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Chairman Harold Forbes called the meeting to order at 1:37 p.m. In addition to Mr. Forbes, other voting members present were Tommy Bailey, Dr. Melissa Bingmann, Dr. Robert Conte, Nat DeBruin, Victor Greco, Darlene Hassler, Dr. Charles Ledbetter, Audy Perry, and Nathan Randolph. Voting members absent were Rebecca Frye, Dr. David Trowbridge, and Dr. Joan Walker. Ex officio voting member present was Fredrick Armstrong. Ex officio voting member absent was Dr. William Arnett. Ex officio non-voting members present were Joe Geiger, director, Archives and History Section; Hanna Law, representing the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; Charles Morris, director, Museums Section; Susan Pierce, director, Historic Preservation Section; Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of Culture and History; and J. Logan Smith, president of Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Also present were Historic Preservation staff members Jennifer Brennan, Pam Brooks, and Jeff Smith.

At the luncheon prior to the meeting, the commission was joined by Jon Peede, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and United States Senator Shelley Moore Capito stopped by briefly to greet commission members and all three praised the efforts of the group.

Chairman Forbes asked for a motion on the meeting minutes of October 16, 2017. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. Randolph with a second by Mr. Greco. The minutes were approved.

Chairman Forbes called for a motion to approve the agenda distributed to members (copy attached to official minutes). Dr. Ledbetter made a motion to approve the agenda with a second by Mr. Randolph. The motion was approved.

Chairman Forbes called upon Mr. Geiger for the Archives and History report. He referred members to information provided in the monthly reports for September through December 2017 (copies attached to official minutes) and reviewed recent activities. Geiger noted that staff had completed processing the Jennings Randolph Collection, which includes more than 930 cubic feet of material, and created an extensive on-line finding aid. Plans are being made for a June 20 event commemorating Randolph and his collection. He also mentioned the addition of the Tanner J. Livisay Collection and the earliest original records from the offices of the county clerks in Doddridge and Lewis counties.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Ms. Pierce for the Historic Preservation report. She provided a written report to members (copy attached to official minutes) and briefly reviewed section activities. The end-of-year report was submitted to the National Park Service and Ms. Brooks has finished the paperwork to close out the Hurricane Sandy grants. Ms. Brennan has met with several historic landmark commissions and conducted site visits and tax credit workshops. Staff continued to monitor development grants and provide guidance on National Register projects, and a consultant has been hired to conduct the northern panhandle five county survey project.

In response to Dr. Conte’s question about the capitol dome, Ms. Pierce remarked that it has leaked but capable firms have been employed to work on it. Mr. Armstrong stated it was not the first time engineers have worked on the dome and noted past failures. In response to a question from Dr. Bingmann, Jeff Smith informed commission members that amending or expanding an existing historic district was not as lengthy a process as that for a standard nomination.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Mr. Morris for the Museums report. He provided a written report to members (copy attached to official minutes) and reviewed recent activities, including a new exhibit at Grave Creek Mound. Mr. Armstrong asked about the Cass Gilbert desk noted as part of the stories on Supreme Court renovations, and Mr. Morris responded that he had no knowledge of the desk’s location and that the communications director would be best suited to respond to questions about it. Armstrong stated he believed an effort should be made to re-establish contact with the Cass Gilbert furnishings and have them returned to the Capitol Complex.

Chairman Forbes then called on J. Logan Smith for the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia report. Smith spoke about efforts with the AmeriCorps program and the revolving loan fund and informed members that the endangered properties list was forthcoming.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Hanna Law for the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey report. She reviewed new initiatives, including renovations on two main buildings, infrastructure improvements, and geothermal energy on the WVU campus and noted that tours of the museum are expected to increase in the summer.

Due to Dr. Arnett’s absence, there was no West Virginia Historical Association report.

Chairman Forbes then called upon Mr. Armstrong for the West Virginia Historical Society report. Armstrong noted that the newsletter had been published and distributed and stated that the organization continued to support History Day.

Chairman Forbes then called on Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith for the report on the Division of Culture and History. He reviewed recent activities throughout the division and discussed the budget situation. The commissioner hoped to get full funding restored and was confident it would happen. He also reviewed this year’s History Bowl competition and mentioned his wishes for a statewide history advocacy conference.

Turning to Old Business, Chairman Forbes called for an update on previous National Register nominations. Jeff Smith reported that the National Park Service approved the Fort Gay High School nomination on December 18, 2017, and the Wild Goose Farm nomination is still pending.

Chairman Forbes then introduced “Confederate Monuments and Memorials in West Virginia: A Policy Statement from the West Virginia Archives and History Commission” (copy attached to official minutes) and asked for comments and/or recommendations regarding this document. Dr. Ledbetter offered a replacement paragraph and Mr. Forbes stated he would incorporate it. Mr. Randolph asked if the intention was to make amendments on the proposal and vote today. Chairman Forbes responded that the document was a draft to be used for discussion purposes and that no vote would be taken at this meeting. Randolph thanked the chair for his effort and stated that he believed Ledbetter’s replacement paragraph added to its value. Mr. Perry and Dr. Bingmann also made comments on the subject. Mr. Perry left the meeting.

There were no National Register nominations for presentation.

Chairman Forbes then called on Ms. Pierce to present the FY2018 Survey and Planning Grants. She explained that the grants panel, which consisted of Dr. Michael Hohn, Sondra Mullins, and Gavin Hale, had met and prepared a recommendation report (copy attached to official minutes). She reminded commission members that 10 percent of the annual state appropriation from the National Park Service was set aside for Certified Local Governments (CLGs). After Mr. J. Logan Smith recused himself, Mr. Randolph made a motion to approve the recommendations for the archaeological survey grants and Mr. Armstrong provided the second. Armstrong asked if the communities with multiple grants would be able to complete their projects and Ms. Brooks confirmed that they would. Dr. Conte asked about the workshop in Moorefield and Ms. Pierce informed him it would be bid out. The motion carried. Mr. Smith returned to the meeting.

Mr. Greco made a motion to accept grant panel recommendations for the educational activities grants and Dr. Conte provided the second. Motion carried. Mr. Greco recused himself.

Dr. Ledbetter made a motion for approval of the grant panel recommendations for the pre-development grants and Mr. Randolph provided the second. The motion passed.

Dr. Bingmann made a motion to approve grant panel recommendations for the survey grants and Mr. Bailey provided the second. Motion carried.

Mr. Bailey made a motion to include the words “with the provision authorizing staff to move funds from cancelled projects or projects unable to use all available funding to the next project in order of priority or to increase funding to an approved project needing additional funds” to the above motions approving 2018 Survey and Planning grants. Dr. Ledbetter provided the second and the motion passed. Mr. Greco returned to the meeting.

Chairman Forbes then notified the commission that he had appointed Dr. Ledbetter and Mr. Bailey to a nominating committee to propose a chairperson and vice-chairperson. They will report their recommendations at the next meeting.

Chairman Forbes noted that the Spring meeting is to be held at Pipestem Resort State Park on June 1, 2018, with a backup date of June 8. The Fall meeting will be held at Hawks Nest State Park on September 28 with October 5 as the backup date.

Mr. Randolph noted that Dr. Ledbetter had completed his most recent publication and offered, on behalf of the commission, his congratulations.

Mr. Armstrong made a motion to adjourn and Chairman Forbes declared the meeting adjourned at 3:53 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph N. Geiger, Jr. Secretary

Archives and History Commission

West Virginia Archives and History