The following is a copy of a message sent to the members of the House Committee on Appropriations by another former mineral museum curator (see prior post):
I urge you to approve and fund SB1440, to save and transfer Arizona’s mineral collection to the Arizona Geological Survey, and to re-establish a comprehensive Earth science museum.
I was Education Curator and then Curator of the Mineral Museum from 1994-2007. During that time, it was my pleasure to be associated with a museum that was a vibrant, educational, and engaging resource for visitors. Over 20,000 school children a year enjoyed a free program Ret(directly focused toward Arizona state standards), and the freedom to discover the importance of mining, Arizona’s mining history, and the beauty and utility of minerals. Those same discoveries were made by the additional 20,000 people, who visited from all over the world. The dedicated museum staff and volunteers spent thousands of hours creating learning experiences — refurbishing and running mine equipment, teaching student classes and teacher workshops, designing and installing exhibits, operating a lapidary workshop/classes, creating a Teacher Kit/Pac (with meaningfully-sized mineral and rock specimens, a book, and relevant standards-based classroom activities), hosting public events, and creating a gift shop that supported the mission of the museum. Additionally, staff and volunteers were always available for personally answering questions, for identifying visitors’ rocks, and for discussing opportunities to get out into Arizona’s wild to collect mineral treasures.
For very little cost, Arizona’s school children, residents, and tourist visitors got a wonderful educational resource!
Since taking over the museum, and still receiving the same financial support from the State, the Arizona Historical Society (AHS) has dismantled a museum and program, that was highly successful. They have dismissed their mandated duty to maintain the museum. And the current display at the AHS museum in Tempe, pays little more than lip service to a topic that is important to understanding Arizona’s historic and current standing as a leader in mining and mineral collecting. A group of people, formerly associated with the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, has established a grass-roots effort to re-establish an Earth Science Museum in Arizona, and as a 501(c)3 organization, they have actively provided classroom programs and teaching materials, to schools across Arizona.
I am confident that the Earth Science Museum would welcome the opportunity to work with the Arizona Geologic Survey (AGS), as logical host for the Arizona mineral collection and a museum. The AGS is already actively engaged in providing information and resources regarding geologic resources (including minerals and mining information).
Please return the State’s mineral collection to a museum that can once again provide an educational and visual destination for Arizona’s children, adults and visitors.
Note: Susan was the second last curator of the mineral museum (see 3/21/2016 post). By the time the mineral museum was closed, the 40,000 visitors (20,000 plus 20,000) she cites had grown to over 50,000.