Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Arizona Historical Society greed

For more years than anyone can remember, the mineral museum provided free tours for Arizona schoolchildren. It also provided free teacher kits consisting or rock and mineral samples and associated source material for lesson plans. They were prepared by volunteers using donated material.

The AHS eliminated the field trips by destroying the mineral museum. They are continuing to offer teacher kits, BUT the kits are much smaller and the AHS is charging exorbitant prices for them.

Why does the AHS (a state agency with a fat tax dollar budget) feel a need to gouge teachers? Do they need to prop up their bloated salaries? Are their cocktail bars not stocked to their complete satisfaction?

Arizona Historical Society “Classroom Kit Order Form”

Arizona Rocks and Minerals: $20
Custom Kit (Includes up to 30 rocks and minerals): $30

Note: The free kits provided by the former mineral museum included over 60 rocks and minerals.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Guest Post - Letter to Senate

Senator Ableser

Thank you for introducing Senate Bill 1017 to restore The Arizona Mineral Museum.

When we heard you were doing this it renewed my faith that someone in Congress is listening to the people in Arizona.

When the Museum was closed by basically three people who did not know what they were doing (just acting on a dream and a whim), it affected many Arizona citizens and visitors from all over the country. School children, pre-schoolers and adults who used to visit the museum over and over to marvel at the displays. We never tired of looking and learning, for at each visit we would catch a new display(s). The museum had many things to offer; a knowledgeable staff, a large faithful volunteer group, a successful Gift store, classes led by excellent teachers. And each year an annual “Family Day” and “Prospectors Day” that introduced even more people to the treasurers that the museum had to offer. All this came to a halt when the doors closed on April 10, 2011. Now the building sits empty, unused, cold and alone. This does not make sense, the people want their Museum back. A place to meet, to have fun, to enjoy. Realistically, we know it will never be the same for most minerals and displays have been given away, or destroyed. But please give us a chance to show our youth Arizona's history again, in a fun and interesting Mineral Museum in that building in Phoenix.

Please forward this message to all our State lawmakers.

Everette and Judy Dixon
Glendale, AZ 85306

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last and Worst Centennial: Embarrassing Arizona centennial celebration ends

Feb 13 was the last day of Arizona’s centennial year. The Arizona centennial was the last of the centennials for the original, contiguous 48 states, and the celebration was surely the worst.

Two centennial commissions, appointed by two different governors, stumbled as they attempted to plan the celebration.  Seven years of planning resulted in no coherent plan. Competing pet projects vied for attention and funding as the centennial approached, and then slipped by with plans in disarray. Most of the funds that were raised were paid to an east coast firm to design a $15 million 5C Arizona Centennial Museum (the “signature project”) that was never funded and will never be built. When the absurdity of the project became apparent, half past last minute changes morphed it into an Arizona Experience Museum with vague displays about the future including “smells and vibrations”. That was a transition from bad to worse.

A few trees were planted as officials pontificated, and $7 million in Federal stimulus money was squandered planting strange artwork and placards along Centennial Way, the new Phoenix “promenade”.  Best Fest celebrations were held in Prescott and Phoenix, but the third (Tucson) was cancelled because funds were drained by designing the “signature project”. Worst of all, the once top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum was closed and gutted to make room for the “signature project”. Now, Arizona school children no longer enjoy a lifetime learning experience that the mineral museum (which traced its roots to the 1884 Territorial Fair) provided for more years that anyone can remember.

The preceding New Mexico centennial celebration established a foundation to benefit children. By contrast, the Arizona centennial celebration did permanent damage to Arizona’s earth science education programs, and was thereby harmful to children.

Note: The   Feb 16th edition of the Arizona Republic contained a shortened version (200 word limit) of the above in the letters to the editor section: