Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Arizona Historical Society exposed

The news story referenced below is the most comprehensive to date on the destruction of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. It includes key points made repeatedly on this blog:

1. That claim that budget restraints forced the closure of the mineral museum was a hoax

2. Closure was unnecessary becasue work never started on the centennial museum

3. The museum was more important to the community than the surviving AHS museum in Tempe

Years later, not much to show for state Mining and Mineral Museum’s closure
Monday, May 5, 2014
By Harmony Huskinson 
Cronkite News


  1. Harmony Huskinson's latest article was again well-written and documented, and again brought to light the unnecessary destruction of the Mining and Mineral Museum. Churchard's description of the recession as the blame, and the ever escalating of the cost of this dubious gift is priceless. We were in a recession when they started, making the whole project
    sensless!! And the cost became impossible to recover when they destroyed the historic Mining and Mineral Museum. When that happened many of us were resigned to having to wait for the Centennial Museum or whatever to fail--which of course it did. But still no attempt to reinstate the MMM. Instead we now have
    an even more questionable effort by Driggs, ADOA and the Governor (apparently AHS got sidelined) to make a public meeting place that groups will have to pay for and come to a poor area of town at night. Who needs this and is willing to pay for it? Is it really more important than correcting the mistake of closing the MMM? Who is going to manage this--AHS with its problems? Once again, supporters of the MMM will have to wait for another failure, which is more likely than not. Chalk it up to AZ politics gone amok.

  2. The issue of the safety and preservation of the state mineral collection presented in today's Harmony Huskinson's article deserves careful consideration. Allowing this scientific treasure to be in the hands of AHS, who has a long history of problems managing collections and still had problems in the latest Sunset review, is not wise. AHS has one qualified but inexperienced person making decisions about this collection. When the MMM was given to AHS this serious issue was raised and AHS's statues were revised to keep the collection with the MMM with an advisory board. The Governor signed the bill, Judge Jones of the Centennial Foundation praised the solution and said they would never split the valuable collection up. Now we have one inexperienced person deciding on the condition of the specimens and their value!! One person cannot possibly monitor specimens all over the state of AZ in museums with no qualified person. This is more than a little irresponsible.

  3. "One inexperienced person". That's an understatement. No museum experience, no museum fund raising experience, no museum education experience, no museum public relations experiene, should I go on. Read her Doctoral paper. Fun reading if you are a geologist.( I know that;s what the museum is about.) So...where is the museum? And the taxpayers shell out $67,000 a year. For what? I really wonder what the other curators who work there think of her salary. And with the number of years they have put in. They must be laughing at Woosley.

  4. This wonderful article will endure for many years despite the current attempt to cover up a serious error by the Govenor, Historical Society, and ADOA. The new grandiose plan is to develop something that lacks a need and does nothing to help the students. It will have to try to raise money under the cloud of the senseless destruction of the MMM for kids. At this point it seems appropriate to consider some of the lessons that hopefully were learned from this disaster:

    Governors should not give birthday gifts to their state and expect the citizens to pay for them.

    Governors using their power to promote their own legacy by taking away from kids is a bad idea.

    Grandiose projects that have no clear need are often unsuccessful.

    Those you stomp on for your own selfish purposes are likely to embarrass you by giving you deserved publicity and then reforming and serving a true need. (The Earth Science Museum serving the kids you didn;t care about,)

    Kids are citizens too, and can make their voices heard, as they did. Stomping on them and ignoring them isn't a good strategy.

    There are more, but this will do.

  5. Let's face it...the only groups that will rent out this facility and have the money to do so are the lobbyists who want to influence our legislatures to pass certain bills in their favor. The auditorium at the Tempe facility is very expensive to rent. What school board in the state would come downtown to hold a meeting? We do not need to rent a building to anyone whose ultimate goal is to gain legislative influence.

    The $67,000 salary for Madison Barkley may include both her salary plus benefits such as health insurance, pension and other benefits. I doubt she is getting $67,000 a year as a paycheck as if she did she would be making more than the past 2 curators with tons of experience.

  6. The following is an excerpt from Harmony's article:

    "Brewer’s press office didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment on the closure of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum and the failure to open a museum in its place."

    That says it all. She cannot answer even the easy questions that are asked of her. I think the funniest thing I saw during the entire time the museum has been closed was when a reporter tried to question Brewer on TV about the closure in Tucson. Brewer handed an aide her purse and when the reporter asked her why she closed the museum and the failure of raising appropriate funds, she raced to her waiting car, jumped into the backseat and raced off leaving her purse behind.

    Before she leaves office she should right this wrong and graciously reopen the museum as a mineral and mining museum.

  7. The link to the "run from the questions without the purse" video is available on the blog. Click on the "Videos" tab, and then on the ABC 15 Investigates link.

  8. Now we can add another lesson to be learned: Those who refuse to answer questions and justify their actions, especially harmful ones, should be deemed guilty. (AHS and Gov.) All we hear from AHS is that they are going to have a Natural History Gallery (with an ever shifting opening) not why they slammed the doors on kids unnecessarily.

  9. The whole misguided mess started when when our Gov.,seeking to assure her legacy, huddled up with the director of AHS, coming out of a Tucson failure,
    felt obligated to Gallagher, for some unknown reason. They, unfortunately, huddled together and came up with increasingly more expensive plans despite very little fund-raising success and few even wanting the Governor's gift. This would have happened without a recession, which they ignored but now blame. Well, this will certainly be part of the Governor's and AHS"s legacy. The MMM's positive legacy is being loudly touted, as it should.

  10. "...felt obligated to Gallagher....:" Sounds more like she was being paid? Has anyone checked this out. It's not the first time things like this happen. If the Attorney General can prove this then Dr. Ann Woosley is gone. That would solve at least one part of this mess.

  11. Gallagher was clearly brought to Phoenix and became part of the Centennial fiasco right from the start, and it was AHS who insisted that he be named as the designer, All state procedures bidding the position were ignored. We shouldn't expect any investigation from the Attny. General's office--the Sunset Review auditor didn't even cite AHS for the closure of the MMM,and the failure to respect their own statutes.
    AHS's statutes clearly indicate that the MMM was to remain and be part of a 5C;s Centennial Museum. Any third grader could tell them that the law was ignored!
    Anyway, when it was all over, Gallagher was paid a second time for a design that never saw the light of day.

  12. So who has designed the AHS exhibits for the past 50 years or so? Out of state contractors? I thought the AHS had staff who did that? Why do they hire people from Maryland or new York City? Their own staff no longer have the ability to do this. Maybe Dr, Woosley needs to hire the right people. I doubt that she has the knowledge or ability to know how an exhibit is built.

  13. Almost like the Rio Nuevo mess that Woosley got AHS into. She spent $1,400,000 for the same thing .....NOTHING. When will her Board of Directors do something and fire her.