Archive for July, 2010

World’s Smallest Museum

July 31, 2010

The World’s Smallest Museum showcases artifacts of ordinary life at an extraordinary roadside attraction. The museum is only 134 square feet and is subdivided into ten glass enclosed display booths, five on each side of the building. The west side of the World’s Smallest Museum roof is made out of 1800 aluminum beer cans. Its special attraction is the world’s largest Apache tear good luck stone. Found only in the Superior area, the Apache tear’s smoky brown hue is semi-transparent when polished. Legend says that the tears of Apache women who grieved for their warriors fell and froze in this obsidian stone. The Old West display includes photographs of the famous Apache medicine man, Geronimo, Mattie Blaylock (Wyatt Earp’s second wife), and the outlaw Ike Clanton. Here the visitor will find prehistoric Indian pottery shards, the story of the legendary Lost Dutchman gold mine and U.S. Cavalry artifacts.  The Grandma’s Day displays features a washer, a gasoline powered iron, a washboard, a coal fired iron, an 1850s frying pan, a 1906 Pluto water bottle, buckets, a flat iron, an 1800s wood stove and an iron kettle filled with ancient pieces of pottery.

            The Movies and Film exhibits contain an 8mm movie camera, an autographed picture of Porky and Buckwheat from Our Gang, a 1974 photo of Oprah Winfrey, still cameras, local news clippings of the 1975 filming of Gauntlet starring Clint Eastwood, a 1930s 16mm projector and a NBC film bag, used by the network in the 1970s. From Quill Pen to the Information Age exhibits a 1917 Corona typewriter, assorted 1950s fountain pens and cartridges, ink wells, a quill pen, the world’s largest pieces of natural chalk, a 1984 Compaq Computer with 10MB of storage power and a 1960s copier with a can of original duplicator fluid.

            The Magma Mining Company exhibit contains old hard hats, bornite specimens, Magma’s local history and old mining journals, calcium carbonate specimens, mining bits, hard rock drills, carbide lanterns, a 1920s miner’s lunch box, an underground telephone and fire extinguisher materials.   In Yesterday’s Kitchen, the visitor will find an early 1900s toaster, metal canisters, an Almond Joy candy box that could be bought with ten cents, a 1930s Sears pressure cooker with instruction book, an old Singer sewing machine, a 1950s popcorn popper, the largest fake Zippo lighter, a potato scale, an old milk bottle, soda bottles and a coffee maker.

            In the Politics, War and Local History exhibits the visitor will find campaign buttons for all the Democratic and Republican winners and losers in every presidential election since World War II along with Senators Barry Goldwater, Robert Kennedy and John McCain campaign memorabilia, The tourist will also find a photograph taken off the original Joe Rosenthal negative of the Marine flag raising at Iwo Jima and barbed wire from the World War II Japanese internment camp near Chandler, Arizona, and photographs of Arizona’s sixth governor, Governor Bob Jones who was also a pharmacist from Superior.

            The Local Mining and Surveying exhibits features the Silver King and Ray Mines with old surveying equipment. The Silver King pulled out more than forty tons of almost pure silver from 1885-1895.  The Music & Stuff booth contains a 1960’s Beatles poster, old 45s and original songbooks. The framed horn entitled Mother’s Revenge was done by local artist Matt Moreno.  Don’t miss the outdoor Memory Lane / Waterfall Avenue exhibit. The artist used artifacts of ordinary working equipment and recycled them into fountains and waterfalls. All this and a special parking space for the Three Stooges.

World’s Smallest Museum 1111 West US Hwy 60 Superior AZ 85173 Tel: 520- 208-0634 Web Site:

The Tactile Museum

July 15, 2010

They took away what should have been my eyes, (But I remembered Milton’s Paradise). They took away what should have been my ears, (Beethoven came and wiped away my tears). They took away what should have been my tongue, (But I had talked with God when I was young). He would not let them take away my soul — Possessing that, I still possess the whole. Helen Keller

            Helen Adams Keller (1880 – 1968) was a deaf-blind American author, political activist and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through her isolation which had been imposed by a lack of language contact, allowing Keller to blossom as she learned to communicate. A prolific author, Keller was outspoken in her opposition to war. As a member of the Socialist Party, she campaigned for women’s suffrage and workers’ rights.

            Through the vision of Arizona State University Professor Emeritus Dr. Roger W.Axford, a copious writer and advocate of education for everyone, the Tactile Museum for the Blind and Visually Impaired was founded in 1994. Since that time, more than 120 valuable art pieces have been donated to the museum by such notable artists as John Henry Waddell, Glenna Goodacre, Craig Lynch, and Michael Naranjo. Waddell is known for his life size action figurative sculptures. Goodacre, most famous for her tribute to the nurses in Vietnam, is considered to be America’s sculptor. Craig Lynch lives in Phoenix where he sells real estate and sculpts.

