Majority of National Park Service Advisory Board Resigns
Recently, nearly all of the National Park System Advisory Board, the citizen panel that advises on National Park Service issues, resigned in frustration after repeated requests to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to hold meetings were ignored. The National Coalition for History (NCH) strongly objects to Secretary Zinke’s refusal to engage with the board. NCH has sent a letter to the Secretary urging the reconstitution of the advisory board and the resumption of regular meetings. To read NCH's letter and more information, click here.
NEH Offers New Infrastructure Grants
The National Endowment for the Humanities recently announced a new grant program to help humanities institutions build institutional capacity or infrastructure and improve long-term sustainability. Grants can be as large as $750,000, but require matching funds from nonfederal sources. Applications are due March 15th. For more information, or to apply for a grant, click here.
National Park Service Gets New Acting Director
Secretary of the Interior Zinke recently announced major changes in the top NPS leadership. Michael T. Reynolds, who has been acting director of the Park Service since President Trump took office, will become superintendent of Yosemite National Park. Paul Daniel (Dan) Smith is taking his place as acting director in early March. See the press release for full details.
Commission Created to Mark 400 Years of African American History
On January 8th, President Trump signed into law the bipartisan 400 Years of African American History Commission Act. This legislation establishes a National Park Service commission to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Colonial America in 1619, and the four centuries of African American history that followed. See the press release for more details.
Common Rule Updates Delayed At Least Six Months
Revisions to the federal Common Rule, which governs research involving human subjects, have officially been delayed six months, with the possibility of further delay at that time. The revisions, which would exempt oral history projects from unnecessary and invasive Institutional Review Board oversight, were announced in January 2017 and were supposed to take effect last month, but have been pushed back until at least July. Click here for more coverage from the Consortium of Social Science Associations.
FOIA Advisory Committee Offers Recommendations
On January 16th, the Freedom of Information Act Advisory Committee unanimously put forth several recommendations to improve the administration of FOIA. These include better criteria for proactive disclosure, new best practices guidelines from several subcommittees, and requirements that documents on agency's FOIA websites be accessible to individuals with disabilities. For full details, click here.
NEH Awards 2000th Smaller Institution Preservation Grant
The National Endowment for the Humanities celebrated a milestone in January as it awarded its 2000th grant under the Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions (PAG) program. PAG grants help small museums, libraries, historical societies, and other cultural institutions address conservation needs, whether that means purchasing equipment or training staff or consulting with preservation professionals. For full details about the #PAG2000 celebration, see the press release.