Publication Date

January 1, 2002

Perspectives Section


NARA Funding Signed into Law

President Bush has signed the Treasury/Postal appropriations legislation (P.L. 107-67) which provides funding for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The legislation provides the agency with a total budget of $289,826,000, which includes $244,247,000 for operating expenses, $39,143,000 for repairs and restorations, and $6,436,000 for competitive grants administered by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). According to Archivist of the United States John Carlin, “this budget…will allow us to continue the momentum we now have on key initiatives.”

The budget includes $19 million for the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) and $28.5 million to build a new Southeast Regional Archives facility in Morrow, Georgia, just outside Atlanta. The appropriation also includes $5,693,000 for renovation and improved accessibility to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Ford Library and Museum. Some $450,000 is allocated for microfilming the records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Funding provides for seven full-time employees to complete the staffing of the Clinton Library as well as $1,135,000 to build an interim repository to preserve and make available the Clinton White House electronic records, and sufficient money to fund an automatic system to redact privacy information from Clinton Presidential records. NARA also will receive $3,970,000 for the development of an enhanced NARA web site.

President Signs Legislative Branch Appropriations Act

On November 12, 2001, President Bush signed the Congressional Operations Appropriations Act, 2002 (P.L. 107-68) a measure that provides funding for the legislative branch of government. Included in the annual funding package are allocations for the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Library of Congress (LC), and the Copyright Office.

The CRS budget is pegged at $81.5 million (an increase of $8 million over fiscal 2001) and the Copyright Office is slotted to receive $40.9 million· (an increase of $3.9 million). Congress approved a net appropriation to the LC of $452 million for fiscal 2002. This figure exceeds the President’s proposed budget ($444.3 million) by 1.7 percent. Nevertheless, the appropriation is 11.7 percent less than fiscal 2001, which included funding for several projects for which expenditures were authorized for a limited period of time.

The LC appropriation provides for a number of special projects-including $249,776 for the Veterans History Project administered by the American Folklife Center, $250,000 in new monies for the advisory National Recording Preservation Board (authorized during the 106th Congress to support the preservation of sound recordings), $5 million for additional discretionary purchase of rare and valuable materials for the LC collections (thus bringing the library’s total acquisitions budget to $15.8 million), and a $500,000 pass-through for the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. The National Digital Library Program received an increase of $9.6 million that will allow the program to hire 46 new employees. Congress also appropriated $7.1 million for the “Hands Across America” program, which is designed to teach educators how to incorporate the LC’s digital collections into school curricula.

Adams Memorial Authorized

President Bush signed legislation (P.L. 107-62) authorizing a national memorial on federal land in Washington, D.C., to honor former President John Adams, his wife Abigail Adams, former President John Quincy Adams, and the Adams family’s legacy of public service. The bill passed the House on June 25 and cleared the Senate on October 17; it was presented to the president for his signature on October 25. Passage of the bill foreshadows what some Hill insiders believe will be another contentious debate over just how many more memorials should be placed on the National Mall.

In October 2001, concerned about the proliferation of memorials in the Mall’s core, three federal commissions that pass judgment on the design and placement of memorials in the District of Columbia, adopted a plan that bans additional monuments on all but two sites in the heart of the Mall. However, the Adams legislation’s chief sponsor; Rep. Timothy J. Roemer (D-Ind.), stated his desire (in hearings on the bill earlier this year) to see the Adams Memorial built on the Mall between the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. His suggested location would violate the new restrictions. Congress has not hesitated to override the decisions and recommendations of the various D.C. planning commissions, as it did earlier in the year when it passed legislation barring further hearings on the controversial World War II Memorial slated for construction near the Lincoln Memorial. Other sites for the Adams Memorial are also likely to be considered, including a proposal to build the memorial in front of the National Archives. Once a site is selected, the design of the Adams Memorial must be approved by the Fine Arts Commission and the National Capital Planning Commission and is expected to be made in accordance with the Commemorative Works Act.

The legislation recognizes that John Adams and several generations of family members, individually and collectively, have “enriched the nation through their profound civic consciousness, abiding belief in the perfectibility of the nation’s democracy, and commitment of service and sacrifice for the common good.” The bill forbids the use of any federal funds to pay for the memorial, but instead authorizes the Adams Memorial Foundation to raise the funds for the project privately. Once the memorial is constructed, John Adams will join nine other presidents who have been honored with monuments in the District of Columbia.

Jefferson Day Event Scheduled

Jefferson Day, an annual advocacy event organized by the National Humanities Alliance and cosponsored by more than 20 organizations to promote support for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), is scheduled for Friday; March 22, 2002, in Washington, D.C., with some preliminary events scheduled for March 21. The event provides an opportunity for scholars and others working in the humanities to communicate the importance of federal support for the humanities to congressional leaders in Washington. In 2002, grassroots advocacy will be especially critical because of the increased pressure on state and federal budgets. The event is timed to coincide with the annual NEH-sponsored Jefferson Lecture, which will be delivered this year on the evening of the 22nd at the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, D.C. There is no registration fee. Registration information may be obtained by visiting: https://www. .

AAM Issues Business Support Guidelines

The American Association of Museums (AAM), the country’s largest museum organization, issued guidelines urging members to disclose all agreements between institutions and their private and corporate donors. The association’s statement, “Guidelines for Museums on Developing and Managing Business Support” comes on the heels of a number of controversial donations to the Smithsonian Institution. At the Smithsonian, as well as at museums across the country, concern’ has recently been voiced over the degree of control individuals who donate large sums of money to a museum seem to have over exhibitions.

While the AAM guidelines give broad latitude with respect to handling sensitive issues including the development of criteria for the use of names and logos and the creation of conflicts of interest policy statements, the organization issued a strict guideline on exhibition content and control: “The museum community recognizes and encourages appropriate collaborations with a variety of stakeholders including a museum’s national, regional, and local funders. A museum’s careful examination and control of content and integrity of programs, exhibitions, and activities is essential to its public trust responsibility.”

Regarding disclosure of donor agreements, the guidelines state: “A museum should take reasonable steps to make its action transparent and understandable to the public, especially where lack of transparency may reasonably lead to an appearance of a conflict of interest.” According to AAM President Edward H. Able Jr., “It is terribly important that we maintain the public trust by being absolutely transparent. There are times the transparency might be compromised by the wishes of a donor, but if that presents a real conflict, the agreement should be reconsidered.”

The new voluntary guidelines may be accessed on the AAM web page:!business_support.htm.

Bruce Craig is the director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History.

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