Sunday, July 29, 2012

What attracts museum visitors?

The private, volunteer operated Pioneer Living History Museum (AKA Pioneer Village) opened in 1969. Unlike big budget, state operated history museums like the Marley Center Museum in Tempe, it was a popular history museum, attracting about 50,000 visitors per year.

Pioneer Village was taken over by the City of Phoenix in 2010.  At the time, Phoenix pledged to provide free passes for 1,200 low income children per year. That has not happened. The city says it is because they do not have funds to provide transportation.

Why is it necessary to provide free transportation to attract visitors to use free passes?

The Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum (also volunteer operated) provided free services to about 50,000 students per year. It did not have funds to provide transportation either. About half the students were brought to the museum by parents or other family members. The other half were brought by teachers on formal school field trips. The transportation was provided by school buses operated by various school districts.

If a museum fills a need, people will come.  The mineral museum provided free educational services that supported state mandated K-12 earth science education standards.  Parents and teachers recognized that, and were more than willing to provide transportation.

Pioneer Living History Museum passes for low-income kids go unused
City can't afford transportation to Pioneer Village
by Betty Reid - Jul. 26, 2012 03:40 PM
The Republic |

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Arizona Historical Society provides best value?

The AHS website currently boasts that a recent poll identified their History Museum at Papago Park (actually the Marley Center Museum) as a best value. Was that a poll of museum patrons or museum reviewers?


It was the 2012 Wedding Chronicle’s Readers Poll. It recognized the Marley as the “best place for value” to schedule a wedding reception.

If the Marley were a first rate history museum, and if wedding receptions defrayed part of the cost of operating such a state museum, that would be fine. However, the design and maintenance of the Marley both suggest that the tail is wagging the dog at the Marley.  It appears to be a taxpayer subsidized wedding reception center that has old, obsolete and broken interactive museum displays rusting and rotting mostly out of sight on the second floor. Museum attendance appears to be pitifully low, and the AHS will not even release the numbers

Why should Arizona taxpayers provide millions of dollars a year to subsidize a wedding reception facility that competes unfairly with private facilities?

Why are Arizona taxpayers providing the AHS with a half million dollars a year for an Arizona Experience Museum when the AHS never even opened such a museum?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Arizona Experience Museum hoax

In the spring of 2011, the following news release appeared:

Arizona Experience Museum to be ready by state’s centennial
Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the Arizona Experience Museum, one of the state’s centennial projects. Plans call for enhancing and transforming the current Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum at 15th Ave. and Washington St. in Phoenix. The new museum will be an interactive, technology-driven venue showcasing Arizona’s past, present and future. Plans are on track for the museum’s renovations, with completion expected by 2012, Arizona’s Centennial. The museum will include a new main entrance on Washington, new main lobby, gift shop and reception area, and orientation theater. Museum designer is Gallagher & Associates, architect is Westlake Reed Leskosky, general contractor is Mortenson Construction, and construction consultant is Rider Levett Bucknell

Investigative reporters at ABC 15 have now discovered that neither the Arizona Historical Society nor the Arizona Centennial Commission ever raised any funds for construction of the Arizona Experience Museum (formerly the aborted 5C Arizona Centennial Museum).  The seed money provided by Freeport McMoran was eaten up by the designers.

Obviously, the actual construction fund status (zero) was known in May of 2011. So why was this misinformation about centennial preparations published?

Was it an attempt to mislead potential donors?

AZRE Arizona Commercial Real Estate 
Construction: Project News, May/June 2011
Posted on May 1, 2011 by AZRE

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

AHS blows own bent horn

Recent history demonstrated that the AHS is better at destroying museums than creating them, but it still likes to boast about its self-perceived accomplishments. AHS staff members recently appeared on Tucson TV (Morning Blend) and bragged about their centennial projects. They failed to mention that their tent full of trinkets on Centennial Way was directly across the street from the gutted and stinking carcass of the former top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum.

The Morning Blend further claimed:
AHS collections not only provide premier resources for recounting Arizona’s past, but are invaluable tools for promoting public understanding of contemporary issues such as water availability, immigration, free trade, mining, ranching and agribusiness, the defense industry, cultural diversity, and urban development and revitalization.

How did hijacking and destroying the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum promote public understanding of mining?

Arizona Historical Society
The Morning Blend
Weekdays at 11:00 on KGUN9
Thursday, Jul 5, 2012