Thursday, March 26, 2015

Battle over museum transfer heats up

The bill to transfer the former Mining & Mineral Museum from the Arizona Historical Society to the Arizona Geological Survey is generating heated debate.   Although both AHS and AZGS have taken official neutral positions on SB1200, supporters and opponents are squaring off.  [Right, artists rendition for the proposed Centennial Museum to be built in the former museum space The building is currently vacant.]   The Arizona Capitol Times posted the most detailed report on the museum transfer published so far, by reporter Rachel Leingang at

The Friends of the Arizona Historical Society circulated a letter urging opposition to the bill, arguing 
  • The Historical Society is efficiently and effectively maintaining the Mining and Mineral Museum  and it should stay where it is.
  •  Leaving the Museum where it is currently will allow it to progress and flourish.
  • It makes sense and is good government for the Museum to stay with the state agency that runs museums.   
The lobbyist for AHS also raised the issue with the House Appropriations Committee that AZGS does not run museums.

Proponents of the transfer sharply disputed the claims in the letter from the Friends of the AHS during the same hearing, particularly the statement that AHS inherited a museum that was already closed.   In fact, AHS took the Mining and Mineral Museum in 2010 and shut it down in 2011 in anticipation of converting it to the Centennial Museum.

Today, the proponents started a petition drive aimed at the Governor, calling on allies to counter the letters and calls coming from the other side.

In an email sending around the petition that we received this afternoon, supporters are told:

"Feel free to print copies and get signatures wherever you can. At work or at school.  In the supermarket or stuck in traffic.  On the golf course, or at the gym.  Chase down the fishing boat or ATV ahead of you this weekend.

Put some on telephone poles and restroom walls.  Ask K Mart and Costco to put it on their bulletin board. Have kids give one to the teacher. Take some along when you walk the dog (possible dual use). Offer prison inmates a cigarette for a signature. Tell the kids they don't have to do their homework if they sign. Tell the mail man you will never let the dog out again if he / she signs. Ring doorbells and tell people they won the Readers Digest Sweepstakes (just sign here).

Be creative. Be sneaky. Be determined. BE SUCCESSFUL"
 SB1200 must now go to the full House for consideration.

1 comment:

  1. One lone AHS supporting Representative demanded to know if the AZGS had any museum management experience. She was informed that it does. Due to a previous merger of the the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources with the AZGS, the AZGS now includes staff members that used to manage the top rated mineral museum. Annual mineral museum attendance exceeded the current total annual attendance of all AHS museum. Therefore, the AZGS has better museum management experience than the AHS does.