Saturday, September 10, 2011

Arizona Historical Society may deprive state of centennial celebration.

Mineral museum mess may have negative impact

According to, the highlight of the Arizona centennial celebration was to be the Best Fest. This was a series of events in Prescott, Tucson, and Phoenix.  The Best Fest events were to include entertainment and extensive special exhibits. The website states:

Come and enjoy the party of the century at the Arizona “Best Fest”. The Best Fest is a series of festivals, where the “Best of Arizona” will truly be emphasized with the “Local First” involvement of the many: wineries, micro breweries, locally renowned restaurants, foods, arts and merchandise crafted right here in Arizona.

Experience Arizona like you never have before, come and
Mars Lander • Solar Wonders • Navajo Hogan
Rocket Launchers • Wildlife Display • Storytelling
Arizona Warriors • Zumba Dancers
Western Gunfights • Arizona Art • Magicians
Music • Food • Wine • Beer
Nils Lofgren • Jordin Sparks • Wayne Newton

Now, a recent news article states that, with only 5 months left before the centennial, only 25% of the budget has been raised. Therefore, if the remaining 75% is not raised, “Churchard said the Best Fest would be the first to experience cuts.” Karen Churchard is the director of the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation and is responsible for funding the Arizona Historical Society’s Arizona Centennial Museum (AKA Arizona Experience Museum) out of the centennial budget.

Apparently, the AHS has priority for Foundation funds.
This means that the AHS is not only depriving tens of thousands of Arizona students of a lifetime learning experience every year by eliminating the mineral museum.  It may also deprive Arizonians’ of the opportunity to participate in a centennial celebration.

That is too high a price to pay for a museum that will eventually fail.  The Arizona Experience Museum is a repeat of the Marley Center Museum (in Papago Park) mistake. The Marley was based on essentially the same plan using high dollar interactive displays.  They are now no longer operable, and probably not even repairable. The museum has few visitors, but the Marley still costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year for staff and mortgage payments. 

The $15 million price tag for the experience museum may not even be the highest part of the cost. Arizona’s centennial celebration and student science education may also be sacrificed. 

Tight Budgets Tough for Centennial Planning
Elvina Nawaguna Clemente, Cronkite News Service, September 8, 2011


  1. So the Governor/Centennial Commission wants a failed Az Experience Museum that will fail over a circus dog and pony show, Heck, lets dump both. Cant see much hope for either project. Both seem hopeless and both have no taste. Gunfights and Zumba acts, wow that will be fun.

  2. I wonder if Wayne Newton is taking a $1 million dollar appearance fee? Maybe he only wants a $100,000. I guess that will be the first thing cut.

  3. I guess all that wine, beer and food made the writer forget about the geology and copper exhibits. Sounds to me as if this is just one big party. I thought that "Best Fest" was suppose to be about Arizona accomplishments both former and future. I see nothing much about the 5C's listed above in the article.