Friday, December 30, 2011

Arizona’s Botched Centennial Celebration

The Arizona Best Fest events were to be the major centennial celebrations. They were to be held in Prescott in September, Tucson in November, and Phoenix in February.  The Prescott event was held as scheduled, but the Tucson one was not. 

The Arizona Centennial Commission & Foundation spent their funds designing the Arizona Historical Society’s $15 million 5C Arizona Centennial Museum instead. Like their $80 million History Museum at Rio Nuevo in Tucson, it will never be built because the AHS did not raise the funds for construction.

This is strike three for the AHS.  They spend millions designing things they cannot build.  Their resume of failure now includes the Marley Center Museum in Tempe, the History Museum at Rio Nuevo in Tucson, and the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum in Phoenix. The Marley was unique because it was actually built (but shouldn’t have been). The state provided funds for the building, but the AHS then failed to raise the funds for the displays. The state then raised more money for the displays, but the AHS then failed to maintain them. The interactive displays in the Marley are now a pile of junk. 
Why did the Arizona Centennial Commission fund another AHS failure rather than the Centennial Best Fest celebrations? 

Weary of waiting for the state, Tucsonans plan centennial bash
Veronica M. Cruz, Arizona Daily Star
Friday, December 30, 2011 12:00 am


  1. This is unbelievable. After this fiasco AHS still wants to spend money to move the outside equipment. I read the full article and a few things popped out at me.

    The article states:
    "And now, with not much money left in the budget and no firm date, the event is simply "postponed."
    My reply would be: I guess the Experience Museum will be postponed forever at this rate.

    The article states about the Tucson Best Fest:
    "It is not canceled. However, it is going to be a challenge because it's been delayed for so long because of funding," Dunne said. "We're optimistic we can make it happen."
    My reply would be: The Experience Museum will never happen as AHS wishes it, but a bad esperience has and will continue to occur.

    The article states about the Best Fest:
    "Everything that's been talked about by the commission has kind of just gone away and disappeared, and we felt that we had to pull something together."
    My reply would be: That statement sounds familiar, doesn't it? I bet the commission wished they could fade away into the background and each member probably wished it was one job they were never hired to do or volunteered to help on.

    The Phoenix Best Fest will occur as it would be a black mark on Brewer,and much of the remaining funds will probably be used for that event. If the Tucson event is held, maybe Dr. Woosley can ride in the lead antique car as her ideas of hiring a very expensive architect has contributed to the uneventful Tucson event.

  2. Didn't the Centennial Commission say several months ago that the Best Fest would need to take a back seat to the Experience Museum if funds were not forthcoming?

  3. So when does the Arizona Historical Society Board of Directors actually figure all of this out. They are 3-0.