Vice Chairman Dr. Charles Ledbetter called the meeting to order at 9:43 a.m. In addition to Dr. Ledbetter, other voting members present were Harold Forbes, Dr. Helene Jacobs, Bill Richardson, Amy Haden Sorrells, and Noel Tenney. Voting members absent were Dr. Bob Conte, Becky Frye, Victor Greco, Dr. Charles Hulse, and Dr. Joan Walker. Ex officio voting members present were Dr. Bill Arnett, president, West Virginia Historical Association, and Fredrick H. Armstrong, president, West Virginia Historical Society. Ex officio non-voting members present were Dr. Michael Hohn, director, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; Joe Geiger, director of Archives and History, serving as secretary to the commission; Adam Hodges, director, Museums Section; and Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section. Ex officio non-voting member absent was Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History. Culture and History staff members present were Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner; Historic Preservation staff members Pam Brooks, Bethany Canfield, and Erin Riebe; and Jenny Morrison.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter asked if there were any amendments or changes to the agenda. Susan Pierce requested that the “Preserve America” grants listed under Old Business be moved under New Business instead, as they are new grants. Dr. Ledbetter called for a motion to accept the agenda as changed. Dr. Bill Arnett made the motion, which was seconded by Bill Richardson. Motion carried.
Dr. Hohn, serving as host for the meeting, provided some history about Mont Chateau and then Dr. Ledbetter called upon members to introduce themselves, followed by a request for a motion to approve the previously mailed minutes of the 30 January 2009 Winter meeting. Joe Geiger shared two corrections to the minutes: page 10, middle of the page, with regard to Blair Mountain, “she had to re-notify” should be corrected to read “the office had to re-notify,” and page 11, the last line, “which is not eligible under a planned activity,” should be corrected to read “which is not eligible under a planning activity.” Fredrick Armstrong noted reference on page 4 to the Historic Preservation budget, and suggested clarification that it is a “federal” budget. He also referred to the statement, “They will be scheduling in the next week to work on the architectural surveys and inventory of the office,” which Susan Pierce clarified as “in” the office. A motion to approve the minutes with corrections was made by Fredrick Armstrong, with a second by Noel Tenney. Motion carried.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter called upon Joe Geiger for the Archives and History report. After noting that the January through April monthly reports were mailed to members prior to the meeting (copies attached to official minutes), Mr. Geiger updated members regarding physical changes to the Archives Library. Lockers will be installed across the hallway from the entrance door to the Library, which will result in some changes as to what can be brought into the Library. Staff will be consulting with some of the patrons with regard to these changes. Mr. Geiger noted that once everything is in place, procedural rules will be filed. Mr. Geiger also discussed several items from the monthly reports and noted two recent or upcoming workshops/lectures. With regard to the Records Management and Preservation Board, county offices are being surveyed to determine their microfilm and digital holdings in preparation for a statewide scanning project which entails going out to the counties to microfilm some of the endangered records.
Speaking to the highway historical marker program and the project which began last April with an agreement with Division of Highways, Mr. Geiger reported that orders have been put in for 68 replacement markers, 136 markers to be refurbished, 20 markers in district shops to be erected, and 6 new markers. Looking ahead, staff is checking on other states’ programs, such as volunteer and vocational tech centers, to see what may be done in the way of expanding previous efforts with them when the project funds run out.
In response to Fredrick Armstrong, Mr. Geiger explained the criteria used to identify markers in need of refurbishment or replacement. He also discussed work by district sign shops. Mr. Armstrong expressed concern as to the placement/relocation of some markers, to which Mr. Geiger explained that the district engineers have advised that each time a marker is removed, the location will be reviewed to determine placement based upon safety along the highway. Mr. Geiger responded to questions from Bill Richardson about the Hatfield Cemetery (Devil Anse) marker status, and Noel Tenney about the Randolph Mason marker that is missing in Harrison County.
