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IAG Minutes to be Shared
Look for minutes from the virtual, Zoom-based IAG meeting to be posted to the AIC governance page in the next month or so.
Elections: 2021 Board of Directors
Slate of 2021 AIC Board Candidates Offered by the AIC Nominating Committee
The AIC Nominating Committee is pleased to present the following slate of candidates for the AIC board of directors for the year 2021. There is still time to nominate a candidate! See below for details.
President (2-year term)
- Suzanne Davis
Vice President (2-year term)
- Sarah Reidell
- Corina Rogge
Director, Committees & Networks (3-year term)
- Samantha Springer
The Nominating Committee sincerely thanks those who have agreed to run for office, those who considered running, and all those who have offered guidance and helpful suggestions. Those whose terms are not ending in May 2021 include:
- Jennifer McGlinchey Sexton, Secretary (1st term)
- Elmer Eusman, Treasurer (1st term)
- Brenda Bernier, Director, Communications (2nd term)
- Molly Gleeson, Director, Professional Education (2nd term)
- Sarah Melching, Director, Specialty Groups (2nd term)
Call for Nominations from the Membership for Additional Candidates for
AIC Board Elections
The AIC Nominating Committee encourages the AIC membership to submit additional nominations for qualified individuals as candidates for the 2021 AIC Board elections.
To facilitate the process, nominations should be submitted in writing, accompanied by:
- a signed, “Willingness-to-Serve” statement (form available from the committee chair)
- a brief biographical sketch (format available from the committee chair)
The AIC Bylaws require that candidates for the officer positions of president and vice president be Fellows and directors be Fellows or Professional Associates. Nominees must be members in good standing of AIC and should have prior experience with the functioning of the organization through service on committees, networks, specialty groups, or in other capacities.
The Bylaws require that the Nominating Committee chair receive completed nominations by February 14, 2021 (three months prior to the May 14 AIC Business Meeting, to be held virtually).
All completed nominations or queries regarding submission of a nomination are to be sent to Penley Knipe (email@example.com).
Call for Nominations for Candidates for the AIC Nominating Committee
Nominating Committee is pleased to present the following candidates for the Nominating Committee:
- Craig Deller
- Renée Stein
The AIC Nominating Committee encourages the AIC membership to submit additional nominations for qualified individuals as candidates for the Nominating Committee. The committee, composed of three members serving one three-year term each, has one vacant position each year. The 2021 candidate must be a Fellow Member of AIC.
Nominations are made to the chair of the Nominating Committee and must be received by February 14, 2021, three months prior to the May 14 Member Business Meeting, to be held virtually. An electronic vote will be held in conjunction with the votes held for Board member positions. A signed willingness-to-serve statement, available from the Nominating Committee chair, must accompany written nominations.
The Nominating Committee is pleased to discuss any aspect of the nominating and election process with potential candidates and anyone interested in nominating candidates.
Find a Conservator Update
The new Find a Conservator tool is almost ready for testing by all Professional Associate and Fellow members. There are new ways to customize your profile and multiple ways to search, so full instructions are being written now. Peer-reviewed members should have access to the tool in January. Look for an email with a description of the new tool, links to more information, and a way to share your feedback this month.
—Bonnie Naugle, AIC Communications & Membership Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome New Professional Associates and Fellows
72 New PAs and 16 New Fellows Were Approved in 2020
Congratulations to the members below who chose to apply for and received peer-reviewed membership in 2020. Professional Associates and Fellows play an important role in AIC, can run for leadership positions, and may choose to be included in Find a Conservator, enabling AIC to provide a valuable service to the public.
New Fellow Members (Look for bios in March)
New Professional Associate Members
Celina Contreras Berenfeld
Mary Kay Judy
Bethany Jo Mikelait
Maureen Abbott Nixon
Congratulations to our Renewal Contest Winners
We are excited to announce the grand prize and two first-prize winners of our Online Renewal contest! Thanks to everyone who renewed by December 15.
- The Grand Prize of a free annual meeting registration and two hotel nights in Los Angeles, CA, is awarded to Melissa Behar.
- The two First Prize recipients are Hae Min Park and Amanda Thomas Trienens, both of whom will receive free memberships.
Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation (CWPC) Advisory Committee
The CWPC Advisory Committee worked to organize the “Data Analysis and Visualization for Conservation Professionals” online course to take place in 2021. The committee is excited by overwhelming interest in the course and hopes to present the course again in the future. The committee is revising their governing and procedural documents to prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within the committee and the workshops it works to organize.
Communication Committee (CommCom)
Each of the four sub-committees has defined their tasks ahead for the coming year:
- Conference Proceedings Subcommittee: making a plan to capture general session talks with a more formalized process.
- Outreach Subcommittee: creating documents and resources for public and press outreach.
- Publications Subcommittee: has written a guide to levels of peer review of our varied publications and resources.
- Website Subcommittee: studying the structure of our website and will be meeting with the Outreach Subcommittee chair to discuss where the two charges overlap.
Education and Training Committee (ETC)
The ETC has prioritized improving diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusivity in the field through its projects and collaborations the last few months through the following actions:
- Working to reduce barriers to the field by creating an AIC wiki page on Tips and Resources for Remote Internships.
- Members reviewed the September round of FAIC professional development scholarship applications, as well as proposals for FAIC and AIC Annual Meeting workshops.
- Committee hosted office hours in December, to provide insight and answer questions regarding the application process for FAIC scholarships.
—Provided by staff liaisons Sarah Saetren, ETC and CWPC, and Bonnie Naugle, CommCom
Wildfires: Starting Recovery Work in Southern Oregon
By Sonya Barron, PA, BP, AIC Emergency Committee
Intense, long-burning forest wildfires ravaged the West Coast this past year. For many of us, the reality of this emergency was confined to the screens of our TVs and phones. In this short article I would like to share some creative, effective work that preservation professionals and community members are doing in Southern Oregon to combat the damage caused by the Almeda Fire.
My information comes from a phone conversation I had with Kuri Gill of Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). In Oregon, the SHPO oversees collecting institutions, like historical societies and local museums in addition to historic and archaeological sites. Kuri said that although wildfires have been an annual occurrence for a long time, the situation has evolved. In the past, fires remained in the forests, which are under protection of the Forest Service. As residences have continued to encroach into forested areas, wildfires have begun to come into communities, even burning buildings on historic main Streets.
This past year, damage from forest fires was particularly severe because concurrent intense winds contributed to the size of the disaster. The 2020 forest fires are considered to be the largest statewide emergency in the history of Oregon. As of November 1, 2020, when I spoke with Kuri, at least two of the fires were still burning. Only one fire, located near the towns of Talent and Phoenix in Southern Oregon, was completely controlled. In general, it can take months for a fire to die down enough to make it safe for professionals to go in, assess the damage, and start recovery efforts. In addition, subsequent heavy rains caused several landslides, further delaying the already-lengthy accessibility timeline.
Preventive measures can be taken to protect some historic sites that lay in the path of an impending fire. People have been placing protective wrappings on headstones and cemetery monuments dating back to Oregon’s Slater Fire in 1890. Since headstones usually sustain smoke damage during a fire, they are now wrapped in fabric and covered with fire retardant spray foam (see figure 1). Burned trees can also affect historic cemeteries. If the fire gets deep enough underground and the trees’ root systems burn, they can create pockets of empty space underground. The soil becomes unstable, often resulting in landslides, which disturb both cemetery monuments and the interred human remains.
More than 2,300 structures were burned in the Almeda Fire, many of them residences on the historic building registry. The damage seems to have been “hit and miss”; some buildings were burned to the ground, while others were left untouched. The communities of Talent and Phoenix were the first areas where recovery efforts could begin. In these areas, buildings and collections of the historical societies were not damaged. Even though smoke from the fire hung in the buildings for days, it settled primarily on the protective storage boxes which had been provided during the rehousing efforts over the past several years. (Yay for archival boxes! They really are worth the price).
When responding to the fire emergencies, firefighters prioritized historic properties. As residents were evacuating the town of Vida, they also asked firefighters to protect the Goodpasture Covered Bridge, which had a special significance to their community (figure 2). The covered bridge was not damaged by the fire directly, but it was definitely impacted when heavy firefighting equipment was brought across the historic bridge into the town. The bridge now needs a structural assessment.
At the Collier Logging Museum, located at Collier Memorial State Park, a collection of large-scale historic logging equipment was displayed outdoors (figure 3). The local professionals collaborated with AIC’s National Heritage Responders on the damage assessment. The people on the ground did a live video walk-through, making it easier for those far away to start analyzing the damage and begin making a plan for recovery.
