Mineral Museum Restoration Meeting Minutes – Feb 7, 2015

Mineral Museum Restoration Meeting Minutes – Feb 7, 2015

At least one media article has claimed that that the mineral museum cannot be restored because that would be too costly in a time of financial stress. That is not true. The mineral museum became a top rated museum and operated widely used K-12 education programs while provided with state funding for only two things: the use of the building and the salary for the curator. With that very limited state support, it served over 40,000 students per year. Total annual attendance was close to 50,000. The museum was able to provide that service with a very limited state funding due to dedicated community support.
At the request of Janet Stoeppelmann of the East Valley Academy, former mineral museum supporters met on the evening of February 6 to discuss a plan for restoring the mineral museum and its K-12 education programs. Janet had asked Senator Shooter to support the restoration of the mineral museum. The Senator expressed a willingness to help, but asked that he be quickly provided with a museum restoration plan. Janet reached out to former mineral museum supporters to draft the requested plan.
Twenty four people met on short notice (4 days via email) to prepare the plan. Twenty one other individuals responded and expressed a desire to help but had prior commitments. Many of those were in Tucson for the beginning of the annual international Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. The appendix lists both the people in attendance and those not able to attend but wanting to help.
The meeting began with a quick review of the events of the past five years following the passage of legislation giving the Arizona Historical Society control of the mineral museum. The group then discussed the value of the mineral museum and reasons why the Legislature and the Governor should support the restoration of the mineral museum. The reasons for restoration were as follows:
1. To support STEM* education, especially K-12
2. To properly preserve specimens with scientific value
3. To reunite mineral collection with supporting data (already in possession of the AGS**)
4. To make mineral specimens available for scientific research
5. To preserve Arizona’s heritage (especially historic mining equipment)
6. To reopen a formerly top rated, international tourist attraction in the Southwestern USA
7. To permit visitors to view unique Arizona mineral specimens in a scientific context
8. To provide a venue for scientific conferences and symposiums
9. To permit the community to broaden the scope of the museum to provide education on earth science and natural resources
*Science, technology, engineering, and math
**Arizona Geological Survey
The group then developed the following mineral museum restoration plan:
The mineral museum can be restored without new funds if state government performs the steps in part A below. The community (volunteers, nonprofit organizations, and corporate donors) can then return the museum to operation by performing steps in part B below. At least step 1 in part A must be accomplished before the community can effectively proceed with the steps in part B
A: Government (legislative / administrative / agency) action required:
1. Pass legislation* transferring museum authority to the Arizona Geological Survey (AGS)
2. Transfer existing mineral museum state budget to the AGS (rent and 1employee)
3. Transfer AZ centennial license plate funds (retroactively) to AGS.
4. Transfer mineral museum property to the AGS (mineral collection, artifact collection, displays, cases, gift shop inventory, equipment, furniture, tools, supplies, and educational resource material not formally a part of the mineral collection)
5. Transfer gift shop cash account as of April 2011 plus cash from subsequent sales of mineral museum property at AHS facilities to the AGS
6. Coordinate transfer of museum property from AHS to AGS (identify locations and arrange for access)
7. Inspect mineral museum building and document any changes to the interior that might prevent reopening the museum (the AHS may have altered or removed existing interior features).
8. For any unrecoverable mineral museum property, transfer compensating funds from the AHS budget or AHS accounts to the AGS**
9. For any detrimental alterations to the interior of the mineral museum building, transfer compensating funds from the AHS budget or AHS accounts to the AGS**

* Applicable statutes identified in current SB 1016
** These conditions are believed appropriate because the AHS knowingly violated state statutes (Allen amendment to centennial museum bill in 2010) when it closed the mineral museum and disposed of its contents, and because compensation for any missing property and negative facility alterations will be necessary to permit the mineral museum to reopen.
Note: Former mineral museum supporters were deeply offended when the AHS was permitted to close and dismantle the mineral museum. They felt their decades of support were unrecognized and unappreciated by state government. The state will have to take positive action (at least pass corrective legislation) before active community support can be regained to complete the steps in part B..
B: Community action (coordinated with AGS) required:
1. Secure commitments from 501 c 3 nonprofit support groups
2. Reestablish private grant programs
3. Recruit and train volunteers
4. Solicit donations
5. Inventory mineral collection
6. Assemble museum displays
7. Restore gift shop operations
8. Hire part time employees (supported with gift shop proceeds)
9. Restore K-12 education programs for both students and teachers
10. Sponsor two family days a year, as before
11. Provide researchers with access to collections*
12. Broaden scope beyond minerals (geology, other natural resources) to enhance educational value and broaden the base for public support (especially private grants).
• Less than 20% of the collection was on display

Appendix: Attendees
The following people attended the planning meeting:
Doug and Lee Lindsay, Board Member, Flagg Mineral Foundation
Stan Celestian, geologist, Arizona State University
Sue Celestian geologist, Arizona State University, former mineral museum curator
Janel Stoeppelmann, educator, East Valley Academy
Ken Ryan, educator East Valley Academy
Lynne and Terry Dyer, Mineralogical Society of Arizona
Harvey Jong, Flagg Mineral Foundation, President of Earth Science Museum
Shirley Cote, former museum staff member
Dick Zimmermann, retired engineer, Flagg Mineral Foundation
Mardy Zimmermann, retired teacher, Earth Science Museum outreach program
Gordon and Terry Byrn, Flagg Mineral Foundation
Cynthia Buckner, mining equipment donor
Judy Dixon, Secretary of Arizona Prospectors Association
Ev Dixon, former museum volunteer
Stuart Harrah, retired engineer
Steven Corrigan, Arizona Prospectors Association
George Busby, VP of Arizona Prospectors Association
Joy Parker, President, Arizona Leaverites Gem and Mineral Society
Robin Evans, geology student
Scott Evans, Maricopa Lapidary Society
Tom Parks, former museum staff instructor
The following people responded to the short meeting notice to offer support, but were unable to attend due to other commitments (the meeting notice was released only 4 days prior to the meeting via email). Many had commitments at the opening of the annual mineral show in Tucson.
Jan Rasmussen, geologist, former mineral museum curator
Tom LaBonte, Mineralogical Society of Arizona
Alice LaBonte. Editor of the Rocky Mountain Federation Mineral clubs newsletter and Mineralogical Society of Arizona
Steve Decker, Board member, Flagg Mineral Foundation
William Hawes, Former president of the Mining Association of the South West
Tony Occhiuzzi, science teacher
Ann Baker, former gift shop manager at the mineral museum
Les Presmyk, mining engineer SRP
Genie Howell, AZ Department of Water Resources retiree, Flagg Mineral Foundation board member
Steve Pegler, engineer
Karen Bagwell, mining equipment donor
Ray Grant, geologist, Mesa Community College
Cynthia Grant
Sandi and Gene Sawyer
Phil Richardson, engineer, and Chairman of the Flagg Mineral Foundation
Chris Whitney Smith, President, Mineralogical Society of Arizona
Mike Williams, Secretary, Flagg Mineral Foundation
Jennifer Jordan, teacher
Doug Duffy, former mineral museum instructor
Bob Holmes, meteorite collector

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