizona.  Our state does not need to repeat that mistake, especially not as the “centerpiece” of the centennial.

Even though the centennial (experience) museum may never be completed, it has displaced the historic, top rated, and self-supporting Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum.  As a result, tens of thousands of students per year are being deprived of a lifetime experience in earth science education.  Protests from students and teachers were ignored.  Unique and historic Arizona artifacts are threatened, and popular science education programs have been scrapped.

Please review your support for the Arizona 2012 Centennial Foundation, and determine if it will really benefit Arizona.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A few Centennial Foundation donors revealed

For about a year, the only donor listed on the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation website was Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold, Inc.  Now, the foundation claims there are 75 corporate donors and has revealed nine more of them.  Will their money also be used to destroy the mineral museum?

PO Box 53933 Sta. 3200
Phoenix, AZ 85072-3933

Arizona Cardinals
PO Box 888
Phoenix, AZ 85001-0888

Arizona Republic
200 E. Van Buren
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Discount Tire
5310 E. Shea Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85254-4700

Giant Oil Inc.
1806   N. Franklin Street
Tampa, FL 33602

Nature’s Own
1919 Flowers Circle
Thomasville, GA 31757

Resolution Copper Mining
PO Box 1944
Superior, AZ 85173

Shamrock Farms Dairy Division
2228 N. Black Canyon Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85009

Swift Transportation
2200 South 75th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85043

Friday, September 16, 2011

Arizona Centennial Commission lacks transparency

Planning for Arizona’s centennial began in 2003 with Governor Napolitano’s February 7th “Countdown to the Centennial” proclamation.  On each of Arizona’s birthdays preceding the centennial, 4th graders were to be brought to the Capitol for a celebration.  In 2005, Governor Napolitano established a coordinating committee to honor the 2012 centennial. The mission of the committee was to develop a statewide plan, advise the legislature and state agencies, assist with the countdown to the centennial, and recommend activities and projects.

Also in 2005, Senate Bill 1065 assigned responsibility for centennial planning to the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission.  Additional legislation in 2006 (HB 2870) appropriated $2.5 million for the centennial celebration with the provision that the Commission must first raise $5 million from the private sector.  The Commission established six working committees “to work with stakeholders to ensure a well-coordinated effort that achieves a successful Centennial”.  The Commission released their plan on February 14, 2007 (Arizona’s 95th birthday).

Then, on February 14th 2008, Executive Order 2008-15 established the Arizona Centennial Commission.  Shortly thereafter, centennial planning became shrouded in secrecy.  In 2009, there were secret meetings with the Arizona Historical Society and their sole source, out of state contractor.  The idea of a 5C Arizona Centennial Museum emerged, and was finally presented at a small, by invitation only event on February 14, 2010.  The $9 million museum was supposedly supported and financed by an industry coalition representing, copper, climate, cattle, citrus, and climate (tourism).  The museum, the “number one signature project” and “centerpiece” of the centennial celebration, was to displace the existing, top rated, historic, and self-supporting Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum and its popular K-12 science education programs.

By February 2011, it became apparent that these industries, with the exception of one copper company, actually had no interest in this project.  Scraps of information appearing in the media revealed that the cost had been ballooned to over $15 million, more than half of the Centennial Commissions entire projected budget.  Of that, only about 10% of the funds had been raised.  Then, it became very obvious that the “centerpiece” of Arizona’s centennial celebration could not possibly be open for the centennial.

Apparently the theme of the museum has now changed several times in an attempt to attract a broader base of financial supporters.  However, secrecy still surrounds planning and fundraising activities.  The Arizona Centennial Commission does appear to be in the process of redefining the centennial celebration as the year following the centennial rather than the year preceding the centennial.  That may be a desperate attempt to distract attention from the fact that the “centerpiece” centennial project cannot be open for the centennial.

The Arizona Centennial Commission is not acting in the best interest of Arizona.  Planning and fundraising for Arizonan’s 100th birthday should be completely transparent.  Continuing in secrecy will mar a unique, once in a lifetime celebration, and may even suggest that improprieties are being hidden.