Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
March 5, 2010
One of our favorite museums in Phoenix, Arizona, is the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, particularly its “Rock Food” display — stones and crystals arranged to look like tasty meals, good enough to eat… if your teeth were made of diamonds.
And now it might be in trouble.
On February 12, Arizona’s governor announced her plans for the state’s centennial celebration in 2012. Stressing fiscal responsibility, she declared that an Arizona Centennial Museum would be built without a penny of taxpayer money — on the current site of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum!
Dr. Madan Singh, the museum’s director, assured us that the governor’s plan was just a plan. “We are open and operating,” he said. “The future is still the future.” That sentiment was echoed, kind of, by Karen Churchard, director of the state’s Centennial Commission. “We hope it happens,” she told us — meaning the Centennial Museum — “but I can’t promise anyone that it’s actually going to happen.”
If it did happen, would it necessarily mean the end of the Mining Museum and Rock Food? Karen said that the plans would be to “fully intend to incorporate” the Mining Museum’s exhibits into the new museum. The Commission is bringing in a Washington, DC, designer, and Karen said that he’s told her that, “I can really do something stunning with what you have in much less space.”
We’re willing to accept that Rock Food could be made more interactive (Perhaps a claw crane could be added so that visitors could assemble their own mineral meals). But part of the governor’s plan is to have the Centennial Museum’s mineral section funded by the state’s copper industry, and Rock Food may not be anywhere on its exhibits-to-be-incorporated list.
“It’s easy to get up and say, ‘That’s a bad idea!’” said Dr. Singh. “But being upset doesn’t solve the problem.” The problem is that the Mining and Mineral Museum isn’t bringing in a lot of cash, and the governor believes that a Centennial Museum would be more profitable. “The people who are complaining, if they could come up with money, I would be the first person to go wherever is necessary and say, ‘I’ve got money!’” said Dr. Singh. “I’m sure the governor would be willing be listen to that.”
Rock Food - Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum
- I-10 exit 144A. South on 7th Ave. for almost a mile, then turn right onto Washington St. for a half-mile. The museum is on the northwest corner of Washington St. and 15th Ave.
- Closed May 2011
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