Blogs > Cliopatria > NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 13, #11; April 6, 2007)

Apr 6, 2007 9:31 pm


NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 13, #11; April 6, 2007)



NOTE: The NCH Washington Update will be not published next week due to out-of-town travel by the editor. The next edition will be issued the week of April 16.

1. KEY HISTORY POSITIONS AT NATIONAL PARK SERVICE REMAIN UNFILLED
2. NHA 2007 CONFERENCE & HUMANITIES ADVOCACY DAY A SUCCESS
3. HUMANITIES ADVOCATES GATHER AT CAPITOL HILL RECEPTION & EXHIBITS
4. NEH AWARDS FIRST DIGITAL HUMANITIES START-UP GRANTS
5. NAZI AND JAPANESE WAR CRIMES DECLASSIFICATION PROJECT CONCLUDES
6. NEH TO HOST SUMMIT OF DIGITAL HUMANITIES CENTERS
7. “WOMEN IN CONGRESS 1917--2006" PUBLISHED
8. BITS & BYTES–Library of Congress Acquires Caspar Weinberger Papers
9. ARTICLES OF INTEREST: See four articles below.

1. KEY HISTORY POSITIONS AT NATIONAL PARK SERVICE REMAIN UNFILLED

During a session at the Organization of American Historians (OAH) annual meeting last week, it was revealed that both the Chief Historian and Bureau Historian positions at the National Park Service (NPS) remain vacant, with no clear date set for when they will be filled. Dr. Martin Perschler, Acting Manager of the Park History Program at the NPS, provided this update to the OAH Committee on National Park Service Issues. The application period for the Chief Historian position had closed on February 3, however it was reopened with a new closing date of April 3. No reason was given for re-posting the position. Those who applied in the first round remain eligible for consideration. Approximately 45 people applied for the position.

The failure to fill the Chief Historian slot in a timely manner has also impacted the vacant Bureau Historian position. Since the Bureau Historian works closely with the Chief Historian, it is felt by NPS officials that the new Chief Historian should have the prerogative of filling this key position.

2. NHA 2007 CONFERENCE & HUMANITIES ADVOCACY DAY A SUCCESS (Report from Erin Smith of NHA)

The National Humanities Alliance’s (NHA) 2007 Conference was held March 26-27 in Washington, DC. The event began in the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center with a policy forum and roundtable discussion featuring federal agency representatives. Topics included: capacity building and infrastructure support, fellowships and resources for scholars, public programs, collaborative research, preservation, education, international education and cultural exchange, and the humanities and technology.

Dr. Bruce Cole, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, addressed the attendees, discussing new initiatives, and answering questions from participants. The morning session concluded with the National Humanities Alliance’s annual business meeting for member representatives.

At a luncheon sponsored by The Phi Beta Kappa Society, Dr. Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, delivered a keynote address to 150 participants. Dr. Weinstein expressed admiration for the work of humanities advocates and answered questions from the audience.

At the conclusion of the afternoon’s legislative briefing and advocacy training, attendees enjoyed a cocktail hour sponsored by The History Channel. Attendees heard remarks from Dr. Libby O’Connell, Chief Historian of the History Channel, and Senior Vice President, Corporate Outreach, A&E Television Networks.

On Tuesday, March 27, 112 humanities advocates visited more than 150 House and Senate offices representing 26 states and the District of Columbia. These grassroots advocates distributed issue briefs and state grant data, and asked members of Congress to support increased funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

The Humanities Advocacy Day 2007 Source Book is online at http://www.nhalliance.org/conference/2007/sourcebook/

Here you will find historical funding data, recent grants by state, and issue briefs prepared by the National Humanities Alliance.

3. HUMANITIES ADVOCATES GATHER AT CAPITOL HILL RECEPTION & EXHIBITS (Report from Erin Smith of NHA)

On the morning of March 27, more than 100 humanities supporters gathered in the Rayburn House Office Building to enjoy humanities exhibits and listen to remarks from National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Bruce Cole, and new Congressional Humanities Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Phil English (R-PA).

This year’s Capitol Hill event was co-sponsored by The History Channel, and its Chief Historian Dr. Libby O’Connell provided brief remarks to attendees before they began their Congressional visits.

