Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Delusions of competence

The AHS strategic plan, which rambles on for a full 19 pages, includes the following:

Strategic Goal 8.3: Expand science education programming statewide
Objective 8.3.1: Design and implement science education programs.
Objective 8.3.2: Use current and future exhibits to connect science education programs to exhibition themes and content


As has been demonstrated on this blog for the past four years, the AHS is struggling with history. As shown by recent media coverage, the AHS is having great difficulty with the performance reviews conducted by the Arizona Auditor General. They have never gotten a clean review.

As for science, they had an exceptional opportunity to become involved. In 2010, a political anomaly gave them control of a top rated science museum (mineral museum). What did they do?  They completely destroyed it, and they did so in defiance of Arizona statutes. At present, they are resisting efforts to restore the mineral museum by people qualified to do so. They are trying to replace the science museum they destroyed with and “event center” (happy hour venue?)

So much for science.

The AHS is having more success with another goal in their plan:

Strategic Goal 9.8: Raise AHS profile in the community

Over the past four years, extensive media coverage referenced on this blog has exposed the AHS involvement in the mineral museum fiasco. That has certainly raised the AHS profile, but in a very bad way. Their stumbling in performance reviews also raised their profile in the legislature.

There is one thing the AHS can do to promote science.


Let the people capable of doing so restore the mineral museum and its K-12 science education programs.

1     1 Arizona historical Society Strategic Plan, 2013-2017
2     2 Years later, not much to show for state Mining and Mineral Museum’s closure, Monday, May 5, 2014
By Harmony Huskinson
Cronkite News (most comprehensive of the dozens of articles printed)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Budget increase for non-existent Centennial Museum

Page 158 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations Report ( states the following:

A.R. S. (Arizona Revised Statute) § 28-2448 established the centennial specialty license plate. Of the $25 fee required for the specialty plate, $8 is for special plate administration costs, and $17 is a donation for the Centennial Special Plate Fund. --- ADOT distributed $70,000 from the fund to the Arizona Historical Society in the third quarter of FY 2013.

The Centennial Museum, now called the Arizona Experience Museum, has been closed since May 2011 for renovations. There are currently no plans to re-open the museum. The Arizona Historical Society is not able to use the revenues from the Centennial Special Plate Fund
because statute stipulates that those monies may only be used to pay costs related to the maintenance and operations of the museum.

Page 157 of the same report states the following:

The budget (Arizona Experience Museum) includes an increase of $16,200 from the
General Fund in FY 2014 ---. This line item funds personnel and rent of the Arizona Experience Museum, previously called the Centennial Museum. --- Of the total appropriation for the Arizona
Experience Museum, $360,800 is used to pay rent and the remaining $67,500 is used to fund the Curator position.

So, in summary, the AHS is now getting extra funding for the centennial museum from license plate sales. However, rather than appropriately reducing the general fund budget for the non-existent centennial museum, the legislature increased it!

Why can’t the AHS use the license plate fees to pay rent?

Arizona taxpayers deserve an explanation.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Do the 48 Women not like kids?

The 48 Women were selected for honor during the Arizona Centennial celebration. Formation of the group was an Arizona Centennial Commission Legacy Project. Their website ( shows that they are affiliated with the Arizona Historical Society. They are having a “special gathering” at the AHS Facilities in Tempe on Saturday, May 17, from 10:00 to 12:30.  The invitation reads as follows:

It is a pleasure to invite all Honorees to a very special gathering of 48 Women to reconnect, inspire one another and discuss an opportunity to play a role in changing the face of Arizona’s Capitol Mall. Join us as we celebrate, enjoy a fabulous meal, discuss goals, highlight the benefits and think through decisions to move the project forward.

As described in a recent Phoenix Magazine article, the project would finalize the destruction of the historic Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. Fifty thousand children visited the museum each year. The museums K-12 science education programs inspired many children to pursue successful careers in science and engineering.

48 Women Get Together Brunch

Dolores Tropiano, Rocks and a Hard Place
Phoenix Magazine, April 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Selective memory or selective history?

As of 5/15/2014, the following paragraph appeared at the center of the AHS website. The bits of information are true, but hardly present and complete and accurate picture of what really happened. For the "rest of the story", see the 4/27/214 (Political Mayhem) and 10/28/2013 (Letter to ...) blog posts.

AHS Sunset Review: Shortly after midnight on April 24th the Arizona State Legislature passed a 10-year reauthorization for the Arizona Historical Society. This is the outcome we desired. We want to thank you, our members, for your help in this effort. Many of you attended the House and Senate hearings, sent emails or made calls to legislators, and rallied our friends to do the same. All these efforts paid off. Thank you and here’s to another 10 years of making history at AHS! (The Sunset Review is the evaluation by the state legislature for the reauthorization and continuation of the Historical Society. All state agencies are subject to a review at least every 10 years.)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Can Arizona mining history be saved?

An article archived by the Mineralogical Record shows a tombstone style life span for the mineral museum as (1953 -     ).  The article further explains that the museum actually started as a display at the Territorial Fair in 1884, but was not open year round until 1953.

Will a death date of 2011* eventually be chiseled into stone and mark the final demise of the mineral museum?  If the Arizona Historical Society succeeds with their current misguided plan to convert the building into an “event center”, it will.

Or, will the people (especially students, parents, and teachers) and the legislature manage to rein in the rogue AHS and restore the mineral museum and its K-12 earth science education programs?

What does Arizona think is more important? 

History and education, or another state supported cocktail party venue** for a small group of self-appointed elite individuals?

*Year the AHS slammed the doors on students arriving on school buses and changed the locks.

**The AHS already has one at the Marley Center Museum (AHS History Museum at Papago Park) in Tempe

Arizona Mineral & Mining Museum
(1953 -    )
The Mineralogical Record
Bibliographer Archive