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University of Arizona Museum saved - For Now
  
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Jul 31, 2009 06:06    Post subject: University of Arizona Museum saved - For Now  

In the last issue of the Mineralogical Record magazine (July-August 2009 / Volume 40 - Number 4) is a column in the "Notes from Editors" section, named "University of Arizona Museum saved - For Now" (pages 268-269)
There, is well explained the disastrous economical situation of the Museum, saved at the last minute to its public exhibit for next year by Freeport Mining Company. As the public display of the Museum will be saved just for one more year (2010) the situation still needs to be solved for the future.

Recently we discussed here a little bit about the sale of the majority of the Romero collection that was housed in the University of Arizona Museum ( https://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?t=422 )
Well, now is not just that a part of the highlights of the Museum will be not be visible, but the whole Museum, including the remaining Romero collection, the Hubert de Monmonier, Boodler Lane, Susie Davis, Richard Bideaux, Wendell Wilson... donations, will no longer be on public exhibit if the situation remains as it is.

I would like to contribute from our modest corner in letting the public know about this dramatic circumstances, and, hopefully, help in our possibilities for the Arizona University Museum to stay.

Jordi

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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Jul 31, 2009 09:08    Post subject: Re: University of Arizona Museum saved - For Now  

Thank you for starting this thread.

The University of Arizona mineral collection is one of the top two or three university collections in the United States. Just 12 months ago, the Science Center Advisory Board, of which I, along with Gene Meireran and John Lucking were working on the design and construction schedule for a new museum complex to be located about a half mile west of where the Tucson Show is held. Now, with the economy issues and the State of Arizona and City of Tucson eliminating the funding for this new facility, the University has determined the mineral museum is not part of their core mission.

Besides the museum being important to collectors, it plays host to 15,000 to 20,000 children who visit the museum every year. This is where the interest will be sparked for the next generation of geologists, mining engineers and collectors.

Freeport-McMoran had already stepped up with a large donation for the construction of the new Science Center. The funding that was approved to keep the museum open came out of that donation as sort of a bridge loan. Dr. Bob Downs, the collection curator, along with the advisory board, are working on several avenues to build an endownment fund to support the museum and collection, along with looking for new sites for the Science Center.

The University of Arizona Mineral Museum has a long and proud history of preserving Arizona's mineral heritage. Under Dr. Terry Wallace the collection received numerous donations and expanded significantly. With Dr. Bob Downs at the helm, I expect the tradition to continue and donations are continuing.

For several years, the Science Center and Mineral Museum hosted an annual Friday night get- together the week before the Tucson Show. It became THE place to be and the event was very popular. There was not an admission fee or silent or live auctions so people could come, enjoy the guest speaker, the great minerals on display and socialize. Looking back, maybe we should have been more aware that this was an opportunity to do like other museums have done, and used it as a fund-raiser.

The museum is not going away and the collection will be as dynamic as ever. This is going to require the help of all of us who have enjoyed this museum and other public museums over the years. The times they are a-changing and the University of Arizona Mineral Museum will change with them. Stay tuned as we work on ways to build an endowment for the benefit of this museum.
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BlueCapProductions




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PostPosted: Jul 31, 2009 13:27    Post subject: Re: University of Arizona Museum saved - For Now  

I couldn't agree more with Les on how important and captivating the exhibits are at the U of A Mineral Museum.

BlueCap Productions was VERY fortunate in that we just finished filming the first of a new film series at the museum. The series, Inside The Mineral Museum, goes on a behind-the-scenes look at the fantastic exhibits on display at the museum. Both Bob Downs and Sven Bailey were kind enough to take us through the museum, open up some of the cases and let us film and talk to them about this major collection - they even took us into the vault to show us some pieces that aren't on display.

The host of this episode was none other than Wendell Wilson and I'm going to fast-track the post-production of this episode so that it will be available to the public in time for the 2010 Tucson show.

I strongly encourage everyone to visit this museum when you're in town next year and I'll work on some ideas to possibly make the DVD available at a substantially reduced price for everyone who visits.

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Eric Fritzsch




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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2009 06:11    Post subject: Re: University of Arizona Museum saved - For Now  

I was in Tucson about 3 weeks ago and was very sorry to find the museum closed. It appears the museum is only open on the weekend and limited hours. The reason given was the current economic client and the state/ college lack of foresight. I was there for a tennis tournament and had one day to play tourist. The one place that I choose to go was the museum.

The University of Wyoming also recently closed it's doors this summer due to the economic situation. I'm sure there are many more in the same situation. Natural History museums have been operating on shoe-string budgets before the economic downturn and now are being closed to save a few bucks. In the multimillion dollar deficits of the states, shutting down museums with such small operating budgets is ludicrous. The museums will not open as strong or recover as quickly.
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