House Passes Woodrow Wilson Library Bill

On September 24, by voice vote, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1664, a bill that would authorize the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to make pass-through grants towards the establishment of a Woodrow Wilson presidential library in Staunton, Virginia. A private foundation currently owns and manages Wilson’s birthplace, a museum and library in Staunton.

Smithsonian TV Channel Make Its Debut

The long-delayed Smithsonian television channel finally made its debut this week on satellite provider DirecTV. The launch ends a lengthy saga of fits and starts and controversy since the Smithsonian Institution first announced its exclusive deal with the Showtime Networks, Inc. to develop a television network nearly two years ago. Originally conceived as an on-demand digital channel, the network debuted on September 26 as a traditional channel with regular programming scheduled 24-hours a day.

Hearing Considers Public Access to the Statue of Liberty

On September 18, the House Resources Committee’s National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee held a hearing on whether visitors to the Statue of Liberty should have access to the observation deck on the crown of the Statue. The Statue’s crown has been closed to the public since the terrorist attacks on New York City of September 11, 2001.

NEH and IMLS Award Initial Digital Partnership Grants

This week, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced the first three grant recipients under the Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership program. The initiative brings humanities scholars together with museum, library, archives, and IT professionals to develop digital projects. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Tufts University, Medford; and The University of California, Berkeley, will receive a combined total of $1,047,455 under the initial grants.

Smithsonian Names Director of American Indian Museum

On September 11, 2007, Kevin Gover was named director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, effective Dec. 2. He is currently a professor of law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe, an affiliate professor in its American Indian Studies Program and co-executive director of the university’s American Indian Policy Institute.

During the Clinton administration, Gover served as assistant secretary for Indian affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior where he oversaw the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Gover grew up in Oklahoma and is a member of the Pawnee tribe.

National Archives Proposes Changes in FOIA Regulations

In the September 11, 2007, Federal Register, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced proposed revisions to its regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The proposal updates the regulations for access and release of information under the FOIA among NARA’s archival holdings and NARA’s own operational records. Comments on the proposal are due by November 13, 2007.