Sunday, December 13, 2009

NARA changes: Congressional & public hearings

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received over the weekend from our friend Harold of the Mount Vernon Genealogical Society. He continues to be ever vigilant when it comes to open records access at the National Archives.

From: Harold McClendon]
Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 12:35 PM
To: Genealogical Society Members
Subject: Two Genealogy Meetings

Dear Genealogist,

There are two meeting scheduled for next week that I strongly urge you to attend. One meeting is a hearing in the House of Representatives and the other is a public meeting at the National Archives. I have received the following information about the two meetings:

Regarding the congressional hearing next week:

1. The title of the hearing is "History Museum or Records Access Agency? Defining and Fulfilling the Mission of the National Archives and Records Administration."

2. The President of the National Genealogical Society has been asked to testify at this hearing.

The congressional committee that oversees NARA is looking into the appropriate balance between "museum space/exhibits for tourists" and dedicated resources for research space and services. This is a major concern of many researchers in the face of renovation proposals to convert research space into "exhibit" space for tourists. This is our chance to urge Congress to protect researcher services and space as the top priority of NARA.

I have also been informed that the new Archivist of the National Archives, David S. Ferriero, will testify at the Congressional Hearing and will also attend the National Archives public meeting the following day.

Perhaps the most significant action you can take is to plan on attending these two meetings. It is not necessary that you ask any questions or make any remarks. Reservations are not required. Just by your presence at these two meetings, you make a strong statement that you care about the records at the National Archives and their availability to the general public.

If you can only attend one of the meetings, I believe the House hearing is the most important. Can you imagine the impact on the Congressmen and NARA if there are 100 researchers sitting in the hearing room. However, if you can possibly attend both meetings, your presence will have an impact.

The details on the two meetings are as follows:

1. Congressional Hearing is on Wednesday, December 16th at 2:00 pm
At the Information Policy, Census, and National Archives Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building

Here is a link to a map of the Capitol.

The easiest way to reach the Rayburn building is by Metro. The nearest stop is Capitol South. You can reach this stop on either the Blue line or the Orange line.

2. Archives Public Meeting is on Thursday, December 17th at 1:00 pm at the National Archives. When you enter the building, ask the security guards for directions to the meeting.

The easiest way to reach the National Archives is by Metro. The nearest stop is Archives/Navy Memorial that is just across the street from the building. You can reach this stop on either the Yellow line or the Green line.

I look forward to seeing you at these meetings.

Harold McClendon
Mount Vernon Genealogical Society

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