Mr. Armstrong asked about movement of the server by the Office of Technology to an off-site location and if there is a policy on adding and updating in a timely manner. Jacqueline Proctor responded, informing members about discussions with the Office of Technology and efforts to ensure the agency has the proper servers for uploading and handling constituent inquiries as quickly as possible. In reply to Mr. Armstrong’s question on whether it would be done through a Memorandum of Understanding agreement or just based on a discussion between the agency and the Office of Technology, Ms. Proctor stated there would be clarification in writing regarding financial responsibilities and responsibilities of the Governor’s Office of Technology (GOT) to the Division of Culture and History to maintain the system. In reply to another question, she stated she anticipates having this taken care of by FY 2010. Mr. Armstrong asked about the RMPB legislation and Mr. Geiger explained problems with the bill, and noted the commissioner’s effort to have it under consideration in the present legislative session.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter then called upon Susan Pierce for her presentation of the Historic Preservation report. Ms. Pierce referred to her report distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes), adding that the Historic Preservation office has been experiencing the same server problems as has Archives. She noted that GOT wants to put Historic Preservation’s data base and GIS information under their offices, too, and there are similar discussions regarding the server that Historic Preservation is supposed to purchase under their federal grants to accomplish their mission. Ms. Pierce then discussed items included in her written report. Concluding her report, Ms. Pierce informed members that Historic Preservation had several bills of interest in the legislature, two of which were regarding cemeteries and one amended language in the Code concerning county revenue. That bill was associated with the proposed demolition of the Jefferson County Jail. It was the only bill that passed during the session, with neither bill regarding cemeteries passing.
Fredrick Armstrong asked several questions about development grants, specifically with respect to the status of last year’s grants and the process for extensions. Ms. Pierce explained how they typically work and noted that the money is returned to the development grant fund if the grant is not done at all.
Ms. Pierce added that, with regard to the endangered property program, out of the four requests in the last year, Historic Preservation granted only one, and it was to the City of Bluefield for stabilization of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph building. Dr. Helene Jacobs asked if a project had come up for the City of Huntington for water and storm sewer projects, and Ms. Pierce replied that she did not recall any such request but would check and let Dr. Jacobs know. She replied in the affirmative to Dr. Jacobs’s question whether funds had to be appropriated by the end of June, but also stated there is ongoing funding for sewer and water projects. There being no further questions or comments on the Historic Preservation report, Vice Chairman Ledbetter called upon Adam Hodges for the Museums report.
Mr. Hodges began his report (copy attached to official minutes) by saying he looked forward to seeing members of the commission at the opening of the State Museum on 20 June. He then addressed items included in his written report. In closing, Mr. Hodges spoke for the staff in saying how much they have all enjoyed being a part of a project that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He invited members to come visit the museum and also thanked the commissioner and the administration for getting behind the project to see it move forward to completion, as well as all of Culture and History staff.
In response to a question from Fredrick Armstrong about the staff at Camp Washington-Carver, Mr. Hodges stated there are two, full-time, year-round employees, as well as two, temporary seasonal employees. Staff is mostly labor related because there is a lot of ground and wood-structure maintenance. He also explained that String Band Festival is the largest event held there, and the head maintenance worker stays there to accommodate the needs of other events. When String Band is held, usually many temporary staff from the area are hired, as well as individuals from Workforce West Virginia and other groups.
Mr. Armstrong asked about burial remains being curated and Mr. Hodges noted remains from Blennerhassett Island in addition to the Buffalo site. He also stated the division’s curators are keeping in contact with Native American Graves Protection Repatriation Act officials to ensure compliance of procedures. In response to an inquiry from Mr. Armstrong about the flags at West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH), Mr. Hodges stated that they were protected from the renovation work and that there are 13 flags and 2 have been added. All of the flags are Union, with the exception of a Confederate flag that was captured by Union troops.
Mr. Hodges responded to Dr. Helene Jacobs regarding the age range of children covered by the programs at Grave Creek Mound and the type of advertising used. He also stated that Grave Creek staff member Andrea Keller makes some local teachers aware of programs and goes into the classrooms to provide activity with the students. Noel Tenney asked about annual visitation for the sites, and Mr. Hodges stated he would get that information to them as soon as the statistics for this current fiscal year are compiled. There being no further questions, Dr. Ledbetter asked that it go on record that he expressed, on behalf of the Archives and History Commission, their appreciation and congratulations for the fine work done to bring the West Virginia State Museum to fruition and congratulated all involved in the project.
