To coincide with Sunshine Week (March 15–19, 2010), the National Security Archive at George Washington University released an audit of federal government agencies’ administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The audit was the first performed by the National Security Archive since President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder issued directives in 2009 to federal agencies mandating reform of the FOIA compliance process.
On March 15, the White House released “A Blueprint for Reform,” which details the Administration’s plans for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). However, the plan provides little detail about the Administration’s plan to revamp federal funding for history education, specifically the future of Teaching American History grants.
On March 17, the National Coalition for History joined OpenTheGovernment.org and 29 other organizations on a letter in support of S. 3111, the “Faster FOIA Act.” The bill, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) would establish an advisory commission charged with presenting recommendations to Congress and the President to reduce delays in the administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
On March 19, the National Coalition for History submitted testimony on the President’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 budgets for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to the House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
On March 8-9, the National Humanities Alliance held its 30th Annual Meeting and 11th Humanities Advocacy Day. More than 200 individuals took part in activities during the two-day period in Washington, DC. Activities included panel presentations, luncheon and keynote address, policy briefing, Capitol Hill reception, and Congressional visits. The National Coalition for History is a co-sponsor of Humanities Advocacy Day.
The House of Representatives recently unanimously passed H.R. 1387, the “Electronic Message Preservation Act,” requiring the Archivist of the United States to promulgate regulations governing presidential and agency preservation of email (H. Rept 111-406) .
Jonathan Spence, one of the world’s leading experts on Chinese history and culture, will deliver the 2010 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. The annual lecture, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.
On March 25, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission announced it had unanimously selected a design concept created by famed architect Frank O. Gehry. The selected design will be located on a four-acre site at the base of Capitol Hill. The site lies between 4th and 6th Streets, SW, south of Independence Avenue between the Department of Education, and the National Air and Space Museum.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently announced that within the next two years the agency will move its New York City office to the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green. After extensive renovation, the new space is expected to be ready in the fall of 2011. NARA has announced it will hold two public hearings on May 4th to discuss these and additional details about the move.
On March 29, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $16 million in grant awards and offers for 286 humanities projects. New funding supports a wide variety of projects nationwide, including traveling exhibitions, research fellowships, production and development of films, documentation of endangered languages, the development and staging of major exhibitions, digital tools, and the preservation of and access to historic collections.