Michael Naranjo, a New Mexico native who was blinded as a soldier in Vietnam, found  inspiration in nature and what art he remembers seeing in galleries while growing up in his hometown of Taos, New Mexico. The Academy Gallery in Florence, Italy, and the Louvre in Paris have allowed him to examine their treasures-—in Paris, the Medici Venus, and in Florence, Michelangelo’s David. The authorities granted this rare privilege of allowing him to observe the masterpieces by touching them. By touch, Naranjo was able to observe minute details of the statues, such as the fact that in the eyes of Michelangelo’s statue, the pupils are shaped like hearts. But while he observes the eyes in other sculptors’ work, his own statues never have eyes, something it takes a while to realize as one appreciates the many other aspects of his work.

            The Tactile Museum was officially turned over to The Foundation for Blind Children as a gift from its original founders in1998. The Foundation for Blind Children provides education, tools and services that enable all persons with vision loss to achieve greater independence.

Governor Rose Mofford, businessman Eddie Basha, and Tempe Mayor Neil Guiliano were among the original founding members. Dr. Axford’s vision for this museum was threefold. He wanted to provide a forum for the presentation of art for blind and visually impaired people. He wanted to encourage artists to create art experienced by senses other than, but not excluding, sight. Finally, Axford wanted art to be used as an education tool for the sighted to gain insights into the blind experience. The mission of the Foundation for Blind Children is to help blind and visually impaired children, adults, and their families lead lives of independence and dignity through mastery of their environment. This is accomplished through education, training, counseling, communication, and technology.

Tactile Museum for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Foundation for Blind Children, 1235 E. Harmont Drive, Phoenix, AZ. 85020 Tel 602-331-1470 Web Site

Arizona’s Liberty Bell

July 2, 2010

Just one of Arizona museums many memory trips in its celebration of its centennial as a state is its Liberty Bell. The 2,080-pound bell was one of fifty-three replica liberty bells cast by a French foundry in 1950. During that year, U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder presented them to each of the forty-eight contiguous states and five territories to promote a U.S. savings-bonds drive. As part of that program, the Arizona bell was paraded throughout the state from May 15 through July 4, 1950. Representatives from the Treasury Department’s Savings Bonds Division conferred with officials of the various States, Territories, and the District of Columbia to make arrangements for turning over the bells. The arrangements included plans for the organization of proper ceremonies to mark the occasion. The replica Liberty Bells are identical in size, weight, manufacturing process, legends and markings, and tonal quality, with the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Each bell with its mounting stands about six feet high is twelve feet in circumference around the lip, and seven and one-half feet around the crown. 

            Local Savings Bonds volunteer organizations in the various states arranged for receptions and tours for the bells. The donors of money and material for the Liberty Bells included the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, Kennecott Copper Corporation, Phelps-Dodge Corporation, American Smelting & Refining Company, the American Metal Company, Ltd. and the Miami Copper Company. The Ford Motor Company supplied forty-nine red, white and blue trucks which took the bells on the tour of the states. The United States Steel Corporation’s American Bridge Company provided the standards, stays and hardware for mounting the bells on the trucks. Individual truck operators within the States paid the salaries of the drivers. Standard Oil Company of New Jersey contributed the oil and gasoline required by the trucks.

            Fifty-three bells were cast for the Bond Drive, however, it appears that three more were cast, according to the remarks that Secretary of the Treasury Snyder made at a luncheon in Independence on November 6, 1950 when the Bell was presented to Independence, Missouri. Snyder states that, in addition to the fifty-three bells made as part of the original project, he arranged to have the bell made that General Douglas MacArthur presented to Japan (#54), he presented another bell to the town of Annecy, France (#55) where the bells were cast, and he presented a bell from the people of Annecy to Independence, Missouri (#56). The bells were cast at the Sons of Georges Paccard Foundry in Annecy-le-Vieux, France, in 1950.  The bell that was given to Independence, Missouri by the people of Annecy was dedicated on November 6, 1950, and President Harry S Truman was present for the dedication. After the Truman Library was built (1957) the Bell was moved to the Truman Library grounds and rededicated in 1959. The inscription accompanying the Liberty Bell on the grounds of the Truman Library reads


           Arizona Capitol Museum, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007, Tel: (602) 926-3620, Fax (602) 256-7985, Web Site: