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********************************************************************** NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 13, #6; February 16, 2007) By Lee White (Editor) NATIONAL COALITION FOR HISTORY (NCH) Website at: http://www.h-net.org/~nch/ *********************************************************************** 1. CONGRESS FINALLY PASSES FISCAL YEAR 2007 FUNDING BILL 2. NATIONAL ARCHIVES COMPLETES HISTORIC FREEDMEN’S BUREAU RECORDS PROJECT 3. OLIVER NORTH vs. THE SMITHSONIAN 4. NATIONAL ARCHIVES ANNOUNCES PRESIDENTIAL TIMELINE WEBSITE 5. BITS & BYTES: Public Interest Declassification Board announces public meeting; National Council on the Humanities schedules meetings; Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents announces annual meeting; U.S. College Students Display Ignorance of American Presidents. 6. ARTICLE OF INTEREST: “Honest, It Wasn’t Abe’s Comment” February 16, 2007, “Washington Post" 1. CONGRESS FINALLY PASSES FISCAL YEAR 2007 FUNDING BILL On February 14, the U.S. Senate passed a continuing budget resolution (H.J. Res. 20) to fund most federal government programs through the remainder of the 2007 fiscal year on September 30, 2007. The continuing resolution passed 81-15. Despite this show of bi-partisan support, many Republicans were upset that the new Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) brought the bill to the floor utilizing a parliamentary rule that did not allow amendments. Like the version passed by the House, the bill was also stripped of nearly all specially designated projects known as “earmarks.” In general, federal agencies and their programs were flat-funded at the same amount they received in fiscal year 2006. However, there were exceptions to this general rule. One agency that had some bright spots was the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). While the final operating expenses number of $278.2 million was relatively flat, some important programs within the agency received increased funding. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), which had its budget zeroed out in the Bush administration’s FY ‘07 budget request, was funded at its FY ‘06 level. The NHPRC will receive $5.5 million for grants and $2 million for overhead expenses. The Electronic Records Archives program received a nearly $10 million increase over the FY 2006 appropriated level of $37.5 million. NARA also received $3 million in mainly reprogrammed money to help repair damage to its Washington, DC headquarters from flooding last summer. Another winner is the Department of Education's “Teaching American History” initiative which will see a funding level of $121 million –– the amount appropriated to the program in FY 2006. This figure is some $71 million more than recommended by the President in the FY 2007 budget proposal. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) would be allotted $141 million – about what was proposed for the agency in FY 2007 by President Bush. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will experience a significant loss as the agency will not get the $15 million (or 6% percent) increase that the White House supported for the IMLS in its FY 2007 budget proposal; funding for the IMLS will be set at $247 million. 2. NATIONAL ARCHIVES COMPLETES HISTORIC FREEDMEN’S BUREAU RECORDS PROJECT Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein this week announced that the National Archives has completed a five-year, multi-series project that preserved and microfilmed the field office records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen's Bureau). The project was made possible by the U.S. Congress through the Freedmen's Bureau Records Preservation Act of 2000. These microfilm publications consist of nearly 1,000 rolls of microfilm reproducing over one million Bureau field office records from the former Confederate states, the border states, and the District of Columbia. All of the microfilm series of the field office records are available free of charge for research at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and at the NARA's 13 regional archives nationwide. Descriptions of series contents and historical background texts are available online through the National Archives at http://www.archives.gov/research/order/orderonline.html or in descriptive pamphlets (available by calling 1-866-325-7208). The microfilm publications can also be purchased for $65 per roll. 3. OLIVER NORTH vs. THE SMITHSONIAN As if the Smithsonian Institution needed any more bad publicity over its controversial television deal with Showtime Networks, they found themselves embroiled this week in a highly publicized tiff with conservative commentator and Fox News personality Oliver North. The Smithsonian/Showtime exclusive deal allows the joint venture to vet any requests for filming at Smithsonian facilities that go beyond “incidental usage.” North hosts the series “War Stories” on the Fox News Channel and is filming a documentary on the history of nuclear weapons. The show’s producers had requested the opportunity to film North speaking in front of Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August 1945. The Enola Gay is housed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Two weeks ago, the Smithsonian/Showtime venture initially denied North’s request on the grounds that it constituted more than incidental use. The denial prompted North to write a scathing editorial blasting the Smithsonian, entitled “Selling America’s Heritage” in the “Washington Times.” http://www.washingtontimes.com/commentary/onorth.htm Apparently all of the bad publicity caused the Smithsonian to reconsider and they announced on February 13 that North would be allowed to film at the Udvar-Hazy Center after all. 4. NATIONAL ARCHIVES ANNOUNCES PRESIDENTIAL TIMELINE WEBSITE The National Archives has announced that it is launching a new website, www.presidentialtimeline.org on President's Day, February 19. The website will contain digitized artifacts and historical archives from all of the U.S. presidential libraries. It was created through the efforts of the 12 presidential libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration, the Learning Technology Center of The University of Texas at Austin’’s College of Education and the UT Library system. The interactive timeline is based on the administrations of 20th century American presidents and is designed to give educators, archivists and the public a single site where the 12 presidential libraries’ digitized assets can be accessed. The presidential libraries contributed primary and secondary source materials, many of which previously were available only to serious scholars. Contributions include audio and video clips, photos and documents, such as diaries. 