Saturday, June 21, 2014
Arizona Museum Mismanagement
The Arizona Historical Society continues to operate six history museums and manages one historic mansion for the State Park Service. The history museums are not successful, top rated museums like the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum that the AHS closed and destroyed. According to a recent performance review conducted Office of the Auditor General, the attendance at AHS facilities was as follows in 2012:
Pioneer Museum, Flagstaff ………. 12, 487
Papago Museum, Tempe .................. 6, 867
Sanguinetti House, Yuma.................. 4, 882
AZ History Museum, Tucson ...........11, 486
Ft. Lowell Museum, Tucson ………. 2, 376
Downtown Museum, Tucson ……….1, 243
Total history museum attendance ….39, 341
The performance report includes one other facility:
Riordion Mansion, Flagstaff ........... 24,732
The AHS currently manages the Riordan Mansion, a State Historic Park, for the Arizona State Parks, with support from Northern Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society and Riordan Action Network. Located on the highway to the Grand Canyon, this old logging baron’s mansion draws over 60% as many visitors by itself as all of the AHS history museums combined.
In 2010, the AHS was given control of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Phoenix. Comparable attendance figures for the mineral museum are not available for 2012 because the AHS closed it in 2011. However, the average attendance in 2007, 2008, and 2009 was 47,500. So, the mineral museum attendance was approximately 120% of the total attendance of all six AHS history museums.
Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum …. 47, 500 (prior year average)
Furthermore, the half dozen history museums are heavily subsidized by a portion of the $3 million budget taxpayers provide to the AHS every year. By contract, the mineral museum was operated by volunteers and self-generated income. It served more visitors at less cost.
Why did the AHS close the most successful of its eight facilities (7 museums and one historic park)?