Monday, May 16, 2011

Education emerging as prominent theme of Arizona centennial museum

I'm just back from Phoenix where a number of the key players in the new Arizona Experience centennial museum brought each other up to date on the work behind the scenes and planned out the critical steps over the next few months.

One topic came up over and over, in every aspect of the discussions, and that's the importance of education. And it's not just museum planners giving lip service to the education component. There is exciting, innovative thinking about how to turn the traditional staid museum visit into an integral component of the curricula for K-20 students, while also offering a memorable experience to everyone else.

The fund raising team is not having a difficult time selling this concept to potential donors. In fact, we heard that education is the top priority of many of the heavy hitters. They want to see how the museum experience can be translated into kids getting excited about science, technology, and other professional areas and seeing opportunities there.

In the coming weeks and months, we will see more of this vision for the Arizona Experience being elaborated and coming out publicly.


  1. Anonymous7:11 AM

    If they were so interested in educating the public and especially the schoolchildren, then why did they close down the museum for the last month of the school year. There were two weeks of field trips scheduled and they were canceled. Some of the schools found out through the media that the educational program they were planning on to enrich their classroom curriculum would no longer be available. The Historical Society did not tell them according to some of the teachers. AHS sure bungled this big time.

  2. Anonymous1:03 PM

    If the fund raising team is having such an easy time selling education, where is all the money?
    Is the fund raising team also telling people that a historical, self-supporting, top-rated, and only earth-science museum in the Phoenix area is being sacrificed for this expensive project? AZ history is great, and we have many
    history museums across our state. The students
    will tell you that they need science education,
    not AZ history, to compete within the US and in
    our global economy. Why does this new and very
    expensive museum have to take away from our students--isn't there another building?

  3. This seems like a really nice museum. It sounds like the museum had the right idea, maybe they just got lost in working out the details.

  4. After two years of planning and no progress, education is suddenly a priority. How curious. The just wiped out mineral museum was focused on science education and was one of the highest rated attractions in Phoenix. For example, US News Travel put it on their list of top 12 Phoenix attractions. How do you beat that?

    Can the centennial museum, or whatever it is ultimately called, ever match those ratings? With the AHS managing it, it is unlikely. They spent $30 million on the Marley Center Museum (AKA History Museum in Papageno Park) and it never received anything but public ridicule. It is not even a serious museum. The interactive displays are broken, the library is closed, and the classrooms are piled full of junk. It is really a cocktail bar with a mediocre museum annex.

  5. Anonymous5:42 AM

    I'm getting tired of the whining. It's a done deal. It's time to focus your efforts on making the Centennial Museum one of the top 5 Phoenix attractions.

  6. Anonymous6:30 AM

    Hey fund raising team--kids were excited about science, specifically earth science, and the Governor, the AZ Historical Society, and the Cen
    tennial Foundation just shut them down! There's
    something wrong with this picture!There was room
    to keep the excellent Mining and Mineral Museum, and add more. Instead the scientific professionals who donated time to the MMM are gone. Time to back-up, get a scientific management team, and then rebuild, not destroy.

  7. Anonymous11:07 AM

    It's definitely not a done deal! The Governor is
    pushing 5C's, the State Geologist is excited about
    pushing science and technology, and says the new
    plan will be developed in the next months. It's only a done deal when they have 15.5 million to do
    it. And there's no way it can be done for our
    birthday. Not a very good birthday gift huh?

  8. Top 5 Phoenix attractions? Not likely. AHS museums do not even get on top 100 lists. However, the "smells and vibrations" promised on may put it on some list.

    Note: The mineral museum was on many top 10 lists and was ranked number 2 on one of them.