Thursday, March 05, 2015

State Senate approves transfer of centennial museum to AZGS; bill moves to House

The Arizona State Senate yesterday approved SB1200, transferring the former Mining & Mineral Museum from the Arizona Historical Society to Arizona Geological Survey, to be re-opened as the Mining, Mineral, and Natural Resources Education Museum.

The legislation transfers the current rent and curator budget from AHS to AZGS but a floor amendment by the bill sponsor's Sen. Gail Griffin, was approved that waives the rent for the first year with the funds to be used for operations and maintenance.

The museum was closed in 2011 in anticipation of it being converted to the Arizona Experience Centennial Museum but the private funds expected to pay for it never materialized.  [Right, mining diorama from the former museum, when it was operated by the AZ Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources.   ADMMR was merged with AZGS in 2011, after the museum was transferred to AHS]

The revamped museum would be expected to add livestock, agriculture, timber, and range management programs to the museums themes, similar to the vision for the centennial museum concept.


  1. Anonymous11:57 AM

    As a ardent volunteer and supporter of the Mining and Mineral Museum, I am pleased that SB1200 has passed in the Senate. The closure was not an orderly process by AHS, but rather an abrupt, hostile and unauthorized pirating of a successful museum entrusted to them.
    I can think of no better agency than AGS to help us undo the travesty and restore this historic and cost effective museum. This is not going to be a quick restoration. The building has been empty, and AGS, ADA, and former staff of the MMM need to look at the building to determine how extensive repairs/remodeling will be. Then, getting both the state mineral collection and the removed MMM .property returned to the building will probably not be a smooth process. Fortunately, the outside mining equipment is still there for the kids.
    Getting the MMM back open will take a year at minimum I suspect. That brings up the fact that the bill has another big component, which is not receiving much attention--the natural resources part. As SB1200 begins the process in the House, it seems prudent that we amend the bill to call restoring the MMM phase 1, and the natural resources part phase 2 once successful financing has been accomplished. Trying to do both at the same time could endanger the entire endeavor. At this point the natural resources part of the legislation is not being discussed because the support of the popular MMM is even getting students signing petitions. If fund raising proves difficult for natural resources, there are ideas that would require less upfront money; developing the ares one at a time and then have them designed as rotating smaller displays comes to mind. The second phase needs more planning time, and AGS shouls not be expected to do both at once.

  2. Anonymous9:15 PM

    If SB 1200 is signed into law I am sure AHS will comply with the statues. If they don't it would not look good for them. They need to return all the cases, tools, minerals, lapidary equipment, computers, TVs etc. that were originally in the museum.

    Volunteers from 4 years ago and many new ones will get the museum back in order under the guidance of AZGS. I am sure the tour guides will pitch in also. It will not be an easy task as both AHS and AZGS will need to cooperate fully in returning everything and setting it back up. The staff and volunteers know what was in the museum from 4 years ago as many were involved with the building from when it was originally set up in the early 90s.

    With the passage of SB 1200 we can reopen one of the finest mineral museums in the country and educate our students about minerals and let them see for themselves the beauty that lies below the earth's surface. The AZMMM was truly the hidden treasure of our wonderful state.