Sunday, December 27, 2015

Looking back

This blog began in the spring of 2010, following the unfortunate legislation that gave the Arizona Historical Society control of the mineral museum. The blog took the position that a historical society (any historical society) was not a proper agency to operate a science museum.

At the time, the forthcoming disaster resulting from this mistake could not be imagined.  No one thought that the AHS would close the top rated mineral museum and scatter its contents across the state, as it ultimately did. No one thought that the AHS would defy Arizona law and lock out 40,000 children per year. No one thought that the AHS would squander the mineral museum budget year after year, accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Looking back from the present, it is now apparent that the AHS is not "any" historical society. It is presently an extraordinarily bad one. The AHS is a rogue government agency that squanders millions without providing useful services. It has never had a satisfactory performance review, and does not have adequate collection control procedures. It is not even capable of accurately preserving Arizona history. In particular, it has failed to accurately preserve its own history.

It is now apparent that the State mineral collection is clearly in jeopardy. Appropriate correction of the legislative / executive error made in 2010 is urgent. Arizonians need to insist that the Legislature pass a bill with corrective action in 2016, and that the Governor sign it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Board leading the blind

The prior post suggested it is time for the AHS Board of Directors to investigate the distorted history of the AHS. Further information indicates that would be useless. The Board itself has bought into the false history.

In April 2015, the AHS sent a letter to the Sierra Vista Herald about the veto of SB1200 (mineral museum restoration).  Prior posts have debunked the claims that letter made about SB1200 and related circumstances. The badly flawed letter ended with the following somewhat belligerent statement:

In 1864, the Legislative Assembly of Territorial Arizona created the Arizona Historical Society and directed it to collect and preserve “all historical facts” including “geological and mineralogical specimens.” In the face of challenges and critics, the Arizona Historical Society will continue to do just that.

Now, it is has been discovered that the phrases in quotes were extracted from the acts of the 1864 Arizona Territorial Legislature. They applied to the FIRST AHS which went defunct after a few years. They had no connection whatever to the Society of Arizona Pioneers, from which the AHS emerged many decades later.

The present day AHS (the SECOND in the State’s history) is dysfunctional at all levels. Even the Board does not know what the mission of the AHS is. Only rigorous Legislative oversight can clean up this mess.


Acts, Resolutions and Memorials adopted by the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Arizona (September 26 to November 10, 1864). This booklet is in a bound volume by the University of Michigan Law School. The link is:

Sierra Vista Herald
A4 FRIDAY APRIL 24, 2015
Taking an issue with an editorial
To the Editor:
An April 13 opinion of the Sierra Vista Herald (OUR VIEW: Let’s end the honeymoon) lambasted Governor Doug Ducey for vetoing SB 1200, which would have transferred ownership of the former Mining and Mineral Museum from the Arizona Historical Society to the Arizona Geological Survey.

Before you decide if the governor’s veto was right or wrong, take a moment to understand what actually transpired in the years leading up to his action. The museum was not “closed without reason.” In 2010, Governor Jan Brewer intended to create a Centennial Museum to celebrate 100 years of Arizona history. The building tabbed for that role was the
Mining and Mineral Museum, and the Arizona Historical Society was selected to operate it. A $15 million museum was imagined, with exhibits honoring the famous five Cs of Arizona: cotton, cattle, copper, climate and citrus.

Then, the Great Recession hit, and the project stalled. A group of private citizens and business leaders charged with raising the $15 million could only raise $1.5 million. Engineering and architectural reviews of the building revealed serious structural problems which forced the 90-year-old building to be closed, with no money available for repairs.
With that, Arizona lost a popular museum which offered important insights into the history of the mining industry. Proponents of the Mining and Mineral Museum felt slighted, understandably so. While the fate of that building remains unresolved, the Arizona Historical Society has worked hard “so school kids could learn more about Arizona’s impressive mining and mineral history” as the paper’s editorial suggests. Dedicated mining and mineral exhibit space is open at the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park in Tempe. Minerals in storage have been moved to appropriate and safe environments. A full digital inventory has been created for the first time; anyone can view it
at AHS loans mineral specimens, exhibits and educational materials to qualified institutions and organizations around the state – free of charge. People can see these displays in Tempe, Tucson, Prescott, Jerome, Miami, Casa Grande, Cave Creek and, soon, Yuma. New resources for school children and educators are helping them connect with this integral piece of Arizona history. Rock and mineral kits for teachers have been retooled –they are now light enough to be shipped, which expands the reach and impact of Arizona’s mineralogical collection.

