Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Perpetuating the myth
An Arizona Centennial Commission representative was recently speaking at a Phoenix woman's group and someone asked why the mineral museum was eliminated to make room for the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum? He asked how many actually went to the mineral museum and about 7 women raised their hands out of 80. He then said that was why.....no one ever went to the mineral museum. Someone else asked why the name was changed from the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum to the Arizona Experience Museum, and he just ignored the question.
The mineral museum did not have enough visitors?
The mineral museum had over 50,000 visitors per year, including 25,000 students on class field trips that supported the state mandated earth science curriculum. The top rated mineral museum’s attendance, was increasing each year, and was approaching the total statewide attendance for all Arizona Historical Society museums. AHS attendance, in contrast, is declining year by year. So, why would converting the mineral museum to a history museum increase attendance?
Seven out of eighty Arizona residents have never been to the AHS Marley Center Museum, and it was once a high dollar, highly interactive museum, just like the proposed centennial museum. Today, it is an electronic ghost town, still eating millions of tax dollars per year but serving no useful purpose. If the Marley did not and does not draw visitors, why would a similarly designed “centennial” or “experience” museum draw visitors, especially when the schedule missed the centennial?
The Governor’s office initially claimed that the building would draw many more visitors if it were transferred to the AHS and converted into a Marley like interactive museum. The myth has been debunked many times. The real motivation for the centennial museum was documented in last month’s AHS board meeting minutes.
It is to “honor” Jan Brewer’s legacy, and to bury the legacies of Polly Rosenbaum and Rose Mofford.
Note: Except for the use of the state owned building, the mineral museum was self supporting. The AHS has dozens of state paid employees to serve fewer visitors.