In the commissioner’s absence, Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner of Culture and History, presented a brief report of activities of the agency. With regard to the 2010 budget, the governor suggested that the general revenue budget be reduced by 6 per cent and that the lottery funds be reduced by 6.75 per cent. The agency has hired five new employees for the museum who will serve as guest services staff. Beginning 1 June, billboards to advertise and promote the museum will appear across the state. A temporary staff addition has been placing stories in a variety of publications on museums, and advertisements will also be placed on the radio. Ms. Proctor complimented her Communications staff, recently recognized by the International Academy of Visual Arts for three items submitted. The first two were Awards of Excellence, their gold level award, for the West Virginia Juried Exhibits Catalog and for the 2009 Historic Preservation Calendar. The third award, the Award of Distinction, their silver level award, was for the West Virginia Travel Guide and its communication strength and design.
For the 2011 budget, the commissioner is asking for several improvement levels to rewire and relight the aging lighting in the Great Hall; to update the museum at Grave Creek; to update the Culture Center theater making it capable of sending and receiving digital information, as well as house and stage lights; and to obtain additional grant funding in the amount of $250,000 for Historic Preservation. With regard to the computer system issues, efforts are being made to have this resolved with the Office of Technology soon. Ms. Proctor brought members’ attention to the recent change of the name of the facility to the Culture Center and to the new logo.
Dr. Helene Jacobs discussed advertising and suggested giving all West Virginia artists the opportunity to submit their designs for an exhibit ad and then all entries, or the ones that win, could be displayed on a website. Later, entries could be compiled in a book. Ms. Proctor noted the agency had a call for emerging artists who submitted some of their work, which has been juried, and which will be exhibited in the museum in the Flexible Exhibit Gallery space. Adam Hodges added that while it is not specifically for advertising purposes, a juried catalog of the Biennial Juried Show is done every two years of winning artists’ work. Fredrick Armstrong asked several questions about the 2010 budget in process and the suggested reductions, and Ms. Proctor stated the commissioner is working on not having to take those reductions. He also asked, if the current budget reduction stands, whether the budget will enable the necessary funding to make the transfers with the GOT so the agency does not continue to have breakdowns with access to digital information from Culture and History. Ms. Proctor’s response was that the agency will make it happen because it has to happen. Citing the Code requirement, Mr. Armstrong asked if the agency still produces the Annual Report, and requested a copy. He questioned the fact that there is nothing in the projected 2011 improvement level package for technology, and Ms. Proctor stated the budget for 2011 has not been settled. Ms. Proctor responded in the negative to Mr. Armstrong’s question whether anything was submitted for a report on the Capitol Building Commission.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter then moved on to Old Business and called upon Ms. Proctor for the status of commission appointments. Ms. Proctor stated the governor has told the commissioner that he will present some suggestions this summer; however, no specific timeline was given. She offered to take back to the commissioner any comments or concerns members have with regard to this issue. Vice Chairman Ledbetter stated he thought the minutes should reflect that almost the entire commission will be non-existent, in terms of the appointments, as of the end of this fiscal year. He advised members that until they receive a paper stating otherwise, they are still serving on the commission; however, he hoped the governor would take the time to make those appointments one way or the other. There being no further questions or comments regarding this matter, Vice Chairman Ledbetter called upon Erin Riebe to provide updates on the National Register nominations previously reviewed.
Ms. Riebe distributed a list of all outstanding nominations (copy attached to official minutes). She informed members that since their last meeting, there have been five new listings, including the three which were presented at the last meeting. After asking if there were any questions with regard to the listing and the outstanding nominations, Ms. Riebe informed members that she had received some drafts back from consultants, has been able to review them, and has sent some back to the preparers for additional items that the NPS requested be addressed.
In reply to Fredrick Armstrong, Ms. Riebe stated Blair Mountain officially is listed. Susan Pierce stated that subsequent to the listing, Historic Preservation had issued through the agency an update regarding the nomination. She discussed information on objections by property owners. Amy Haden asked if the nomination can be subsequently withdrawn from listing by the Keeper if a majority of the property owners object. Ms. Pierce’s response was that there is a process for removal and that would have to occur for it to be withdrawn. Ms. Riebe added that it would be up to the Keeper to determine if there has been a procedural error. Discussion continued regarding the objections with questions from Amy Haden and Bill Richardson. There being no further questions or comments, Vice Chairman Ledbetter moved on to New Business.
