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NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 9, #24; 5 June 2003) by Bruce Craig <firstname.lastname@example.org> National Coalition for History (NCH) Website http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~nch ***************** 1. Iraq Update: Looting Continues -- Archeological Sites Particularly at Risk 2. Florida Ballots From 2000 Election Saved 3. Society of American Archivists Selects New Leader 4. Hiring of Non-Archivist Generates Controversy in Utah 5. Advisory Council Gets Re-authorization Hearing 6. Legislative Update: Bills Passed and Bills Introduced 7. Bits and Bytes: 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List; Pioneer Novel Donated To Yale; NPS Publication Common Ground Makes Changes; Adoption History Project Launched 8. Articles of Interest: "The End of Arts Funding?" (Newsweek; 29 May 2003) 1. IRAQ UPDATE: LOOTING CONTINUES -- ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES PARTICULARLY AT RISK It has been some number of weeks since we last updated you on what's going on in the effort to protect and recover antiquities, museum artifacts, and archival records in Iraq. Iraq also has more than 10,000 registered archaeological sites, and archaeologists say that treasure hunters continue to tear into them, stealing antiquities that often date back 3,000 years and more. According to a 23 May New York Times article, experts say the real threat is to 15 to 20 major sites atop ancient cities like Larsa, Fara, and the great Sumerian city of Erech. "We believe that every major site in southern Iraq is in danger," said Donny George, director of research at Iraq's State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, which oversees all archaeological excavations in Iraq. A few days later (on 26 May 2003) the Times reported that Iraqi officials say that they asked American military leaders for help in securing major archeological sites from looting over a month ago. Reportedly, military officials were hesitant to provide help, claiming that their time needed to be spent on more important needs, including food and water for the Iraqi people. Colonel O'Donohue, for example, stated that "we don't have anywhere near enough Marines to police every fixed site in the country. Our view is that if it's a fixed site, it's primarily an Iraqi responsibility." The Colonel also offered to help train and arm Iraqis to guard the sites. However, arming Iraqis would stand in violation of a new edict posted by the top American administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, which forbids most Iraqis from carrying guns outside their homes. The Marines have sent patrols to investigate looting, but many times it has been a reactive response, too late to prevent the looting from occurring. According to the Times reporter Edmund Andrews, "the looting of archaeological sites, if unchecked, could prove far more devastating…with looters in some locations extracting more in two weeks than archaeologists had unearthed in two decades." Pietro Cordone, the former Italian ambassador to the U.A.E., and recently appointed by the Coalition forces to restore the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, including the museums and archeological sites looted in the last period, reassured those who worried about the protection of archeological sites. "The army has appointed forces to protect, round the clock, all the main museums and sites, such as Abraham's ancestral home in Ur, south of Iraq," he said. "In addition, in the remote areas, on-the-spot investigations are conducted constantly by using helicopters." However, reports have also surfaced about a new group of looters -- American soldiers. In a London Observer article (18 May 2003), aid workers claimed that American soldiers had vandalized the ancient city of Ur. The reports included incidents of graffiti on walls, and the theft of clay bricks. The looting of archeological sites is the "second wave" of cultural theft in Iraq. The first took place in the country's museums, and Coalition forces in cooperation with various cultural organizations worldwide have been working to find and return those missing items to Iraq. The good news is that on 7 May 2003, U.S. Customs agents announced that approximately 700 artifacts and 39,400 manuscripts have been recovered since the looting began. The search continues for other items, that officials believed may have left the country or entered the Iraqi black market. Some items that were presumed stolen have been found in secret vaults below the museum. However, some of these recovered artifacts are now unaccounted for, raising concern that some museum staff may be trading in artifacts. Even more items have been discovered in the vault of Baghdad's Central Bank, where they await recovery. American officials have taken several steps to establish an accurate checklist of what was missing, and have created a program dubbed "Operation Iraqi Heritage." In addition, a two-day Interpol conference was held in Lyon, France on May 5-6, which was called to create a database of the missing artifacts from the museum. Also on 6 May, the American Coordinating Committee for Iraqi Cultural Heritage was formed in New York City. Chaired by former Smithsonian director Robert McCormick Adams, the committee will help Iraqi officials re-establish the museum, restore records, and train new curators. The list of participants in the Interpol conference is located here: <http://www.interpol.int/Public/WorkOfArt/Iraq/ListParticipants.pdf>. The meeting agenda is available at: http://www.interpol.int/Public/WorkOfArt/Iraq/Programme.pdf, and the final recommendations of the meeting are posted at: <http://www.interpol.int/Public/WorkOfArt/Iraq/finalRecommendations.pdf>. The full minutes for the meeting can be found at this address: <http://www.interpol.int/Public/WorkOfArt/Iraq/Minutes.asp>. 