Over 40,000 children visited the once top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Phoenix every year. Most were brought by teachers or scout leaders to participate in structured earth science education programs. School busses arrived almost daily, and came from as far away as Yuma.
Then, the Arizona Historical Society gained control of it in 2010. In early 2011, the AHS inexplicably locked the doors even as children were still scheduled for field trips. Every year since, the AHS has accepted and spent the full mineral museum budget, but has refused to operate the museum.
Now, Senate Bill 1440 would reopen the museum and restore the K-12 education programs by transferring all mineral museum assets to a state agency willing and able to operate the mineral museum. The AHS is now using public funds to hire lobbyists to oppose the bill. The AHS has no plans for the building, but does not want to allow others to reopen the mineral museum for students and teachers.
Dick Zimmermann, Tempe