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