2. FLORIDA BALLOTS FROM 2000 ELECTION SAVED On 8 May 2003, Glenda Hood, the Florida Secretary of State, announced that she had instructed all 67 Florida counties to forward more than six million ballots from the 2000 election to the State Archives. Hood's action puts to rest concerns of historians, political scientists, and archivists who feared the 2000 presidential election records would be destroyed in accordance with Florida's records disposition schedules. For well over two years, the National Coalition for History has played a leading role in advocating the preservation of the ballots and the related election records such as instructions from supervisors to poll workers, records of canvassing board meetings, legal briefs, and paper and electronic communications between the Secretary of State's office and local election board officials. Hood spokeswoman Jenny Nash said the 5,000 cubic feet of ballots (the equivalent of 450 large filing cabinets) will be stored in the climate-controlled archives building in Tallahassee. The ballots will be transported by truck at the expense of the state. The Secretary of State's office estimated that it will cost between $250,000 to move and store the documents, and $100,000 annually after that. Normally, ballots are destroyed after 22 months, but the Department of State and the Division of Library and Information Services extended the deadline to 1 July 2003. However, at least one county had already destroyed its ballots. "Our ballots are gone," said Mark Andersen, elections supervisor for Bay County in the Panhandle, adding that he thought state officials had already given approval to get rid of them. While the ballots were saved for the benefit of future historical research, some doubt their potential usefulness. "They're of no value at all except as a historic relic," said Barry Richard, Florida attorney for the eventual loser Democrat Al Gore. "They're just a curiosity at this point." Julian Pleasants, a history professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville disagrees: "For the most part, ballots don't have historical value, but obviously 2000 was a bit different...This is the most controversial presidential election in modern history." 3. SOCIETY OF AMERICAN ARCHIVISTS SELECTS NEW LEADER Nancy Perkin Beaumont, a senior vice president of communications for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), has been selected as the new executive director for the Society of American Archivists (SAA). She will officially assume the post 15 July 2003. Beaumont replaces Susan Fox, who stepped down in September 2002 as SAA executive director to fill a similar position with the American Association of Law Librarians. According to Search Committee Chair and SAA Vice President Timothy L. Ericson, "The Search Committee is delighted that Nancy has accepted our invitation to become SAA's next executive director. She is highly qualified for the position and we look forward to benefiting from the experience and expertise that she brings to the job." SAA President Peter B. Hirtle added, "At a time when all associations face great challenges, we are fortunate to be able to hire a proven administrator with Nancy's talents, visions, and values." Beaumont stated that "the archival profession faces challenges on many fronts [and] I look forward to working with SAA's members and staff to develop-and implement-new strategic directions, with a focus on understanding and meeting members' needs and positioning the profession as a critically important and well-respected resource." A Certified Association Executive, Beaumont joined the staff of APTA in 1987 and has served since 1992 as senior vice president. Prior to joining APTA, Beaumont served for seven years as publications director and journal managing editor for the American College of Emergency Physicians. Beaumont earned an A.B. with honors in English and political science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She further pursued graduate studies at The Radcliffe Course in Publishing Procedures, Harvard University. For the full text of the press release announcing Beaumont's selection tap into: <http://www.archivists.org/news/beaumont.asp>. 4. HIRING OF NON-ARCHIVIST GENERATES CONTROVERSY IN UTAH In early April, Governor Mike Leavitt of Utah selected Bob Woodhead to head the State Archives. Woodhead is not an archivist, but rather a former deputy director at the State Division of Facilities and Construction, thus raising the eyebrows of many archival and records management professionals. In a letter dated 10 April 2003, Stephen C. Sturgeon, President of the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists, said that "while we do acknowledge that the position of State Archivist is an 'at-will' appointment not covered by civil service protections, state law does require the archivist to be someone 'qualified by archival training, education, and experience." Sturgeon's letter expressed the concerns of many in the archival community: "a director lacking an understanding of the issues related to archives and record management…cannot reasonably be expected to guide this agency in an adequate or successful manner." Sturgeon concluded, "We strongly urge that you re-examine your decision to hire a non-archivist to lead