In 1864, the Legislative Assembly of Territorial Arizona created the Arizona Historical Society and directed it to collect and preserve “all historical facts” including “geological and mineralogical specimens.” In the face of challenges and critics, the Arizona Historical Society will continue to do just that.

Leonard J. Marcisz
President and Chairman of the Board,
Arizona Historical Society

Friday, December 11, 2015

The time of the crime

Prior posts presented irrefutable proof that the AHS tampered with history. The claimed founding date for the AHS was inexplicably moved back from 1884 to 1864. The change was not a simple error. The founders, as well as the locations of the first meetings, were also changed.  There was definitely a carefully coordinated effort to rewrite history. Now, the only remaining questions are; who, when, and why?

The 2009 issues of the Arizona Historical Society’s Southern Arizona Chapter Newsletters reveal when the history books were cooked. The front page of the Spring/Summer issue correctly cited the 1884 founding date. Then, the Fall/Winter issue displayed and incredible inconsistency. At the bottom of page 2, there is a prominent “About the Arizona Historical Society” insert. It makes the bogus claim that the present day AHS was founded in 1864 by the territorial legislature rather than in 1884 (as the Society of Arizona Pioneers). This false claim was published in spite of the fact that a following page correctly stated that the 125th Annual meeting was being held on November 14, 2009.

Twenty years was added to AHS history in mid-2009. Coincidently (or not?) this was the exact same time that the AHS was engaging in secret meetings to plan a hostile takeover of the mineral museum and the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum boondoggle.

The blog Mineral Museum Madness has now exposed the what and the when of this fraud. It is time for the AHS Board of Directors (or perhaps the Senate?) to pursue the who and the why.

Note: As late as Dec 22, 2005, the AHS letter head proudly proclaimed "founded by Arizona pioneers in 1884".

Sunday, December 6, 2015

100 plus 30 equals 150?

The following was distributed to media across Arizona to expose the hoax being promoted with tax dollars.

The Society of Arizona Pioneers was founded in 1884 and changed its name to the Arizona Historical Society in 1971.  In 1984, it celebrated its centennial and published a 230 page book (Pioneer Heritage) commemorating its first 100 years. Then, just 30 years later in 2014, it celebrated its 150th anniversary. A sesquicentennial logo with a 150 in it was created. There was a special 150 item display and a celebration in Tucson.  Zachary Ziegler, of Arizona Public Media, published a 9/1/14 anniversary story after interviewing the collection manager. The AHS itself published a special edition of the Journal of Arizona History to commemorate its 150th birthday.

How can this happen? Shouldn’t a state historical society, that gets millions of dollars a year in public funds, be capable of scheduling its own anniversaries correctly?

Dick Zimmermann, Tempe, AZ

Friday, December 4, 2015

International embarrassment

Prior posts established, beyond any doubt, that the AHS is misrepresenting its history. How this happened is not yet known. However, if it was a mistake, it was not an easy mistake to make. The world knows the truth. Libraries as far away as Australia have it correct. They know when the AHS was founded, what it was called when founded, and how and when the name was changed over the years.

The documents proving the faulty history are not limited to those cited in prior posts. There are many others. For example, Eleanor Sloane correctly documented the 75th anniversary of the AHS (then still the Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society) in 1959.

Given the large body of accurate material documenting its history, how could the AHS get it wrong, especially when it once had it right? Changing the founding date required extraordinary incompetence or unbridled mischief.

The history of the AHS will have to be corrected. There is simply too much evidence of the error or fraud to suppress. The sooner the correction, the better it will be for the state of Arizona. However, so much erroneous material has been published and distributed that it can never all be retracted. The history of the historical society with the fake history will forever be a part of Arizona’s history.

Record ID:  35008033 (Libraries Australia Authorities)
Notes: The Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society was founded in 1884 as the Society of Arizona Pioneers. Changed its name in 1897 to Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society and changed again in 1971 to Arizona Historical Society.
Local system number: 000000008103
Cataloguing source: ANL eng
Authentication code: kin

Sloan. Eleanor B., Seventy-Five Years of the Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society, 1884-1959, Arizona and the West, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring, 1959), pp. 66-70, Published by: Journal of the Southwest. Stable URL:, Page Count: 7

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Spoofing the senate?