The projects showcased the breadth of humanities projects receiving federal funding from agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, National Science Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts. The presentations included:

American Anthropological Association- RACE Project Association of American University Presses- NEH Bookshelf Community College Humanities Association- Landmarks Workshops in American History and Culture Michigan State University- Symposium on Science, Reason and Modern Democracy Rutgers University Libraries, Newark- The Institute of Jazz Studies Society of Biblical Literature- Publishing in the Humanities University of California, Santa Barbara- Pepys Ballad Archive University of California, Santa Cruz- NEH Summer Institute and Seminar University of Tennessee- Marco Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies University of Virginia Press- “The Papers of George Washington”

Photographs from all of the events of March 26-27 are available online at: http://www.nhalliance.org/

4. NEH AWARDS FIRST DIGITAL HUMANITIES START-UP GRANTS

At the NHA conference, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chairman Bruce Cole announced the first Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants. Chairman Cole said that these new projects are designed to explore and develop innovative uses of technology in humanities education, scholarship, and public programming. Sixteen projects will receive a total of $478,565 in this program, which is one part of NEH's Digital Humanities Initiative. A full list of the award recipients is available at :

http://www.neh.gov

5. NAZI AND JAPANESE WAR CRIMES DECLASSIFICATION PROJECT CONCLUDES

The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), the group tasked with locating, declassifying, and making publicly available U.S. records of Nazi and Japanese war crimes, concluded its work on March 31, 2007.

The IWG was formed under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 and the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000. Its membership consists of representatives of seven Executive Branch agencies and three Presidentially appointed public members. The IWG was extended twice, most recently in March 2005, to complete the largest ever congressionally mandated single-subject declassification effort.

The group’s Final Report to Congress will be issued in mid-April. It will describe the history of the legislation that brought about the declassification effort; agencies’ implementation of the act; the declassification results; and recommendations for future declassification policies.

The seven-year, roughly $30 million declassification effort, resulted in the opening of more than 8 million pages of U.S. records—not all of them directly linked to war crimes. Notably, the records include the entirety of the operational files of the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor agency of the CIA), and more than 163,000 pages of CIA materials of a type never before opened to the public.

The declassified records also included more than 435,000 pages of FBI files, 20,000 pages from Army Counterintelligence Corps files, 100,000 pages related to Japanese War crimes, and 6 million additional pages of records.

6. NEH TO HOST SUMMIT OF DIGITAL HUMANITIES CENTERS

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland have announced a summit meeting to plan a national coalition of digital humanities centers.

The meeting will take place at NEH headquarters in Washington, D.C., on April 12-13, 2007. The meeting is part of NEH's Digital Humanities Initiative, which supports projects that use or study the impact of digital technology on the humanities.

The centerpiece of the conference is a day-long discussion of key issues involved in fostering collaboration, developing funding resources, and creating blueprints for future projects. The conference begins at 4:00 p.m. on April 12, with a welcome address by NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. On April 13, the conference attendees will spend the day discussing how to create a framework for a permanent coalition of digital humanities centers. For additional information, go to:

http://www.neh.gov

7. “WOMEN IN CONGRESS 1917--2006" PUBLISHED

The Office of History Preservation in the Office of the Clerk of U.S. House of Representatives recently published , “Women in Congress, 1917–2006.” The book is the first in an official four-part series about minorities who have served in Congress. Future volumes will profile African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian-Pacific Islander Americans who have served in Congress. The 229 women profiled range from Jeannette Rankin of Montana—the first woman elected to Congress—to Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House. Written as an authoritative resource, and a teaching tool, the hard copy of the book ends just before Speaker Pelosi and the newly-elected women Members of the 110th Congress were sworn in. But an online version (see link below) provides an updated live resource that takes the research project into the future.

http://womenincongress.house.gov/

8. BITS & BYTES–Library of Congress Acquires Caspar Weinberger Papers–The Library of Congress recently formally accepted a donation of the papers of former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger served for six years in that post under President Ronald Reagan. Weinberger also served stints as Secretary of Health Education of Welfare (1973--1975) and director of the Office of Management and Budget (1972--1973) in the Nixon and Ford Administrations. Sections of the Weinberger Papers were subpoenaed by the special prosecutor during the Iran-Contra investigation.

9. ARTICLES OF INTEREST:

“Author Suggests Alger Hiss Wasn’t a Spy,” reports on a symposium held this week by New York University on the Alger Hiss spy case. Former-NCH director Dr. Bruce Craig was a participant on the panel. ‘Washington Post’ April 6, 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com

“Stepping Out of the Shadows,” details the efforts by Hiss’s stepson to clear his name. ‘Washington Post’ April 5, 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com

“Swept Away By History,” details the financial difficulties facing the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia. ‘Washington Post' April 4, 2007 http://www.washingtonpost.com

“An Upgrade for Ye Olde History Park,” reviews the challenges faced by Colonial Williamsburg in balancing competing interests in its interpretations of history. ‘New York Times' April 13, 2007 http://www.nytimes.com


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