this important agency." Over the last month, however, the Governor has been unwilling to change his appointment. In fact, he has justified it, claiming that there is a short-term need for someone with Woodward's expertise to oversee an eight million dollar building project. Spokeswoman Natalie Gochnour recognized the concerns raised by Sturgeon's letter, but supported the Governor's decision, stating that the State is "already on track for this position to be changed in the near future." Dave Fletcher, deputy director of the Department of Administrative Services, confirmed that statement, saying that Woodward would retire within a year or less. 5. ADVISORY COUNCIL GETS RE-AUTHORIZATION HEARING On 3 June 2003, the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation, and Public Lands conducted an oversight hearing on the re-authorization proposal for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). During the hearing members of the subcommittee also discussed some of the trickier issues the Advisory Council typically addresses including private property rights under provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The subcommittee, with Chairman Radanovich (R-CA) and six other members present, heard testimony from four witnesses, including John Nau, the Chairman of the Advisory Council. In his testimony, Nau expressed his desire to expand the membership of the Advisory Council by adding seats for three government agencies: Commerce, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. Nau also detailed other proposed amendments to the NHPA, requested that the current time-limited appropriations authorization be replaced with a permanent authorization, and suggested several technical amendments. Most of the hearing, however, focused on private property protection issues. The Subcommittee heard from Mr. Robert Bisno, owner of an apartment complex who objected to actions by a tenants association seeking to designate his complex as a historic site. Bisno requested of the subcommittee that the NHPA be amended to include a stronger "owner consent" provision. According to Bisno, the tenants association was merely using the historic preservation designation as an attempt to block his proposed redevelopment project which would require the tenants to move. To that end, the tenants sought a determination from the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places to declare the building "locally significant." The California State Historic Resource Commission supported the designation which consequently halted the issuance of any more city redevelopment permits to Bisno. The tenants also filed lawsuits on other grounds against Mr. Bisno to block the redevelopment after the Keeper returned their designation application after having found missing information. Mr. Bisno asked the Subcommittee to reword the "loophole" in the National Historic Preservation Act to disallow the inclusion of sites on the National Register without the consent of the property owner. The administration's witness -- National Park Service Acting Associate Director for Cultural Resources, Mr. deTeel Patterson Tiller -- reminded the Subcommittee "in cases where a property has been listed or determined to be eligible for listing in the National Register, a private property owner is under no obligation to protect the historic property and it can be torn down by its owner without federal government intervention." Tiller also stated that a property cannot be listed on the National Register over the objections of the owner, but it can be declared eligible for listing. Mr. Edward Sanderson, President of the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, also testified, substantially agreeing with Mr. Tiller. "Listing places no restrictions on private property owners." Nau then gave his opinion on the matter, believing that the purpose of having eligibility without the owner's consent was a tool to involve the historical preservation community in the process. Ranking Member Donna Christian-Christensen (D-VI) mentioned that over the last ten years, 167 sites were found eligible without the owner's consent. Tiller, however, noted that none of those 167 sites had been listed on the National Register, and urged the Subcommittee to keep the numbers in perspective (over 1.2 million places are currently listed on the National Register.) Chairman Radanovich appreciated this observation, and voiced his hesitancy to amend the law for fear of impacting the vast majority of sites not affected by the loophole. The full testimony from the hearing tap into: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/108cong/parks/2003jun03/agenda.htm 6. LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: BILLS PASSED AND BILLS INTRODUCED The following bills have been passed: Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Extension -- On 23 May 2003, by unanimous consent, the Senate passed legislation (S 858) to extend the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and for other purposes. The following bills have been introduced: Bookstores and Libraries Exemptions: On 23 May 2003, by Senator Boxer (D-CA), legislation (S 1158) to exempt bookstores and libraries from orders requiring the production of tangible things for foreign intelligence investigations, and to exempt libraries from counterintelligence access to certain records, ensuring that libraries and bookstores are subjected to the regular system of court-ordered warrants; to the Committee on the Judiciary. The House version (HR 1157) was introduced on 6 March 2003 by