This week, First Lady Laura Bush announced and presented the 2008 Preserve America Presidential Awards at a White House ceremony. The First Lady also serves as the Honorary Chair of Preserve America, which is an Administration initiative that encourages community efforts to preserve the Nation’s cultural and natural heritage. This is the highest national award for historic preservation achievement.
This week, Acting Smithsonian Secretary Cristian Samper announced the establishment of an internal Ethics Advisory Board to monitor compliance with a new Smithsonian Statement of Values and Code of Ethics that was adopted by the Board of Regents last January. Dr. James B. Gardner, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of American History was named to chair the board. Dr. Gardner is a long-time member of the Policy Board of the National Coalition for History, representing the National Council on Public History.
On May 7, 2008, the House Natural Resources Committee cleared legislation (H.R. 3094) to authorize the National Park Service’s Centennial Initiative proposed last year by the Bush administration. However, the revised bill only authorizes $30 million a year in mandatory spending for the next ten years, far below the $100 million per-year the Administration had initially requested for the program.
This week, the President signed into law a bill (S. 2739) creating a commission to study the potential establishment of a National Museum of the American Latino.
On May 7, 2008, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee cleared legislation (S. 2262) to authorize both the Preserve America and Save America’s Treasures programs, making them permanent tools for those engaged in historic preservation activities. S. 2262 would formally codify the two grant programs that started through Presidential Executive Orders.
The National Council on the Humanities will meet in Washington, DC on May 22-23, 2008. The meeting will be held in the Old Post Office Building, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC. A portion of the morning and afternoon sessions on May 22-23, 2008, will not be open to the public.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) will meet on Tuesday, May 13, 2008. The meeting will be held in Room M09 of the Old Post Office Building, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave, NW., Washington, DC at 8 a.m. The meetings of the ACHP are open to the public.
On Tuesday, May 6, 2008, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein submitted a report, entitled The Founders Online, to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. This report is the National Archives response to concerns raised by the Committees that the complete papers of America’s Founding Fathers are not available online. The Founders Online is a plan for providing online access, within a reasonable timeframe, to researchers, students and the general public.
In court documents filed this week, the Bush administration admitted that that it has no computer back-up tapes with data written before May 23, 2003, and that it cannot track the history of missing e-mails created between March and May 2003. This three-month gap includes the historically critical period beginning when the United States invaded Iraq on March 23, 2003 and the May 1, 2003, announcement by President Bush that major combat operations had ended in Iraq.
On April 30, 2008, the National Coalition for History (NCH) submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on the fiscal year 2009 budgets for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). NCH urged that the NHPRC be funded at the fully authorized level of $10 million, plus an additional $2 million for administrative costs. NCH also called for any funding needed to recover millions of lost White House e-mails to be taken out of the budget of the Executive Office of the President and not NARA. To read the entire statement click on the “Read the Full Article” button at the end of this paragraph.