Yesterday, I toured the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum before its “conversion” into Arizona’s “Centennial Museum”. Outside are a few historical artifacts from Arizona’s mining past, and inside is an impressive collection of minerals.
The impressive mineral collection focuses on rare and aesthetically pleasing samples. I took a few photos from outside the glass cases. While the mineral collection has worldwide representation, Arizona’s copper-bearing minerals receive prominent attention.
Many mineral samples bewilder visitors due to their nearly manufactured appearance. Such beautiful and seemingly impossible arrangements deviate from what one expects from the inorganic earth.
Samples represent many vibrant colors, disproving the myth that all rocks and minerals are gray or brown.
Another display highlights the eerie fluorescence of some minerals when exposed to ultraviolet light.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the Arizona governor and Legislature signed a law that places the mineral museum under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Historical Society, who will convert the museum into Arizona’s “Centennial Museum”. What a shame. As I understand it, the Mining and Mineral Museum foundation has many mineral samples stored out of view due to lack of space. If anything, the Mineral Museum should be expanded and include exhibits on Arizona’s unique natural history and beauty. Interactive exhibits that explain the formation of the Grand Canyon, the unique Monsoon weather pattern, the principles of precious desert water, and the origin of Arizona’s mountains and volcanoes could educate and fascinate school children and tourists.
On my way out, I picked up the newsletter of the Arizona Mineral and Mining Museum Foundation. Due to the upcoming change, the fate of the mineral collection and other exhibits is undetermined. But, there is discussion of obtaining a new building and opening a new museum with many of these mineral displays, and including additional Earth Science exhibits. I certainly hope for this future; Arizona’s natural beauty deserves it.