Monday, January 30, 2012

A plea to save Arizona History

Guest Post:

My uncle, Charlie Brown, was born in Arizona on May 6, 1911…before Arizona became a state.

Charlie’s father was a bit of a dreamer and bought land and claims for the Swallow mine (17 miles outside of Wickenburg) with the idea that he would become rich.  That did not happen but it provided him with years of hard work and dreams.  Charlie inherited the mine and it became his hobby.  While he lived in Long Beach, CA, he would drive over for weekends to work around the mine….like some people golf, ski, etc.  For many years, he had men living on the property to protect the assets…their pay was the gold and copper that they could recover and an occasional meal when my aunt and uncle would visit.  The original “cabin” at the mine was the original one room schoolhouse serving the families of the area working all the mines.

While the Swallow Mine (and later the Moonlight) was his hobby, Charlie believed in the hard work and dedication of the people who settled the area and mined for many years.  These small mines and the people are as much a part of Arizona’s history as the large mines we know today.

Visiting the mine was a favorite activity of many of my friends and my cousins from Canada.  Charlie was a wealth of knowledge and to see the mine and equipment in person and hear his stories provided many hours of pleasure.  They still think of those visits fondly.

In 1996, Charlie was proud to donate the then unused equipment (stamp mill, pumps, jack hammers, rail, etc.) to the Mining Museum.  At the time of the donation, this equipment itself was estimated to be worth $9,000.  APS and numerous volunteer spent many hours over a five month period relocating the equipment to the current location.  Volunteers spent many more hours making the equipment operational and training on the operation thereof.   No value was attached to this time and effort but it is considerable.

The Stamp Mill (in particular) provides an educational opportunity for all that view it.  People seeing the actual size, hearing the noise, and feeling the power of the equipment provides much more than some simulation can ever provide.  They can see the tremendous effort it took to get the metals out of the ground and processed.  What a great educational opportunity!  (See attached letter)

This equipment is already in place and operational….why spend money to move it or change it?  Don’t we have better things on which to spend our dollars (tax dollars and donations alike)?

I believe in progress.  I believe the people should be exposed to the future of Arizona ….but not at the expense of minimizing or eliminating the past.  In the year of 2012, we are recognizing Arizona’s Centennial and celebrating 100 years of history.  What better way than to have actual items from that past that people can see, hear, feel, etc.   This may the age of technology but many people still strive for personal experience and this is one that should be there for them and for the future.

Karen Bagwell

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Historical Society Absurdity

Although provided with a generous budget by taxpayers, the Arizona Historical Society has never produced a top rated history museum. Incredibly, they now seem to envision operating a science education program.

A prior post described the “Arizona Mineral Education” link that was added to the AHS website in 2011. Now, the AHS website has an EDUCATION tab on the left. Clicking on it opens a menu with a SCIENCE EDUCATION icon on the very top.  Under that icon, there is an INTERNET RESOURCES tab that provides links to many existing internet sites on rocks and minerals (and also women in mining).  There are tabs for kid’s science projects, and teacher’s science kits. To the right of those tabs is a table with downloadable information on not only rocks, minerals, and geology, but also CLIMATE!

This nonsense on the AHS website raises a number of questions:

1.         What right minded teacher would search for science education material on a historical society website?

2.         Why should Arizona taxpayers support AHS staff that is assembling science education links on the AHS website where no one would look for it?

3.         Does the AHS really think that science fluff on a historical society website could compensate for depriving tens of thousands (per school year) of students from the earth science education programs formerly provided by the mineral museum which they acquired and destroyed?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mineral Museum Hearing Cancelled

The Monday hearing on House Bill 2086 (mineral museum restoration) has been cancelled by the committee chairman.

There is no information available on the reason why.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Restoration of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum?

There will be a hearing on a bill to restore the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum on Monday, January 23.  The hearing will be held in room HHR 4 at 2:00 PM.

Arizona House of Representatives
Capitol Complex
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890
Info Desk        (602) 926-4221
Toll Free:         1-800-352-8404

Individuals intending to participate in or observe the hearing should expect delays. There are four bills on the agenda, and the order in which the bills will be heard in not determined until the hearing begins.

Requests to speak must be made in advance, either online or at the kiosk in the lobby.  The committee usually allows each speaker 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon how many people request to speak.

Members of that committee are:

    Mrs. Barton      Mr. Patterson            Mr. Wheeler

    Ms. Fann          Miss Reeve              Mrs. Brophy McGee

    Mrs. Judd         Mr. Saldate              Mr. Pratt, Chairman
HB 2086 Introduced by  Representative Ableser
AN ACT, Amending sections 27-102, 27-152.02, 28-2448, 41-821, 41-827 and 41-827.01, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to the mining and mineral museum.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Freeport continues to push Arizona Experience Museum

The paragraph below indicates that as of last November, Freeport McMoran was still strongly supporting the failed Arizona Centennial (AKA Experience) Museum which has displaced the top rated and historic Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum.


Arizona Centennial Museum – is on hold in Phase II fundraising component.  We need another $800,000 to get us through February 14, 2012.  We are encouraging more cooperation to step up.  Once the February 14, 2012 event is done, we can reenergize the museum.  Based on the feasibility study that Freeport McMoRan is doing at the present time, we will be able to access moving forward.  We have not been able to enlist more corporations to help fund the museum.  We need $15,000,000 and at this point we could count on approx $3,000,000.  Since the museum is basically on hold at this point, the Governor’s office has asked us to do another project, which is the Arizona Experience website.  We are working with the Arizona Geological Survey and the Arizona Historical Society to build a website portal set to K – 12 curriculum standards and will be based on the concept of the “Arizona Experience Museum”.  We are working with STEM group.  Everyone has been very forthcoming, including the Arizona Office in Tourism, in helping us develop this website.  Our goal is to kick this off on February 14, 2012 and add more components monthly to the site.

Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council Meeting (TAC)
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Audubon Arizona
3131 South Central Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona
Meeting Minutes, Page 4
Arizona Centennial – Karen Churchard

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Signature Failure featured at Arizona Best Fest

The Arizona Centennial Best Fest Phoenix, a Signature Event of the Arizona Centennial Commission, is described as follows:

It's the Arizona party of the century! --- It's Arizona Best Fest Phoenix. The 'Best of Arizona' showcase is a traveling museum and mini 'Arizona world's fair'.  --- Discover Arizona as you've never seen it: History Pavilion; Military Pavilion; the Resolution Copper Natural Resources Pavilion; the APS display of Renewable Energy; the U of A Science & Future Pavilion; Shamrock Farms Family Fun Zone; a Hispanic Village with Zumba and traditional equestrian dancers; Giant's Native American Village ---; and the Discount Tire Western Town. --- Also a concert-sized Mainstage featuring --- big-name entertainers.  Feb. 11 & 12, on Centennial Way from 8th Avenue to 17th Avenue.
The former, top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum was at 15th Avenue and Centennial Way, right in the midst of Best Fest. The Arizona Historical Society and the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation promised to replace it with their “number one signature project” and the “centerpiece” of the centennial celebration. The $15.7 million 5C Arizona Centennial Museum was to be “unlike anything in Arizona”.

Indeed it is.

Stripped of its name and contents, the empty mineral museum building will reek with the stench of failure right in the midst of Arizona’s centennial celebration. The AHS not only failed to produce the promised “centerpiece” of the centennial celebration, but managed to destroy a piece of Arizona’s unique mining heritage that traced its roots back to the 1884 territorial fair.

This is not just a failure. It is a 100 year failure, a true “signature failure”.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Save the Mineral Museum

Lee Allison (Arizona State Geologist) has a blog.  Go to  You can make comments, hopefully in a positive manner, supporting the transfer of the mineral museum from the AHS to the AZGS.

You should also contact your state representatives and senators and ask them to support HB2086.

The Saturday, January 07, 2012 AZGS blog post reads as follows:

Legislation calls for AZGS to create mining & mineral museum

State Rep. Eddie Ableser (D-Tempe) introduced legislation [HB2086] directing the Arizona Geological Survey to establish a mineral and mining museum. It would also remove the mining and mineral components of the currently proposed Arizona Centennial Museum that was planned for the former Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum building in Phoenix.

We have had no conversations with Rep. Ableser about his bill and were not aware it was being drafted.

The key language to be added to the AZGS state statutes is:

    The department [AZGS] shall maintain a mining and mineral museum as the state depository for collecting, and cataloging and displaying mining artifacts and specimens, of various ores, gemstones, lapidary material and equipment and other valuable documents relating to mining and minerals mineral specimens. In connection with the museum, the state geologist may:

    1. Establish and collect entrance fees to the museum for persons who are at least eighteen years of age.
    2. Operate a retail gift shop, including the acquisition, purchase and resale of mineral specimens and mineral-related items.
    3. Employ a curator for the museum.
    4. Pay the necessary maintenance and operation expenses of the museum.