Joe Geiger advised members that History Day 2009 was held on 5 March with 43 History Heroes being recognized, and a total of 66 table displays. Mr. Geiger expressed his appreciation to the sponsoring groups: West Virginia Historical Society, $200; Mining Your History Foundation, $200; the Friends of Culture and History paid for the History Hero photographs; and West Virginia Humanities Council provided breakfast. Archives and History Chairman Dr. Bob Conte and Vice Chairman Dr. Charles Ledbetter assisted with the ceremony. Dr. Ledbetter thanked Archives and all involved for their hard work and a successful History Day.
Mr. Geiger informed members that the confirmed date for History Day 2010 is 18 February. Plans for next year are already in the works, and staff will also be reviewing the sponsor list and ways sponsors can contribute. In answer to an inquiry by one of the members, Mr. Geiger reviewed the process by which the History Heroes are chosen. There being no further questions or comments, Vice Chairman Ledbetter called for the presentation of the only National Register nomination.
Dr. Barbara Rasmussen presented the South Charles Town Historic District, Jefferson County, nomination under Criterion C as being locally significant, with a period of significance being 1840-1950. Vice Chairman Ledbetter stated he noted a couple of numerical differences within the nomination. Dr. Hohn commented that sometimes he has trouble matching photos with numbers and asked if the photo identification can be listed in the text itself. Ms. Riebe stated this can be done. There being no further questions or comments with regard to the nomination, Vice Chairman Ledbetter called for a motion. Dr. Bill Arnett moved for approval of the South Charles Town Historic District nomination, with Harold Forbes providing the required second. Motion carried. Members’ voting ballots were turned in to Joe Geiger (copies attached to official minutes).
Vice Chairman Ledbetter called upon Susan Pierce for presentation of the State Development Grants. She noted what information members had received and explained the meaning of various terms. In reply to Mr. Forbes, Ms. Pierce stated the highest number of points possible would be 91. Noel Tenney asked who qualifies for these grants and if it is spelled out in code. Ms Pierce explained it is not in the West Virginia Code, but in the program description. Individual property owners can qualify; however, religious organizations are not eligible. The discussion continued, focusing on eligibility and private property. Mr. Tenney expressed his frustration that small projects by historical organizations are not funded, but large projects by private owners are awarded. In response to Bill Richardson, Ms. Pierce explained the determination of the bonus point. Questions about matching source and tax credits were also asked by members. Mr. Armstrong asked about the 1841 jail and Job’s Temple and Ms. Pierce stated Pam Brooks could pull them for his review.
In reply to Mr. Richardson’s question regarding the process if the commission wanted to discuss priority for public vs. private, Ms. Pierce stated they would need to comment on the annual work program. The question of public impact versus community support was also raised. Vice Chairman Ledbetter appointed a committee composed of Noel Tenney and one other person (not named) to suggest a proposal to the commission for handling the matter. Mr. Tenney stated he does not understand how the scoring is done, because half of the 10 points comes from the staff’s evaluation. Susan Pierce then further explained the process and answered additional questions about scoring.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter called for the discussion to be tabled until after lunch and continued with New Business by moving on to “Preserve America” Grants. Ms. Pierce advised members that two applications were received, both of which were recommended for full funding by staff based upon the program description. There being no questions or comments, Amy Haden moved for approval as proposed and Bill Richardson seconded. Motion carried.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter called upon Joe Geiger for the presentation of two highway historical markers, Big Elm and Bull Moose Special. Fredrick Armstrong asked if the applications were submitted according to the guidelines posted on the web site, to which Mr. Geiger answered in the affirmative. Mr. Armstrong then questioned why the commission is being asked to do this, since a marker was ordered for Captain Ralph Stewart in April but at a previous meeting, it had failed because the commission chose not to make a motion to approve it. A lengthy discussion on the role of the commission in the marker program ensued. Ms. Haden asked if Mr. Geiger would be able to comment on specifics relating to this matter. His response was that the commissioner’s interpretation of the Code is that the Archives and History Commission serves in an advise and consent role in relation to the markers and he would like that to continue; however, that is entirely up to the commission. Ms. Haden asked what the rules state in terms of the marker program, and Mr. Geiger responded that he does not think they specify the marker program itself.
