Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Third Anniversary of an Attack on Arizona History

On Saturday, April 30, 2011, the AHS scheduled an offsite meeting for mineral museum staff. At the meeting, the entire staff was fired, and not permitted to reenter the museum building. The photos on the May 1, 2011 post show the police presence preventing reentry and a contractor changing the locks. Students were scheduled to arrive on field trips the next week, but the AHS appeared not to care.

Subsequently, the AHS destroyed the once top rated mineral museum that began at the 1884 Territorial Fair.  They disposed of cabinets, cases, fixtures, furniture, and displays. They also had a contractor prepare to remove the historic mining equipment around the building. A legal challenge was required to save, at least temporarily, the mining equipment, which still stands around the empty building.

The reason for this senseless attack on Arizona history is unknown. Budget considerations were not a factor. Each year since, AHS continues to absorb the entire mineral museum budget provided by public funds.

Coincidentally, the Arizona Republic published a couple of  related letters.


Shuttered Ariz. mining museum got a raw deal
Douglas R. Lindsay Sr. Arizona Republic, 6:05 p.m. MST April 26, 2014
Arizona Republic

Funding cuts not behind mining-museum demise
Dick Zimmerman Arizona Republic 6:26 p.m. MST April 29, 2014
 (April 30 print edition)


  1. It' been three years since the AHS and AZ Dept. of Adm. abruptly fired the entire staff of the MMM with no explanation except some mumbling about needing to remodel. That, of course, was a lie--they and the Centennial Foundation had failed to raise enough funds to even start the Centennial Museum project. The disaster disenfranchised students and schools who were scheduled for fieldtrips to the MMM through May, and was simply unnecessary. The building has remained empty, but the incredible mining display and stamp mill still stand as an honor to Polly Rosenbaum who negotiated obtaining the building for the MMM. A legal challenge, when AHS attempted to dismantle the unique display defying their own state statutes, saved it. How sad for our state that millions have been poured into a disreputable agency, and that our children were deprived of a beloved science museum.
    Surly Arizona should not condone this depravity!!

  2. I read the letter cited below. So Madison Barkley the "Mineral museum curator" makes $67,000 !! That is more than almost all the staff. How mant people does she supervise? And what experience does she have? How many years of museum experience does she have.
    If I was a AHS staffer i would be really mad to know that someone with virtually no experience makes that much more than me.

  3. AHS's pathetic financial audit and poor Sunset Review have gotten them additional negative publicity and a reigniting of the inappropriate destruction of the Mining and Mineral Museum. A concern of the scientific community so deeply involved with the MMM group of supporters is that the valuable, moneywise and especially scientifically, mineral collection is now in the hands of the
    AHS. This agency is being faulted once again in a Sunset Reveiw for not having adequate controls and plans for monitoring their collections. When AHS closed the MMM they hijacked the mineral collection without having any qualified scientific personel. Months later they hired a curator with a PhD but absolutely no experience with the state collection or museums, and no other scientifically astute personel to work with. Despite promises from the Centennial Foundation that the collection would be kept together and not dispersed all over the state, as was feared, that is exactly what AHS intends to do. We now have a unique and valuable state mineral collection separated from the paperwork, and AHS changed the numbering system on the minerals to claim them for AHS.
    In the meantime, Sen. Ableser is persistently trying to correct this fiasco, but his bill is blocked from even a hearing due to politics and pressure--AHS I'm sure is involved in both!