Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lawless Arizona Historical Society

The prior post (and some others before it) asserted that the AHS did not comply with Arizona statutes.  The following legal documents support those claims.

Text from Rench Law PLC letter of Nov, 21, 2011 to AHS:

This firm represents Richard Zimmermann who retained us to take whatever steps are necessary, including litigation, to force the Arizona Historical Society to honor its statutory duties.
The Arizona State Legislature transferred control of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum to AHS in 2010. The transfer of control came with specified duties to the museum and the public. Since the transfer, AHS has wrongfully neglected or flatly disregarded its statutory responsibilities with regard to the museum.

AHS inherited control of the museum when the Forty Ninth Legislature passed House Bill 2251. The law provides, “The Arizona historical society shall operate and maintain the centennial museum that houses the mining and mineral museum “with a purpose to” maintain the mining and mineral museum” and to “operate educational programming” among other things. A.R.S. 41-827. The law specifically states that he AHS “shall maintain the items, artifacts, and other inventory received for display or storage, including equipment and outdoor displays, and shall not sell or otherwise dispose of material received for the centennial museum or the mining and mineral museum”.

The state legislatures mandate is clear. AHS must ensure that the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum continues to exist, operate it, and keep and maintain all of the artifacts received by the museum.

Notwithstanding the clarity of the legislature’s mandate, AHS has flatly ignored its duties and obligations with regard to the museum. It closed the museum to the public on April 30 and stopped offering education programs. AHS has also plainly threatened to dispose of invaluable and irreplaceable artifacts and other inventory belonging to the museum. These actions are in direct violation of the 2010 mandate from the state legislature.

The Arizona Historical Society’s website boasts, “Saving Arizona’s History Since 1864.” The Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum has existed since 1884, and thousands of children and adjusts and benefited from the educational programming for which the museum has come to be known. In short, a large and significant part of Arizona history has been entrusted to your care by the legislature’s mandate that you care for the museum.

Demand is hereby made that the Arizona Historical Society cease and desist from disposing of the invaluable and unique artifacts belonging to the museum. Additionally, demand is made that the AHS reinstate availability of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum to the public as well as the educational programming required by the statute.  If AHS ignores these instructions, my client will have no option but to seek an injunction prohibiting further disposal and bring a mandamus action requiring you to perform you statutory obligations.

Dec 14, 2011 reply from the Office of the Attorney General:

Our office represents the Arizona Historical Society. You sent a letter dated November 21, 2011, to the Arizona Historical Society on behalf of you client Richard Zimmermann. You and I has a discussion on December 14, 2011, where we discussed the concerns of your client regarding the Arizona Historical society’s management of the items belonging to on loan to the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in light of A.R.S. 41-827.

It is our position that the AHS has met and continues to meet the requirements of the statute. The legislature has charged the AHS with the task of maintaining and operating the centennial museum which houses the mining and mineral museum. The AHS is actively working to repurpose the building on West Washington Street to house both as required by statute.

Apparently, the AHS assured the AG that it would comply with state statutes, but then did not. Now, it has implicated the Governor in its illegal active by successfully lobbying him to veto SB1200 (mineral museum restoration).


  1. It couldn't be more clear. AHS misled the Atty. Generals's Office, and never even attempted to comply with the law after they slammed the doors shut. Now they have proposals that are totally out of compliance with the legislative directive they said they would follow. Truthfulness and integrity are not qualities AHS possesses. So why do we keep giving them millions each year. Governor Ducey--do not trust this agency!

    1. Those proposals were stupid and totally unworkable. The 5 "C"'s museum? You have to be crazy. Who would want to see an exhibit on climate and oranges. And somebody tell me what an Arizona Experience Museum was supposed to be. Woosley has a Phd. in history or maybe archaeology. And her museum collects artifacts dealing with Arizona HISTORY.