Sunday, May 7, 2017

Finally, the madness comes to and end

Seven years ago, a bit of political malpractice gave the Arizona Historical Society control of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum on the Capitol Mall in Phoenix.  Subsequently, AHS failed to raise funds for their plans for the building. Then, in 2011 the AHS did the unthinkable. They locked the doors as children were still scheduled to arrive on school field trips. The reason for the closure has never been explained, and 240,000 children have now been deprived of a lifetime learning experience.

Bills to fix the mess were introduced in 2015, 2016, and 2017.  They all received extraordinarily strong bipartisan support, but the Governor vetoed the 2015 bill. As explained in prior posts, the veto was most probably secured by AHS lobbyists.

The 2016 bill became law, but someone (AHS lobbyist?) managed to amend it with a poison pill.  If the museum did not reopen in two years, it reverted to AHS. Then, the Arizona Department of Administration (legal owner of the building in 2016) refused to allow the building to be re-occupied as is. ADOA demanded that the tenant pay for $2.5 million in upgrades before re-occupancy would be permitted. Obviously, no one was going to spend money on the building so long as there was a chance AHS would get it back. Even an attempt at fundraising was pointless.

Finally, the 2017 bill (SB 1415) brought an end to the seven years of madness when the Governor signed it on April 28.  The bill eliminates any possibility of the AHS ever regaining control of the museum and it transfers ownership of the building from the ADOA to the University of Arizona. The UA is now in complete control, and can begin cleaning up the mess made my AHS.


Prior to the AHS takeover, the mineral museum was a part of the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources.  That state agency no longer exists, thus the assignment of the museum to the UA.

The stated goal of the blog MMM when it started in 2010 was to recover the mineral museum from the AHS. Since that has now been achieved, this may be the final post on this blog. While the blog, and media coverage, kept a public eye on the mess, the blog does not deserve credit for the end of the madness.  The dedicated determination of Senator Gail Griffin, a strong advocate for natural resources education, is responsible for the corrective legislation. She sponsored each of the tree bills, guided them through House and Senate, and eventually obtained the Governor’s signature. Students and teachers will be forever grateful for her extraordinary efforts.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Update from AZGS

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Museum Transfer

The long awaited transfer of the mineral museum from the AHS to the AZGS became effective today.  Details are available at

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Guest Post

First published in the July 2016 Earth Science Musuem Newsletter

The AZ Geological Survey’s plight garners local, state, national and even international attention and support!
By Shirley Coté

The Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) has been in turmoil since January when Gov. Ducey announced his budget proposing the transfer of duties and responsibilities of the AZGS to the University of Arizona (UA).  And, in May 2016, the governor signed SB1530 the agency consolidation; budget reconciliation; 2016-2017, a bill in which the AZGS was defunded and put under the auspices of the UA.  With this transfer, the AZGS is no longer a state agency, and therefore required to move from its 10,000+ square foot state office space on Congress St. in Tucson to a 2,500 sq. ft. space at the Arid Lands Studies building at 6th St. and Campbell just east of the UA campus.  The AZGS also had to close its Phoenix offices and move its contents to dead storage as there is no office space owned by UA to house them.

Recent articles in both Tucson and Phoenix newspapers and in local and national blogs have highlighted the AZGS’s plight.

In Tucson on January 21st, Jonathan Duhamel of the Arizona Daily Independent wrote an article entitled “Governor Proposes Transferring Arizona Geological Survey to University of Arizona-Bad Idea.”  Jonathan’s article can be read at:

Also in Tucson on May 26th, Tom Beale of the Arizona Daily Star wrote an article entitled “State geologists moving to UA, facing layoffs”  The full article can be found at:

A similar article was printed in the Arizona Capitol Times in their May 31st edition at:

In Phoenix, a letter to the editor from David Briggs of the AZ Geological Society was published in the June 16th Arizona Republic.  In his letter he states:  “The governor’s efforts to consolidate state government have placed this healthy, productive state agency on life support, and its prognosis is grim.  The Arizona Geological Survey’s supporters do not understand how the decision to eviscerate this agency best serves the needs of Arizonans.”

Additionally, the Arizona Geological Society’s website has an informative article on the former AZ Mining and Mineral Museum and on the uncertain future that the Arizona Geological Survey is currently facing.  To view the both articles go to:

On Richard Zimmermann’s blog, Mineral Museum Madness ( a guest post entitled “The so-called agency consolidation of the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) is a SHAM” was posted and introduced as follows:  A condensed version of the following guest post was also published as a letter to the editor in the June 17th paper copy of the Arizona Republic.  In the newspaper, the title of the letter was “Arizona Geological Survey saddled with impossible tasks.”  The full letter to the editor can be read at:

On the national level, Scientific American magazine blogger Dana Hunter posted a piece on the SciAM blog Rosetta Stone, entitled, “Help Save the Arizona Geological Survey,” with the subtitle “The Arizona Geological Survey’s budget has been slashed by the state’s short-sighted government.”  The full article can be read at:

Also on the national level, the American Geophysical Union’s Eos Earth & Space Science News reportedNew Law Puts the Squeeze on the Arizona Geological Survey”

And, on the international level, Matthew Loader, a geologist from the Natural History Museum in London, copied the AZGS on a letter he sent to Gov. Ducey opposing the defunding of this valued agency.  A copy of his letter is posted with the June 26th Arizona geology blog at:

It’s not too late to add your voice of support for the AZGS, write a letter to the governor; to your state legislators; to your local editor; or put your thoughts on social media and share, share, share.  Those who may be interested in supporting the AZGS financially are encouraged to contact the Arizona Geological Survey at 520-621-2470 to see how they can help.


The Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) is pulling together a list of individuals and groups with an interest or stake in the opening of the Mining, Mineral and Natural Resources Educational Museum.  As you may know, possession of the Mining and Mineral museum building and mineral collection passes from the AZ Historical Society to the AZGS on August 6th.  The AZGS is strategizing now and identifying stakeholders in advance.  If you are interested in receiving regular updates, please contact Michael Conway directly by phone (520-621-2352) or e-mail 

Michael Conway |Chief, Geologic Extension Service
Arizona Geological Survey
1955 E 6th St.
PO Box 210184
Tucson, AZ 85721

Monday, July 4, 2016

AZGS move

AZGS is moving the contents of its Phoenix office to the mineral museum building, as well as some of the inventory and shelving from their Tucson store. The AZGS hopes to reopen it's store in the mineral museum building.