Thursday, May 31, 2012

Arizona Experience Museum staff grows

The formerly top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum never had more than one state funded employee. After the AHS gained control of the building for the Arizona Experience Museum, they eliminated the mineral museum. The building is locked and empty.

Although the AHS has raised no funds for the experience museum and has no schedule, they did hire a curator for the nonexistent museum. That curator is paid by Arizona taxpayers.

Now, the Arizona legislature is funding  (with tax dollars) 2 additional full time positions for the nonexistent Arizona Experience Museum.  The FY 2013 budget for the Arizona Experience Museum includes $441,400 plus 3 FTE (full time equivalent) positions.

As reported in the very first blog post, the mineral museum was purportedly eliminated to save money.  However, tax dollars are now being spent for an experience museum that does not exist.

Fiscal Year 2013 Baseline Book
January, 2012
Prepared by the JLBC Staff
Page 183
Available at

Thursday, May 24, 2012

$4,000,000 for the Arizona Historical Society

from Senate Bill 1523, Second Regular Session, 2012:


 FTE positions 51.9

 Operating lump sum appropriation $ 2,031,100

 Arizona experience museum 441,400

Field services and grants 65,000

 Papago park museum 1,613,600

Total appropriation - Arizona historical society $ 4,151,100

Fund sources: State general fund $ 4,151,100

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who is directing the Arizona Historical Society?

On May 7th, 2012, the guest speaker at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society was Madison Barkley, newly hired curator for the AHS 5C Arizona Centennial Museum (AKA Arizona Experience Museum). Madison told the TGMS that there is no funding for building the centennial museum and no schedule for its completion.

On April 17, 2012, the AHS board of directors met at the Marley Center Museum in Tempe. Madison Barkley was present at the board meeting, but was not asked to participate.  In fact, not one word was said by anyone about the centennial museum.

How is it possible that a major new AHS museum project is foundering and is not even on the board of directors meeting agenda?

Who is really directing the AHS?

Does the AHS board of directors serve any useful purpose?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Free rent for the Arizona Historical Society

As reported in the original June 5th, 2010 post on this blog, the Governor’s office claimed the top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum was eliminated because of rent.  Although museum operations and K-12 education programs were self-supporting, the museum did not generate enough revenue to pay the artificially inflated rent on the state owned building.

The Arizona Historical Society’s Marley Center Museum in Tempe (AKA the History Museum at Papago Park) is over four times the size of the former mineral museum building and it has fewer visitors than the mineral museum did.  Near the end of the 2012 regular session, the Arizona Senate passed Senate Bill 1525.  The fact sheet for bill 1525 includes the following provision:

Exempts the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind and the Arizona Historical Society’s Papago Park Museum from paying Capital Outlay Stabilization Fund (COSF) rent to the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA), effective January 1, 2013.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The fatal flaw in the Arizona Experience Museum plan

The Arizona Experience Museum was to be a high dollar, highly interactive museum, depending on digital displays and simulations to enhance education. It displaced a top rated, low cost museum that displayed real historic artifacts and real geological and mineral specimens.

A recent study showed that replacing real objects with simulations is a very big mistake. Four American History teachers from two high schools in Mesa, Arizona participated in the study. They assisted in the development of a lesson on mining and mining communities that met Arizona curriculum guidelines. Two museums lent 46 historic artifacts and mineral specimens to reinforce the lesson. Twenty classes participated in the study.  The control classes were only shown images of the objects, but the other classes were permitted to handle the actual objects. Tests were administered to all 20 classes the day after the lesson and two months after the lesson.

All classes performed equally well on tests administered the day after the lesson. However, the classes that were allowed to handle the real objects performed significantly better in the tests administered two months after the lesson.

The obvious conclusion is that, if eventually built, the Arizona Experience Museum will not be as effective a learning experience as the museum it displaced.

Museum objects in the secondary classroom. A comparison of visual and tactile aids to learning
Paula Kay Liken
Doctoral Dissertation, Arizona State University, 2009