Copper museum part of the Clarkdale resurgence


A room in the Arizona Copper Museum, located on Ninth and Main Streets in Clarkdale, shows the many ways copper has been shaped into pots, pans, cauldrons, baking tins, and any other cooking appliance or helper to which you can think of, throughout the history of mankind. VVN / Jason W. Brooks

Bathtubs, fire hoses and brandy cooking equipment are just some of the things Clarkdale could use to become an even bigger player in the Verde Valley economy.

With the old classrooms built as part of the old Clarkdale School, now filled with hundreds of types of copper creation, the Arizona Copper Museum has become part of what local leaders hope is a resurgence of the city.

Having recently purchased the old grocery store across Ninth Street, the expansion of the museum means that director Drake Meinke and others will help make the museum a major part of a converted Clarkdale town center and modernized.

“I spoke to a park ranger who said ‘There’s nothing open there,’” Meinke said of downtown Clarkdale.

Meinke, who opened the museum in 2012 as part of Arizona and Clarkdale’s mutual centennial celebrations, said he hoped the museum could continue to help anchor the city’s tourist appeal. Along with wineries, restaurants and places like the Smelter Town Brewery, which opened last year, the Copper Museum shows visitors what brought Western Europeans and their descendants to the Valley of Verde over 100 years ago.

Meinke points out that while the indigenous peoples used the copper ore for decorative purposes, it was the white settlers who began to mine it and ship it around the world, to use everything from kitchen utensils to wire wiring. passing through the fine arts.

While the 20th century objects in the museum’s collection don’t necessarily come from a lot of finished copper with roots in Clarkdale, it’s a celebration of metal and how its presence has helped build a modern community.

Some of the copper objects in the collection could predate Clarkdale’s mining history by several hundred years. However, it is important to see how the minerals from the Verde Valley ended up on other continents in the 20th century.

“Copper is the oldest and one of the most important metals in the world,” Meinke said. So we focus on it as a work of art.

Some of the copper mined in the Clarkdale-Jerome area has been used for military purposes. World War I 40mm copper artillery shell casings can be made into vases or other artistic bogus-style pieces that are both practical and photogenic.

One room in the museum is almost entirely devoted to the “art of the trenches” of artillery shells, in their artistic recreations.

There is a lot of art in the museum, ranging from religious works to pieces made by children, perhaps as a mission. There is also a ‘kitchen room’, showing the many ways copper has been shaped into pots, pans, pots, baking tins, and any other appliance or baking aid you can think of.

Copper was used to store water and to mix alcohol and in fire hose nozzles. Bathtubs, molds for making chocolate, and even building doors include metal.

There are even screens that show how copper, a natural metal, creates the color blue as an acidic reaction in so many compound materials.

As wine and beer have become major attractions in the Verde valley in recent years, a room presents a brandy cauldron and other objects used in the production, distribution or consumption of alcoholic products.

What about the old grocery store across Ninth Street?

“We hope, in a few rounds of grants, to get the money to renovate this place,” Meinke said. “It’s important to have a vibrant looking building around this corner, because when people walk up the hill to the stop sign and enter downtown, that corner is the first place their people go. eyes. “


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