Thursday, March 15, 2012

Virtual museum replaces real thing?

An Arizona Republic news article about the Arizona Experience website includes the following three paragraphs:

The virtual museum is an alternative to the shuttered Mining and Minerals Museum in downtown Phoenix, which closed in April.

The virtual mineral-education museum aims to compensate for the Mining and Minerals Museum, which closed amid budget cuts. But those fond of the museum said the website is a poor substitute for the actual building, which was visited by about 25,000 school children a year.

The museum was closed as part of the consolidation of the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources into the Arizona Geological Survey. The agencies merged last year, and Brewer recently signed a bill merging them in statute.

The first paragraph may be true if an alternative may be a far less than satisfactory substitute.  The second and third paragraphs are clearly untrue, and show that that AHS and the Governor’s office are still providing the news media with bogus information.

The closure of the mineral museum had absolutely nothing to do with budget cuts. The entire mineral museum budget was transferred to the AHS. No money was saved.

The mineral museum was not closed as part of any consolidation. A separate bill, in a prior legislative session, transferred the mineral museum to the AHS. The AHS, not the AZGS, is responsible for the illegal closure of the mineral museum.

These persisting misrepresentations have been debunked many times, beginning with the initial post on this blog.

Digging into state’s history
Virtual museum gives peek into Arizona's mines
Ryan Randazzo
The Arizona Republic, page D1, Thursday March 15, 2012


  1. Right on, Dick! The Virtual Arizona Experience is very different from the MMM and does not justify the empty building and unfortunate destruction of a well-used, well-respected, and nearly self-supporting science museum. It seems that the Virtual AZ Experience could easily replace the ill-planned Arizona Experience Museum. The AHS and Governor Brewer need to correct their blunder and find a way to restore the MMM!

  2. I think it's all on Gov. Brewer's shoulders. The AHS just did what they were told. They had no backbone to ask questions or even say no. Gov. Brewer can correct the blunder some day. The AHS needs to go back to doing Arizona history. At least collecting it. Whether they do any exhibits that are good or are well attended or not done by an east coast expensive exhibit designer remains to be seen.

  3. And the mess just keeps piling up! Now AHS finally agrees that there's a serious funding problem (not many want to donate their money to the state)and the Experience Museum may never get built. Enter AZGS to tell us not to worry about the MMM, their Virtual AZ Experience replaces the need for it. Oh my! Does it also replace the need for the beautiful mineral museum and children's program in Tucson too? The U of A could use the space, I'm sure. Or is it just OK to have an empty building (with new solar panels)
    where students and adults once enjoyed the only earth science museum in Phoenix? I think we're losing our virtual reality!!!

  4. It's a month past the Arizona Centennial! Anybody seen any programing lately on the "Centennial". Nope. It's all over. Somebody tell the Arizona Historical Society that it's over.By the time they ever raise the money (or anybody else for that matter)it will be 2013 or beyond. Even if they and the State Centennial Commission even raise the $15,000,000 for the Az Experience Museum it will be 2013-2014. It takes a long time to build such things. By that time nobody will care or even remember. It's over. Turn off the lights and the last person out please close the door.

  5. The reason you don't hear much about the AZ Centennial is that Governor Brewer and AHS want us to have two years of it, and most of us quit after the first underwhelming one. It's over, and it will get harder and harder for the Gov. and AHS to talk anyone into donating their money to the state for a museum we don't need. The Virtual Arizona Experience further lessens the need for the secret Arizona Experience Museum. Let's see, we now have AHS trying to present themselves as scientific, and AZSG big into a year of presenting Arizona's history, after the not so great Centennial birthday party!

  6. Trying to cover the unnecessary and unreasonable closure of the Mining and Mineral Museum by saying it can simply be replaced by a website is an insult to all who made that museum what it was!

  7. Gov. Brewer was trolling around for an Az. State agency who could do her bidding. They found it with the Arizona Historical Society. A small agency as state agencies go, run by a Phd. with muddled ideas about Arizona history with no backbone who can't raise any money and answers to a Board of Directors who have no idea what they are doing. They can't raise any money either. They are supposed to run the agency and supervize the director.They are 0-2. Woosley cooked the Centennial Museum up with Governor. (Or was told to do it.) When it's all over (and thats soon)Brewer will forget about the whole thing but the Arizona Historical Society will stil be stuck with the director.... 5 "C"'s, Arizona Experience, empty mineral museum, $250,000 for east coast exhibit designs...director.
    Looks like Woosley not only destroyed the Mineral Museum, she has finished off the AHS or whats left of it.

  8. I have seen the AZGS news release describing the Virtual Arizona Experience for March's AZ
    Mining and Mineral Resources. It has many fine features, expecially historical mining ones. It will not replace allowing people, and expecially our children, to see and experience the real rocks, minerals, and working mining equipment I saw at the closed Mining and Mineral Museum. I can only wish, that on our Centennial Day, AZ could have opened the doors to let folks in to see the exciting MMM and also view, on a big screen, the March portion of the Virtual Arizona Experience. They complement rather than replace the need for each other. Arizona needs this kind of collaboration, not more pushing for an unneeded and failed Experience Museum.

  9. Anonymous said "I can only wish, that on our Centennial Day, AZ could have opened the doors to let folks in to see the exciting MMM and also view, on a big screen, the March portion of the Virtual Arizona Experience."

    This could never have happened as the MMM is completely empty. All that is left is the outside equipment that can be seen by the public. It would have been nice if they had opened the gates and run the equipment for the public. The kids loved the tire and bucket and many were taking photos of family members next to these two pieces of mining equipment.

    The artifacts behind the fence were in running condition and were used in demonstrations up until the day they shuttered the museum.

    I wonder if the AZGS would have interest in reviving the old MMM if given the mineral collection and the building to house their Phoenix office? The state legislature seems to have very positive comments and cares very much for this state agency. They get a thumbs up by the natural resources committee and seem set for the next 10 years as a premier agency in this state.

  10. Just watch the Virtual Az Experience in the comfort of your home. Why would anyone drive to a museum/science center to watch an internet show? The space in a facility like this is better served showing ACTUAL minerals, gems, mining equipment etc..... Oh. but wait all of those items are gone!

  11. How strange that the Governor gives awards for the best reconstruction of historic artifacts but destroyed a historic Mining and Mineral Museum. Especially on the list of things to go was the unique reconstruction of a historic mining operation. The Historical Society, with museums full of REAL artifacts, willingly helped and participated. The unfortunate Experience Museum project has "failure" written all over it. In a class all by itself, it has "legacy and notoriety" attached to it.