The process of recovery after an emergency is not confined to historic sites, buildings, and collections; communities have to go through the process of recovery as well. Historical societies in southern Oregon have become anchors and sanctuaries to their communities. People can come into these spaces and talk to each other about their losses and the trauma of living through the fire. The historical societies are recording oral histories and interviewing residents about their experiences.
One notable and heartwarming example of “museums working for people” occurred at the Talent Historical Society. The society organized a special exhibit for Dìa De Los Muertos. Community members put up small family altars in the gallery space, bringing in their treasured family photographs (figure 4). While the exhibit was on display, many of the residents lost their homes and all of their possessions in the fire.
Since the historical society building did not suffer fire damage, residents were able to reclaim the photos of their loved ones, which survived untouched. In October, community members in Talent organized a fundraiser to benefit victims of the Almeda fire, 2020 Day of the Dead Race (figure 5). The event extended into the month of November in virtual form.
Another example of historical societies working for their communities is safeguarding historic photos of the town and its architecture. If rebuilding is to take place, these historic photographs can serve as reference material for preservation architects.
Some of the most precious objects that people have lost in their burned houses are the cremated remains of their loved ones, which were kept in the home. The Alta Heritage Foundation is doing the difficult and sensitive work of recovering human cremated ashes from the burned debris of residences, at no cost to the families (see figures 6 and 7).
The foundation is a coalition of volunteer historic and forensic archaeologists from the West Coast, who work with forensic search dogs, trained specifically on the scent of cremated remains (figure 8). The archaeologists on the team have the expert knowledge to differentiate between the specific texture and color of cremains and other ashes and debris found at a fire site.
Southern Oregon University archaeologist Chelsea Rose noted in an interview with the local NBC affiliate, “This is one example of the ways our unique skills can be applied to modern needs.” (https://kobi5.com/news/local-news/archaeologists-work-together-to-find-cremains-lost-in-almeda-fire-139238/)
As the fires die down and cool off in other parts of Oregon, a broad range of recovery efforts will be initiated in those areas as well, with state employees working alongside community volunteers and non-profit organizations.
A big thank you to: Kuri Gill (OPRD) for providing information that served as the basis for this article; Katie Henry (OPRD) for images and edits to the text; Alex DeGeorgey (Alta Heritage Foundation) for images and caption details; Chela Sanchez and the Talent Historical Society for the image of the family altar.
—Sonya Barron, PA, BP, AIC Emergency Committee
Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC)
The Equity and Inclusion Committee has been working tirelessly since the summer, consulting with working groups, planning up-and-coming seminars/webinars, and initiating endeavors that will roll out in January 2021.
In 2020, the committee:
- Worked with members to revise the 2017 AIC Statement on Confederate and Other Historic Monuments, https://www.culturalheritage.org/docs/default-source/administration/governance/aic-positionstatement-contested-monuments-2020.pdf.
- Reviewed drafts of various proposals for the Member Designation Working Group.
- Partnered with ECPN for the “Social Justice and Conservation Series” which had its first session, “Contested Monuments,” on October 26, 2020.
- Hosted the webinar “Race, Power, and Responsibility: Diversity Education for AIC Members,” led by Dr. Nicole Robinson of Cultural Connections by Design. This webinar and training took place on October 28th and 29th and received much positive feedback for providing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) training.
For 2021, we are:
- Collaborating on an update to the nominating committee guidelines and are assessing the AIC Annual Meeting abstract review guidelines.
- Rolling out initiatives focusing on the individual and communal needs of the AIC membership.
- Launching an accessibility survey to understand disability inclusion within the cultural heritage sector. Learn more about the Accessibility Survey on our website at https://www.culturalheritage.org/membership/committees/equity-and-inclusion/equity-inclusion-resources/accessibility-survey
- Sponsoring the creation of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ affinity groups with plans to create additional groups in the future.
Many hardworking individuals have assisted with these undertakings, so we are excited to share the fruits of their labor. Further details will become available in our second “Meet and Greet” session, scheduled for January 13 at 4:00 p.m. EST / 1:00 p.m. PST.
—Josie Maldonado, EIC member, email@example.com
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