Arizona Centennial Museum

More from this show

The latest on plans to transform the state’s Mining and Mineral Museum into a Centennial Museum from Anne Woosley, executive director of the Arizona Historical Society.

Ted Simons: Next February, Arizona celebrates its 100th birthday. And each month, as the centennial approaches, "Horizon" takes a look at what's being done to mark the occasion, along with key moments in our state's history. Tonight, we focus on plans for a new centennial museum. Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill last May that set some ground rules for the museum. It's supposed to include information about the five Cs -- citrus, cotton, cattle, climate and copper -- that were critical to Arizona's growth and development. And it will be operated by the Arizona historical society in the building that now houses the Arizona mining and mineral museum. Here now to tell us more about the centennial museum is Dr. Anne Woosley, executive director of the Arizona historical society. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

Anne Woosley: Thank you for having me.
Ted Simons: What is the centennial museum designed to do?

Anne Woosley: Well you're correct, the genesis of the Arizona centennial museum is Arizona's 100th year of statehood and the beginnings, when we first started talking about it, we were looking at modern Arizona, what created the Arizona that we have today? What are the foundations of our contemporary modern statehood? And those were the five Cs. Those are the five Cs. But then as we talked about more, we realized that, you know, looking at the past is not really what the main goals of the centennial museum are to be. History and looking at the past, although it's very interesting and there are wonderful, wonderful stories, history -- history is really about is learning and imagining the future. And so from that original five C concept, we began thinking much more broadly looking at Arizona today, how it's been shaped, and what we hope for Arizona to evolve into the future. And so, now, the five Cs have expanded into an Arizona that -- that we hope to create, as citizens of the state, whether it's biotech, whether it's emerging technologies. Whether it's -- whether it is other kinds of industries that we're not even think about at the moment.

Ted Simons: Thus the name change the Arizona experience?

Anne Woosley: Exactly right.

Ted Simons: Ok. There are other museums out there, the Arizona capital museum. Historical society has some museums as well. Why is this museum necessary, A, and B, will this museum take business away from some of those others?

Anne Woosley: Well, we hope it will add to the family of museums that we already have. And you mentioned the capital museum and Phoenix, Maricopa County and for that matter, the entire state, has wonderful museums all around the state. What this museum is different, if you like, because that's really what you're asking me, why do we need another museum, this museum is about Arizona. This museum focuses on not just Arizona in the past, but it focuses on who we are, what we do, what we can contribute. And by that, I'm talking about our citizens, our children, and what we can bring to Arizona in terms of visitor interest. So this museum is -- this museum looks at the cultural landscape of Arizona. This museum looks at the landscape of Arizona. How Arizonans play, how they work, and so it is very intimate and it's focused on Arizona. It's not focused on a tiny sliver of the past. It's not focused on a more generic kind of message. This is focused on Arizona.

Ted Simons: I have to ask you because the mining and mineral museum is going to be used for this particular museum.

Anne Woosley: Correct.

Ted Simons: Why is that going away for this? Why, why -- do we know why the mining museum was sacrificed for this?

Anne Woosley: Well, I don't know if sacrificed is a word that I really want to use. The mining museum will change. And it will change into the Arizona Experience. And it would be irresponsible of me to say there wasn't going to be fundamental change. But the mining story in Arizona is a powerful one, and we hope to showcase that story in a way that is exciting and fresh and new. If you think about the history of Arizona, what brought people to Arizona to begin with? Well, at a time when it wasn't called Arizona what brought people was the promise of wealth. The promise of mineral resources, gold and silver and you know, we all know that story. Later on, it brought pioneers to Arizona, again, for -- for its mineral wealth, prospectors, and so we have wonderful old maps and stories and photographs and we have all of that history. But mining today is one that if you want to talk about emerging technologies, the mining story today, what mining has to do in order to be sustainable, in order not to destroy the environment that we have, to be more responsible, that story is one that will be in this museum.

Ted Simons: Ok, let's get a timeline now, we got a minute or so left here. A timeline, the mining museum will close at the end of May, end of the school year, somewhere around there?

Anne Woosley: Generally in keeping with the end of the school year.

Ted Simons: OK. When does the construction start on the centennial museum?

Anne Woosley: Construction on the centennial museum is scheduled at the moment, October the 1st.

Ted Simons: With completion --

Anne Woosley: November 2012.

Ted Simons: If the birthday is February 2012, how come that was delayed a little bit?

Anne Woosley: We looked at the entire year of 2012 as a centennial year and so there will be celebrations at the beginning of the year and celebrations at the end of the year and we hope that the Arizona experience will be the kind of sparkle to the end of that year.

Ted Simons: [Laughter] I see, the icing, the dessert at the end of the great meal.

Anne Woosley: That's exactly right.

Ted Simons: Thank you so much for joining us. Good luck with the museum. Good to have you here.

Anne Woosley: Thank you very much. You'll have to invite me when we get further along.

Ted Simons: Alright that sounds good.

Anne Woosley:executive director, Arizona Historical Society;

An armed forces bugler playing the trumpet in front of the United States Capitol building.
airs May 26

National Memorial Day Concert 2024

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Graphic for the AZPBS kids LEARN! Writing Contest with a child sitting in a chair writing on a table and text reading: The Ultimate Field Trip
May 26

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

Rachel Khong
May 29

Join us for PBS Books Readers Club!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: