The Arizona Mining, Mineral & Natural Resource Education Museum

The following text consists of selected excerpts from a recent email message distributed by the AZGS:

On 6 August 2016, the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) received custodianship of the former Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum.  The transfer was mandated by Senate Bill 1530, which also transferred AZGS to the College of Sciences at the University of Arizona. This bill charges AZGS with designing, opening and operating the facility as the Arizona Mining, Mineral & Natural Resource Education Museum (MM&NRE Museum).  The focus of the new museum is on the historical, cultural, economic and social contributions made by the mining, mineral, natural resources, timber, livestock and agricultural industries of Arizona.

Along with the facility at 1502 West Washington Street in Phoenix, AZGS receives funding for one full time employee, a mineral curator, and a mineral collection of approximately 21,000 specimens with an estimated value of $3 million.

By statute, the Arizona State Geologist and Director of AZGS is the chief administrator of the new MM&NRE Museum. The State Geologist’s responsibilities include operating and maintaining a museum for collecting, cataloging, and displaying mining, mineral and natural resources artifacts and specimens. Other tasks by statute include establishing a funding stream of grants and financial gifts, procuring financial assistance from federal, state and local governments, establishing and collecting entrance fees, operating a retail gift shop, developing and managing volunteer services, and paying maintenance and operation expenses.

According to the Arizona Dept. of Administration, the building requires an estimated $700,000 to $900,000 in structural and cosmetic repairs before it can be occupied. In addition to producing monies for these repairs, the search for adequate and sustainable funds to create innovative and engaging exhibits depicting the fascinating development of Arizona’s natural resources is anticipated to be the museum’s biggest challenge.

As a research institute in the College of Sciences at the University of Arizona, AZGS has access to resources and personnel with years of experience in fundraising, museum management and displays, and logistics. AZGS intends to leverage these resources to speed the process of opening the MMNRE Museum along.

AZGS staffers, Mike Conway, Rowena Irene Davis, and Catie Carter, are now on task and moving forward.  AZGS will set up a dedicated MMNREM e-mail (MMNRE-Info@email.arizona.edu), but until it is operational, Mike Conway’s address will be used:  fmconway@e-mail.arizona.edu. Museum supporters desiring detailed updates on AZGS progress in establishing MMNREM should ask Mike to add them to the email mail list.

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