A New Incarnation of Former Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum
On 6 August 2016, the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) received custodianship of the Polly Rosenbaum Building on the State Government Mall, Phoenix. The Rosenbaum building was the former home of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum.
The building transfer is a component of S.B. 1530, which also transferred AZGS to the College of Sciences at the University of Arizona. This bills 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, AZGS receives: a mineral curator; approximately 21,000 minerals that comprised the collection of the Mining and Minerals Museum; future revenues of the Centennial Special Plate Fund. The Arizona Historical Society will continue to curate the mineral collection, until such time as the museum renovation is complete.
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. In the coming months, the AZGS team will work to fulfill additional requirements of the statute.
According to the Arizona Dept. of Administration, the building requires ~ $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, the AZGS team intends to leverage UA resources and personnel with years of experience in fund raising, museum management and displays, and logistics. Moving forward one of the chief objectives is to sample widely of existing museums and current thought on the role of museums as part of the social landscape in urban settings.
We’ll be calling on you for your ideas and support, or you can contact us.
We thank Senator Gail Griffin and her staff for their tireless work in doing the political groundwork to transform the MMNRE Museum concept into reality. We thank, too, the volunteers of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum who kept the fires of hope burning through some dark, dark days.
Last, especial thanks to Lee Allison, friend, colleague, and former Arizona State Geologist and Director of the Arizona Geological Survey, from 2006 until his death on Tuesday, 16 Aug. 2016. Lee left a hole in the Survey that you could drive a Mack truck through. But we carry on and we rededicate ourselves to making his dream of reopening a world-class mineral and natural resources museum on the Capitol Mall in Phoenix a reality.