Thursday, April 30, 2015

Historical society affecting the future

In a continuing effort to expose the wasteful and unethical behavior of the Arizona Historical Society, the following text was released to 750 news media contacts last week. The Arizona Range News (Wilcox) and the White Mountain Independent (Show Low) were among the first to publish it.

The Arizona Historical Society, a state funded agency, is having an effect on Arizona’s future, and it is not a good one. In 2010, the AHS gained control of the state owned Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Phoenix. At the time, 40,000 children per year were served in various ways by the museum’s K-12 earth science education programs. Memorable learning experiences at the mineral museum inspired some students to pursue careers in science and engineering. In early 2011, the AHS locked the doors, even though it continues to receive approximately a half million dollars of state money a year to operate the museum. The reason for the closure, which violated state statutes, has never been explained.

In 2015, the State Legislature voted to transfer all mineral museum assets to another state agency that is able and willing to restore the mineral museum and the K-12 education programs. Bipartisan support for the transfer was overwhelming. Only two representatives (out of 60) and three senators (out of 30) voted against the bill. Unfortunately, AHS lobbyists were able to persuade Arizona’s new Governor to veto the bill. The AHS wants to convert the building into an “event center” with restaurant and cocktail bar. Many suspect the goal sounds like a lounge for lobbyists on the Capitol Mall.

Professors in Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon report that universities in the USA are producing less than half the economic geologists that will be needed to support our industrialized economy. Arizona is the number one non fuel mining state in the USA and produces two thirds of the nation’s copper. Arizona will therefore be disproportionately damaged by a shortage of geologists. The AHS must not be permitted to damage education and the economy to pursue selfish interests that will only benefit lobbyists.

 Complete details are available on the blog Mineral Museum Madness at


  1. With this message being sent out to 750 news outlets you surpass all of the public relations done by the Arizona Historical Society in several years. They don't do public relations. That would mean actually having someone on staff who knows how to do that.

  2. The entire mess that lost the Mining and Mineral Museum and gained nothing for our centennial began with two women, Governor Brewer and Dr. Woosley, of AHS. They both were involved with the rocky centennial planning and both were very self-centered and self-serving. Brewer wanted the MMM building and to get rid of that ugly mining equipment and didn't know the MMM was very successful, and didn't care. She was focused on her own legacy and they came up with the immature birthday gift to AZ gimmick even though they had no money! Dr. Woosley saw an opportunity to get control of a museum near the capitol and the perfect opportunity to use Gallagher and Ass. who were part of AHS.s failed Rio Nuevo project. She was so thrilled that she committed without telling the AHS board, and they accepted it without issue. It's this self-important frame of mind that led to them being able to ignore their failure to raise even enough money do the authorized 5C's Centennial Museum and keep the MMM. Instead they shut down the MMM, without explanation, and proceeded to get Ghallagher to design a $15 million wonder AZ Experience Museum that attracted little support, especially financially. Not once did either party indicate any concern for the fact that AZ earth science students and teachers were their
    victims. Nor are they embarrassed that the building is empty four years later, and now AHS wants a party place for lobbyists at taxpayers expense to honor the Governor, whose vote they think they can get. Fortunately, the legislature, who dedicated the MMM building as a permanent location for the MMM did not buy any of this. However, don't look to AHS to care about science education in any meaningful way, nor are they capable of managing successful history museums. This agency is so out of touch that they can't or won't pass a Sunset Review, and has fine-tuned blaming anyone or anything for their failures and just hope something they throw out might stick.

  3. That's a good analysis of the major players in this disaster, which will now be reviewed once again.
    Politics is tough, and admitting mistakes is rare. According to attendees at the recent AHS Board meeting in Tempe, Pres. Marcisz asked the staff how to get rid of the "mess". The answer from the lobbyist was to call Sen.Griffin and the MMM supporters names and sugggest that AHS needs to push getting a reception center for lobbyists to honor the Governor and use Sen Driggs to sway the legislature. This is typical-use influence to promote self. Fortunately, Pres. Marcisz didn't advocate this in his recent editorial in the Sierra Vista Herald. However, the misinformation the staff fed him did not help their cause. History museum supporters need to keep the history of events and problems of their own making straight. At lest he didn't claim that the MMM is alive and well in Tempe, or that letting Gallagher & Ass. leave AZ with 2 expensive plans and lots of our money was a good thing.! If he really wants to get rid of the "mess" he is going to have to be an extraordinary leader, check everything the adm. staff of AHS feeds him, and force AHS to take ownership for their own actions. Above all, he must get AHS in good standing with the Sunset Review auditors. Reports from the meeting indicate that only 5 of 45 audit exceptions have been cleared. Standing up to those responsible for AHS's "mess" will require courage and integrity, and there is no guarantee that he can change the agency. But if he cares, he needs to try, and I wish him luck.

  4. :get rid of this mess"......that's easy. Fire Ann Woosley and Bill Ponder. Get rid of any hope of running the Mineral Museum--i.e. give it back to who was running it before you stole it.
    Let your staff get back to doing Arizona history.
    But above all fire Ann Woosley....after all she has never raised any money, has no public exposure, the agency has no public relations, the museum attendance is horrible, Woosley never leaves her what do you loose?

  5. The shortage projections for AZ and neighboring states should be a wake-up call for all. Educationally, AZ has been very lax on science, especially with elementary state standards. Everyone, the legislature,governor, universities and schools, and the mining industry needs to support all efforts to provide our students and teachers with information and resources. The restored MMM would help in this effort, and already has a support 501 C 3 available to help with funding. The expertise AGS will bring to the effort is invaluable.

    1. All true---but an agency that has since 1884 (not the 1860's as Woosley claims--AHS started in reality not on paper) been collecting Arizona HISTORY not minerals. AHS does not and has not collected minerals. They have enough to do collecting artifacts, photos and archives.
      AHS needs to get out of the minerals business. They don't do it very well.

  6. Haven't noticed that they do anything very well except waste a lot of taxpayer money without being forced to be accountable. It's time they suffer some needed consequences--a budget cut for every month they fail to come into complete compliance with all audit exceptions.