Monday, February 15, 2016

Mineral museum bill hearing in state Senate

The Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee with hear SB1440, the Mining & Mineral Museum Transfer bill, at a meeting starting at 2 PM, Tuesday, February 16, in Senate Hearing Room 109.

During a hearing in the Government Committee last week, committee members repeatedly quizzed the lobbyist for the Arizona Historical Society about whether there are any plans or intent to re-open the museum.    Lobbyist Jim Norton finally explained that unless AHS was given specific direction and funding, they had no plans on opening the museum, which has been closed since 2011.

AHS receives state funding to cover the rent of the building and for one curator.  In addition, fees from the Centennial License Plate fund go to AHS for developing the museum.  Comments by Jim Norton implied they have received at least $750,000 from those fees so far.

SB1440 would transfer the museum and its assets to the Arizona Geological Survey to re-open the facility as the Arizona Mining, Mineral, and Natural History Education Museum.

A similar bill passed the legislature last year but was vetoed by the governor.


  1. Anonymous9:47 AM

    AZGS is on a bare-bones budget. The majority of their funding comes from grants that they pursue. They accomplish a lot and give a bang for the bucks they raise for the agency. Is it not ironic that the Historical Society has enough money to hire a lobbyist (must have plenty of money in their budget to waste!) to stop the desire of the public to reopen a museum under a different agency with expertise on the subject? Then they come back and complain they need additional funding to run a museum that was operating just fine on a thread bare budget before they came along and destroyed it.

  2. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Open the damn thing and go back to operating like it was before. It was working just fine until government messed with it. The people want it back. The tourists want it back. The school children want it back and I want it back also. Quit acting like politicians and do something right for once. Fix what you brake and get it right for once instead of playing your silly games. We are sick of it and have had enough. If I sound angry well you can guess what? I sure as heck am. I am a state official and I have to post anonymously. Why do you suppose that is? Perhaps the "leaders" have their heads in the clouds and have to play games instead of doing what is right.

  3. The rent for the building plus the salary for one employee was all the state support the mineral museum ever received. With that, plus considerable community support, it became one of the Valleys top ten museums with an annual attendance of over 50,000.

    Compare that to the AHS museum in Tempe. It has 10 state employees and an attendance of only a few thousand visitors each year when last reported. Since the attendance is no longer reported, it has presumably dropped below that.

    Details about the waste and inefficiency within the AHS are available on the blog Mineral Museum Madness. For a $3 million annual appropriation and even greater hidden costs, the AHS provides little benefit to Arizona taxpayers.