Our History

Longtime museum volunteer Doug D. with the Red Rover Mine mucker.

The Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum

The Mining and Mineral Museum has a fascinating history dating back to the first Arizona Territorial Fair in 1884. The minerals were housed in an exhibit hall at the Arizona State Fairgrounds starting in 1919. In 1991, they were moved to the El Zaribah Shrine Building (renamed the Polly Rosenbaum Building) at 1502 W. Washington Street, on the Capitol Mall. From 1991-2011, the AMMM hosted tens of thousands of visitors and schoolchildren each year.

For the complete history of the collection, click here.

In 2011, the AMMM was closed to make way for the Centennial Museum, which did not materialize due to budget restraints. The mineral collection is currently housed in securely in storage, with select specimens on loan to institutions around the state.


Arizona Senator Gail Griffin
Rep. Gail Griffin, Advisory Committee member and museum stakeholder, with the P&H 2800 Shovel Bucket from ASARCO's Ray Mine.

Legislation paves the way for change

The AMMNRE Museum was established in 2016, starting with Arizona Senate Bill (SB) 1530, which transferred custodianship of the Polly Rosenbaum Building to the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS), at the University of Arizona, and charged AZGS with designing, opening and operating a new natural resource museum. In 2017, SB 1415 ensured the permanent transfer of the museum to the University of Arizona, with responsibility moved to the UA Office of Research, Discovery & Innovation

Many thanks to Representative Gail Griffin (R, District 14), who championed for the museum in the Arizona legislature.


UA VP for Research Brooks Jeffery, head of the museum project, meeting with volunteers in February 2019.

Where we are today

Today, the AMMNRE Museum is in development under the UA Office of Research, Discovery & Innovation. We are working on facilities improvements and have begun the search for a museum director. Our volunteers are assisting with building cleanup and organization, maintenance of the outdoor equipment, and moving the mineral collection and retail inventory (in the works - summer 2019).

Volunteer opportunities are announced on an as-needed basis, with several opportunities each month. Click here to learn more.