The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report questioning the completion date, final cost and capabilities of the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) Electronic Records Archive (ERA). Since 2001, NARA has been working to develop an IT system to preserve and provide access to massive volumes and all types of electronic records. NARA has repeatedly revised the program schedule and increased the estimated costs for completion of the project.
Representative Jane Harman (D-Calif.) was recently named President, CEO, and Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars by the Center’s Board of Trustees. Harman will assume her new duties on February 28, 2011. She succeeds former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton who stepped down in November 2010 after leading the institution for nearly 12 years.
The application period for several history-related summer grant opportunities from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is closing on March 1. Click here for a list of available programs. Applicants should refer directly to the NEH website to verify all detail, including deadlines and available grants.
The Library of Congress recently announced that philanthropist David M. Rubenstein had given it stewardship of the first map printed in North America, depicting the boundaries of the new American nation. The map, which was printed in early 1784, is considered the best preserved of those few copies in existence. The map will be displayed at the Library of Congress in the early spring and will be available for public viewing for five years.
All repositories of historical records and artifacts are faced with the challenge to keep those holdings secure. On March 3, at 7 PM, the National Archives presents a panel discussion on Protecting Our National Treasures: The Impact and Prevention of Archival Theft. An expert panel will discuss the balance between providing access to researchers and visitors while maintaining security.
Information about historical documents from across the country regarding the outbreak of the Civil War—with links to the home historical societies and repositories of the materials—has been placed online by the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) at the Library of Congress. The presentation, “NUCMC and the Documentary Heritage of the American Civil War,” can be viewed at www.loc.gov/coll/nucmc/civilwar/.
Assistant Archivist for Records Services, Washington DC, Dr. Michael Kurtz, announced his intention to retire from the National Archives and Records Administration March 3, 2011, after 37 years of service to become a visiting professor at the University of Maryland.
In an unexpected development, Walmart announced on January 26 that it was abandoning plans to pursue a special use permit previously awarded to the retail giant for construction of a supercenter on the Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia. The decision came as the trial in a legal challenge seeking to overturn the special use permit was scheduled to begin in Orange County circuit court.
On February 2, the Department of Education announced that it was inviting applications for new awards under the Teaching American History (TAH) Grant Program for fiscal year (FY) 2011. However, the notice in the Federal Register makes clear that the Administration’s FY 2011 budget request did not include funding for the TAH program. It states, “We are inviting applications for the TAH program to allow enough time to complete the grant process before the end of the current fiscal year, if Congress appropriates funds for this program.”
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero recently announced that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher from Woodbridge, VA, confessed on January 12, 2011, to altering an Abraham Lincoln Presidential pardon that is part of the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives. The pardon was for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion.