Saturday, January 25, 2014

News story on Arizona mining museum legislation

There's a story in today's Arizona [Phoenix] Republic titled, Bill would reopen Arizona mining museum that provides the background and driving forces behind Senate Bill 1023, introduced by Sen. Eddie Ableser, (D-Tempe), that would direct the Arizona Geological Survey to establish a mining and mineral museum.    Similar bills were introduced in the previous two sessions.

Rep. Russ Jones (R-Yuma) is quoted as saying that "The Arizona Geological Survey would require a huge sum of money and an increase in staffing to restore the museum."

To elaborate on that, we have not made any estimates on what it would take to carry out the provisions of the bill if it were to be enacted.  While many advocates of a mineral museum urge reopening the former facility, there is nothing in the bill mandating where it would be located.  [Right, home of the former Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum in Phoenix]


  1. Anonymous3:26 AM

    It was a loss for the museum to have closed in the first place as it was a huge asset and tourist draw to Arizona. Building still stands vacant and needs a nice quiet tenant. I would like to see it back where it is as there are outdoor displays already in place.

  2. Anonymous11:35 AM

    I hope the museum can be was a great asset and is greatly missed by many locals and visitors.

  3. The bill would not provide funding to reestablish the mineral museum and it would not assign any building to it. It would simply authorize the AZGS to establish and operate a mineral museum. Most importantly, the bill would transfer control of the Arizona mineral collection from the AHS to the AZGS. At present, the AHS is scattering the collection about the state. Collection oversight is not being implemented in accordance with Arizona law.

    Funding and facility assignments are details not established in state statutes. Following passage of the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum bill in 2010, the building and budget were transferred to the AHS via separate administrative and budget action. The AHS still receives over $400,000 per year for facility and staff even though they are not operating a museum in the building.

    When closed, the mineral museum was not receiving any state support other than the use of the state owned, mortgage free building. It may be that community support could again operate a mineral museum even if the state provided no support other than the use of a building. Former Representative Russ Jones is simply wrong about the need for a "huge sum of money". Perhaps he opposes reestablishing the mineral museum becasue he is supporting John Driggs effort to make a multi-use facility (cocktail bar like Marley Center Museum?) out of the old building.

  4. Anonymous10:29 AM

    I just read the article on AZGS's Links about the positive work the Earth Science Museum's outreach program is doing to help the students and schools who were disenfranchised by the hostile closure of the historic Mining and Mineral Museum. My understanding is that this was done by the AZ Historical Society who fired the talented, scientifically and educationally, staff, and ran off with the scientific state mineral collection. Kind of like taking the spoils of war, isn't it? And all of this destruction of a historic museum was done to celebrate our centennial by an agency charged with preserving AZ History. Amazingly, the Earth Science Museum is able to do all that was beautifully described in the article and video free of charge, leaving schools with kits and educational material free of charge also. Contrast that with the comments from the Arizona Historical Society--they can't do geology outreach to schools because they don't have enough staff.!!! News Flash--AHS has staff, they just aren't qualified to help schools in the area of geology or earth science. And they fired the Mining and Mineral Museum staff who were! The AHS now has to sell rock and mineral kits, while the Earth Science Museum is able to give them to schools. This is so devoid of making sense that my head hurts. I hope those of you carrying on the fight can finally get a hearing on Ableser's bill.

  5. Anonymous10:57 AM

    I just read the article about the Earth Science Museum on the AZGS Links. My understanding is that the historic Mining and Mineral Museum was closed and the scientifically and educationally talented staff fired by the Arizona Historical Society, who was given custody of it. Amazingly this was done in time to celebrate our centennial, by the agency mandated to preserve AZ history. The article beautifully describes the caring volunteer work of the Earth Science Museum, a group dedicated to mitigating some of the disenfranchisement of our students and schools. Contrast that with the actions of AHS--they shut down the Mining and Mineral Museum and ran off with the state's scientific mineral collection, as if it were just the "spoils of war"!! The comments from AHS in the article centered on not having enough staff to do outreach. AHS has staff, but they fired the ones who could have helped them. I can't envision them able to compete with the incredible free outreach service and materials of the Earth Science Museum by trying to sell expensive rock and mineral kits. This whole sordid affair just doesn't make sense, and my head hurts thinking about it. Keep up the effort to finally get Ableser's bill heard, so the real issues can be discussed and the problems corrected!!


  6. Having failed with their centennial museum project, the AHS appears determined to prevent the restoration of the mineral museum at its current location.

    The following appears at the bottom of the last page of the current JBLC proposed budget:

    Arizona Historical Society
    Adds footnote requiring the Society and Arizona Department of Administration to submit joint report to JLBC by Nov. 28, 2014 on options for use of the now-vacant Mining and Mineral Museum.

    A Phoenix Magazine article and AHS board minutes reveal that they are teamed with the 48 Women Group in an attempt to raise funds to convert the now empty building into a public event center.

    Why? They have a much larger and newer event center in Tempe.

    What is the purpose of the new proposal other than to prevent restoration of the mineral museum and its K-12 education programs?