After additional discussion regarding statements on the website on the marker program and the commission, the accuracy of which Mr. Armstrong questioned, Vice Chairman Ledbetter suggested that this matter be tabled until the next commission meeting and asked Mr. Geiger to include this item on the next agenda to present clarification on the issues to the commission. Mr. Armstrong asked that in tabling this matter, the sponsors be advised that it in no way reflects on the historical significance of the two sites, as he believes they are both worthy. Vice Chairman Ledbetter asked Mr. Armstrong if he could take that suggestion as a motion. Mr. Armstrong was agreeable. Bill Arnett seconded. Vice Chairman Ledbetter then stated that it has been moved and seconded to table the matter of approval of the two highway historic markers until the next meeting pending clarification and that the nominees of those markers be notified that this in no way reflects on their nomination. Dr. Helene Jacobs added that the two marker nominations were tabled because of a process issue that precluded consideration of any further markers. Motion carried.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter called for the report from the Nominating Committee. In Victor Greco’s absence, Amy Haden shared with members that Dr. Bob Conte, the current chairman, and Dr. Charles Ledbetter, the current vice chairman, have both agreed to stay on for another more year in their current positions and then made recommendation to the commission, on behalf of the committee, for the re-nomination of the two officers. Bill Arnett moved to accept the recommendation of the committee and Harold Forbes seconded. Motion carried.
Under Other Business, upcoming meeting dates and locations were discussed with members deciding that the Fall meeting would be held at Chief Logan State Park on Friday, 2 October 2009, and the Winter meeting would be held in Charleston at the Culture Center on Friday, 29 January 2010, with a backup date of Friday, 5 February.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter recessed the meeting for lunch at 12:51 p.m.
Reconvening at 1:44 p.m., the meeting continued with the previously tabled agenda matter regarding the state development grants. Fredrick Armstrong stated he spoke with Pam Brooks during lunch, was satisfied with her explanation, and is now ready to proceed on the matter. Susan Pierce summarized the earlier discussion with regard to the scoring process and provided additional explanation. Mr. Armstrong asked Ms. Pierce if he is correct in understanding that if it is not listed, it is not eligible. Ms. Pierce answered in the affirmative, but noted that there have been times when a request has been received to fund a garage or another type of outbuilding and staff has made a distinction between the outbuilding and the primary building that was listed. Bill Richardson commented that while members have some ongoing concerns they want to discuss with staff at some point, he is not sure they want to hold up the current grant applications at this time. A motion was made by Bill Richardson to accept the State Development Grants as presented. Motion seconded by Bill Arnett. Susan Pierce asked that the motion be phrased to enable Historic Preservation to go down the list or redirect funding to projects within those that are recommended for funding. Bill Richardson amended his motion to read that commission members accept the grants as presented, with flexibility for staff to reallocate the funds depending on circumstances which may arise. Bill Arnett seconded the amended motion. Following clarification of the reallocation process by Susan Pierce in reply to Mr. Armstrong, Vice Chairman Ledbetter called for the question. Motion carried.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter, noting that all items on the agenda have been addressed, called for a motion to adjourn. Ms. Pierce asked if members had set a tentative date for the Spring meeting. Following some discussion, members set the meeting for Friday, 28 May, in Wheeling, at West Virginia Independence Hall.
Before adjourning the meeting, Jacqueline Proctor, with Vice Chairman Ledbetter’s approval, addressed the commission regarding upcoming programs and exhibits, and informed members of a suggestion she made to Susan Pierce to aid clarification of the grants discussion process. Lastly, Ms. Proctor stated that on behalf of the agency she appreciates the time consuming work they all do and how important it is to the history and the historical integrity of the state.
Vice Chairman Ledbetter called for a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was provided by Dr. Helene Jacobs, and he declared the meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m.
Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
Archives and History Commission