Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back to basics?

The minutes of the January 11, 2011 work study session of the Town of Fountain Hills town council includes the following:

Ms. Churchard discussed the Signature projects and noted that the main projects they are working on include the Arizona Centennial Museum (name might change) and it is currently the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. She stated that the concept is to transform that Museum into more of the Arizona experience (talk about Arizona in a meaningful way and showcase the State's geography, the five "C's" that formed the State and the history. She stressed the importance of having a place where children can go and learn about bioscience and solar energy in an interactive manner.
The centennial museum authorized by Arizona statutes was to feature the 5Cs.  As the project came under attack because a science museum (mineral museum) was being displaced by a history museum featuring a trivial concept, fluff was added. Bioscience and solar energy are such fluff.

No matter how interactive the displays, children cannot truly comprehend advanced subjects such as bioscience and solar energy (a niche technology) without first learning basic science.  The mineral museum used raw materials from the earth’s crust along with processed materials and manufactured products to teach basic science including physics, chemistry, and geology. Twenty five thousand 3rd and 4th graders per year received such instruction on structured school field trips. Another 20,000 per year received informal basic science education when brought to the museum by parents.

The centennial museum, the experience museum, or whatever it is eventually called, will help firm Arizona’s grip on the embarrassing and shameful last place in science education.

Note: Karen Churchard is the director or of the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation which is placing sole source centennial museum contracts for the Arizona Historical Society.   The AHS gained control of and eliminated the mineral museum. The schedule for the centennial museum is unknown.

1 comment:

  1. I guess it is okay to have an interactive display for solar energy, but when it comes to a brand new interactive display on mining that already has been built and funds do not need to be raised for the project, it is against their objectives. Amazing that Freeport does not say something about the lack of minerals, mining displays and historic artifacts. Oh, I forgot, their 1 million dollar contribution for the new museum was really for goodwill so when legislation comes up for water rights, land swaps, or any type of pro copper legislation they want, the natural resources committee will swiftly pass it for a senate or house vote. Call it for what you want, but I call it greasing the palms for the politician's vote.