5. BITS & BYTES: ITEM# 1--Public Interest Declassification Board announces public meeting–The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) has announced its eleventh meeting to be held at the National Archives main building in Washington, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., on February 24, 2007. The meeting will include a briefing by private sector representatives Steven Aftergood and Bruce Berkowitz on their experiences with the declassification system and a presentation by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) staff. This meeting is open to the public. However, due to space limitations and access procedures, the name and telephone number of individuals planning to attend must be submitted to the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Information may be submitted electronically to PIDB@nara.gov or by telephone to 202-357-5039 no later than Monday, February 19th. ISOO will provide additional instructions for gaining access to the location of the meeting. ITEM# 2--National Council on the Humanities schedules meetings--The National Council on the Humanities will meet in Washington, DC on February 22- 23, 2007. The purpose of the meeting is to advise the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities with respect to policies, programs, and procedures and to review applications for financial support from and gifts offered to the Endowment. 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 February 22-23, 2007, will not be open to the public. The agenda and meeting topics can be accessed through the Federal Register at: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-2004.pdf ITEM#3--Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents announces annual meeting: The 36th annual Institute of Historical Documents will be conducted from June 18 through June 23, 2007, in Madison, Wisconsin. An intensive seminar in all aspects of modern documentary editing techniques, the Institute includes lectures and presentations by experts on various topics related to documentary editing. This year’s topics include: document selection and annotation; transcription; indexing; publishing an edition; fundraising and promoting the edition; and electronic publishing. Applications can be obtained from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) or printed out from the NHPRC website at: http://www.archives.gov/nhprc/partners/editing-institute.html More information is available at the Wisconsin Historical Society’s website at: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/about/campedit/index.asp ITEM #4–It is appropriate that we end the President’s Day edition of the NCH Washington Update with news of the ignorance displayed by the nation’s college students about U.S. presidents. A report issued this week by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute showed many of the nation’s college students, including those at some of the most prestigious schools in America, know little about the men being celebrated on President’s Day. The students were asked 60 multiple-choice questions about our nation’s history and institutions, including the presidency, in surveys administered by the University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy on behalf of ISI. The average score among seniors on questions related to our nation’s presidents was 57.6 percent. College freshmen asked the same questions about these presidents scored 57.2 percent correct. The full report, entitled “The Coming Crisis in Citizenship: Higher Education’s Failure to Teach America’s History and Institutions,” can be accessed at: http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/report/summary.html 6. ARTICLE OF INTEREST: “Honest, It Wasn’t Abe’s Comment” February 16, 2007, “Washington Post" It appears that college students are not the only ones with a fuzzy knowledge of our nation’s presidents. It apparently also extends to Members of Congress. During this week’s debate over the Iraq War resolution in the House, Representative Don Young (R-AK) quoted Abraham Lincoln as saying, “Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged.” Unfortunately, Lincoln never said it. Author J. Michael Waller wrote the words in a December 2003 article in Insight magazine, but a copy editor mistakenly placed quotation marks around his words, making it appear as though they were spoken by Lincoln. According to an article in the “Washington Post,” Annenberg Fact Checker has counted 18,000 erroneous references to the supposed Lincoln quote by those who support the war. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/15/AR2007021501525.html ************************************************************************ Who We Are... The National Coalition for History (NCH) is a nonprofit educational organization that provides leadership in history related advocacy; it serves as the profession's national voice in the promotion of history and archives, and acts as a clearinghouse of news and information of interest to history related professionals. Membership in the history coalition is open to organizations that share our concern for history and archives. For information on how your history/archive organization can become a member, visit our website at: http://www.h-net.org/~nch/ and click on the "Join the Coalition" web link. Contribute and Support this publication... Individuals are invited to help support the NCH by sending a donation directly to the NCH at 400 A Street S.E., Washington DC 20003, or, by making an online donation at: http://www.conservenow.org/detail.asp?ORGID=2032&memflag=true . Federal employees may contribute to the history coalition through the Combined Federal Campaign -- our CFC campaign code is #2351. Please note that all contributions are tax deductible. Subscribe Today! We invite individual readers to subscribe to this FREE weekly newsletter! You are also encouraged to redistribute the NCH Washington Updates to colleagues, friends, teachers, students and others who are interested in history and archives issues. Reports in this publications are copyrighted by the National Coalition for History and may be reprinted by history coalition member organizations with attribution. A complete backfile of these reports is maintained by H- Net on the NCH web page at www.h-net.org/~nch/. 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