An open letter to the members of the Arizona Historical Society

An open letter to the members of the Arizona Historical Society

Dear Members of the AHS,

Public statements made by AHS representatives are diminishing the reputation of your Society.  In public hearings, AHS representatives have complained that the AHS has “taken grief” from mineral museum supporters, and referred to them as “wild Indians”.  They have even made disparaging remarks about the Legislature. AHS representatives have also made false public statements about the mineral museum closure.

Arizona Revised Statute 41.827* requires the AHS to continue operating the mineral museum in a portion of the existing building in Phoenix, and in particular to maintain the “outdoor equipment” that was a key part of the popular museum. The fact that the centennial museum (AKA experience museum) project failed did not justify closing the mineral museum. The AHS has been funded to operate the mineral museum every year since, and has a clear statutory responsibility to do so.  Instead, the AHS fired the staff and changed the locks while children were still scheduled to arrive for school field trips in the spring of 2011.

All mineral museum supporters are trying to do is restore a top rated and extremely popular science museum that served over 40,000 children per year (as well as over 10,000 adults). AHS lobbyists and management have been obstructing every effort to do this, and have now assured that at least 200,000 children will have been or will be deprived of a unique, lifetime learning experience. It is the children that are “taking grief”, not the AHS.

Be aware that Auditor General reviews of the AHS have, over a period of 20 years, never been satisfactory. Also be aware that attendance at your museums is fading rapidly. Your Tempe museum in particular is in serious trouble. It has ten state employees and a $1.3 million dollar a month annual mortgage payment, but only attracted a mere 3375 visitors last year. How long will taxpayers continue funding it as attendance falls? Particularly in Phoenix, the AHS public image is not good. Continued whining about an imagined wrong related to the mineral museum mess will only make it worse.

Please ask AHS management to allow people capable of doing so to restore the mineral museum for the children. Focus on using the generous resources that state taxpayers still provide you to improve your history museums.

*http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/41/00827.htm&Title=41&DocType=ARS

Please click on image to read original letter.

open letter to AHS

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