In the fall of 2003, the director of the AHS testified before a Senate committee. Among other things, the senators were told that:

From its founding by the territorial Legislature on November 7, 1864, the understanding of history and the need to pass that history to future generations have been the guiding principles of AHS.

As show by prior posts, the AHS was not founded in 1864, and the AHS was still well aware of that. In 2005, two years after the hearing, the AHS letterhead still displayed the correct founding date of 1884.

Also, the AHS was not founded by the territorial legislature. It was founded by Charles Poston in Tucson.

Why did the director of the AHS misinform the Senate about the founding of the AHS?

How can a historical society misrepresenting its own history continue to receive public funding?

Senate hearing, Monday, Oct. 20, 2003 (Senate Government Committee) Arizona historical society.doc.htm

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The smoking guns

Prior posts established beyond any doubt that the AHS is presenting a false history about itself. The remaining question was why. Is it the result of incredible historical incompetence, or is it a lie? Two documents now in the possession of this blog answer that question. It is a lie.

As late as December of 2005, the AHS letterhead displayed the following just to the right of the logo:

Arizona Historical Society
founded by Arizona pioneers in 1884

Then, in February of 2009, the following appeared at the bottom of an internal memo:

Visit us at
Established by an Act of the First Territorial Legislature on November 7, 1864, the Arizona Historical Society is Arizona’s oldest historical society

The 2005 letter head is correct, and the 2009 memo is not. Whoever fabricated the lie did so sometime during an interval of just over three years.

How can this happen?  How can a state historical society, a state agency funded by taxpayers, promote such a fabrication and then celebrate a fake 150th anniversary a few years later?

Why should the people of Arizona continue funding this agency to preserve Arizona history?

A thorough investigation is called for.  This fraud cannot be allowed to continue.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Further evidence

The prior post was sarcastic, but the underlying question is serious.  Why is the AHS presenting a false history about itself?  The question is not if  it is wrong, the question is why it is wrong.

An early, multi volume record of Arizona history also exposes the truth.  Farish, writing is 1916 about the History of Prescott and the first AHS (actually the Arizona Historical Association), also reports that it quickly went out of existence.

The Arizona Historical Society had only a brief existence. After the removal of the capitol from Prescott, it was abandoned, probably for want of supplies.

Whether the false history is the result of incompetence or dishonesty is unknown. Either way, Arizona taxpayers should wonder why they are providing this organization with millions of dollars every year.

Reference: Farish, Thomas Edwin, History of Arizona,Volume IV Phoenix, Arizona, 1916, Page 260

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

History Quiz

This blog began with the premise that the Arizona Historical Society is not qualified to be in possession of the state mineral collection. Over time, evidence appeared suggesting that the AHS is currently not even capable of preserving Arizona history. A short quiz to test the AHS’s historical competency follows:

Why did the AHS celebrate its centennial in 1984?

(   ) It took the AHS so long to plan for the centennial that it celebrated its centennial 20 years late.

(   ) It took 20 years longer than expected to raise the necessary funds.

(   ) The AHS was actually founded in 1884, not in 1864 as it currently claims.

(   ) No one was paying attention and they missed it.

(   ) It took members 20 years to agree on a venue for the celebration.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Voters wake up

The September 17, 2015 post reported a new boondoggle on which the AHS was embarking. Their target was public funds connected with the old Pima County Courthouse and the Pima county bond election. However, having recently been fleeced by the Rio Nuevo project, in which the AHS squandered $1.4 million, voters are now wary.  They rejected every one of the bond propositions.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Spreading the bad word

Continued AHS obstruction of  mineral museum restoration is unacceptable. When enough Arizona citizens are aware of the illegal and unethical AHS conduct, corrective action will follow

Former mineral museum supporters are busily spreading the bad word about the AHS. They have been going to schools, offering free rock and mineral education programs and also free rock and mineral kits for teachers. The programs are very popular. and greatly appreciated. Last school year alone, over 5,000 students were served. Students and teachers are being briefed on the ugly AHS closure of the mineral museum, and are volunteering to support its restoration.

Today and tomorrow, museum supporters are participating in the Arizona Science Teachers Association annual conference.  They are briefing attendees on the ugly AHS closure and subsequent looting of the mineral museum, and are being provided with material on so attendees can participate in the restoration.

The Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum will be back. It will just take a bit longer to crush AHS opposition.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


The AHS is having a party to celebrate their lawless looting of the mineral museum.