Representative Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with 105 cosponsors; to the Senate Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. National Museum of African-American History: On 23 May 2003, by Senator Brownback (R-KS) with 45 cosponsors, legislation (S. 1157) to establish within the Smithsonian Institution the National Museum of African American History and Culture; to the Committee on Rules and Administration. The House version (HR 2205) was introduced on 22 May 2003 by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). The bill has been sent to both the Committee on House Administration and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, for consideration of provisions that fall within the jurisdiction of each committee. Champlain National Heritage Area: On 22 May 2003, by Senator Jeffords (I-VT), legislation (S 1118) to establish the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership in the States of Vermont and New York; to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area: On 22 May 2003, by Senator Lott (R-MI), legislation (S 1137) to establish a new national heritage area in the state of Mississippi; to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. French Colonial Heritage Area: On 22 May 2003, by Senator Bond (R-MO), legislation (S 1105) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the French Colonial Heritage Area in the state of Missouri as a unit of the National Park system; to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution Commemorative Program: On 22 May 2003, by Senator Clinton (D-NY), legislation (S 1108) to establish within the National Park Service the 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution Commemorative Program, and for other purposes; to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. A House companion version (HR 2237) was introduced on the same day by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY); to the House Committee on Resources. Smithsonian Space and Resources: On 21 May 2003, by Representative Ralph Regula (R-OH) , legislation (HR 2195) to provide for additional space and resources for national collections held by the Smithsonian Institution, and for other purposes; referred to both the Committee on House Administration and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for consideration. 7. BITS AND BYTES Item #1 -- 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List: On 29 May 2003, the National Trust for Historic Preservation issued their list of the 11 most endangered historic places for 2003. Making the list for the first time were various urban religious buildings, including Mount Bethel Baptist Church in Washington, DC (the gathering place for Martin Luther King's march in 1963), and the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue in New York. Also included were the Minute Man National Historic Park outside Boston, MA, the TWA terminal at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, NY, and Bathhouse Row in Arkansas' Hot Springs National Park. The full list is available at: <http://www.nationaltrust.org/11Most/2003/index.html>. Item #2 -- Pioneer Novel Donated To Yale: At a ceremony on 30 May 2003, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the chairman of Harvard University's Department of Afro-American Studies, donated to Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library the first known novel written by a female slave. Written by Hannah Crafts, the 301-page manuscript, entitled "The Bondwoman's Narrative", is a story of a female slave. It is estimated to have been written between 1853 and 1861. Gates found the manuscript at an auction, then researched and edited the book. It was published last year and appeared on several best-seller lists. Item #3 -- NPS Publication Common Ground Makes Changes: In its Spring 2003 issue, the NPS publication Common Ground announced changes to its format and focus. The previous scope of the magazine centered on archeology and ethnography; it will now expand to cover "a multi-disciplinary look at all aspects of cultural resource management and historic preservation." Also, the NPS added "Preserving Our Nation's Heritage" to the title of the publication. For a free subscription to Common Ground, go to: <http://www.cr.nps.gov/>. Item #4 -- Adoption History Project Launched: On 1 June 2003, the University of Oregon publicly launched its Adoption History Project. Created by Eugene-University of Oregon Professor Ellen Herman, the project is a digital public history resource. Hundreds of documents cover the historical path of adoption. Go to: <http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~adoption>. 8. ARTICLES OF INTEREST One article this week: Yet another article focusing on the impact of the state government budget crisis on cultural agencies. In "The End of Arts Funding?" (Newsweek; 29 May 2003) Arts Journal editor Douglas McLennan suggests that arts leaders may have unintentionally pursued an end game strategy of touting the economic value of the arts. "As the current arts-funding crisis suggests, the survival strategy might have topped itself out and ultimately killed public arts funding." For the article tap into: <http://www.msnbc.com/news/919695.asp>. *********************************************************** The National Coalition for History invites you 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. A complete backfile of these reports is maintained by H-Net on the NCH's recently updated web page at <http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~nch>. 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