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.