Thursday, June 02, 2011

Funeral for a Friend

The Save America's Treasures program has been a huge help in the world of museum anthropology -- and now it is gone ...

Dear Friends and Fans of Save America's Treasures:

We write with great regret and a heavy heart to update you on Save America’s Treasures. As you will see from the memo below from Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we were informed late last week that Save America’s Treasures will officially close as a program of the National Trust on June 30th. With the program's termination, our positions also will be eliminated.

For the past year and a half, since February 1, 2010 when we first learned of the Administration's puzzling decision to end the federal Save America's Treasures program, we have worked tirelessly with our Trust colleagues, federal partners and countless friends on Capitol Hill and across the country to ensure the program's survival. Throughout these challenging times, the hundreds of letters of support and offers of assistance we received from you boosted our spirits and strengthened our resolve. You should feel proud that this joint effort was a success and our voices were heard. With SAT's broad bi-partisan support, the House voted last August to re-instate SAT for 2011, and the Senate was poised to follow suit.

Unfortunately, as you know, a 2011 budget was not passed last year, and our federal funding fell victim to a new Congress and the ensuing budget battles. Because the President's budget did not include SAT for two years in a row, and Congress has decided against reinstating any programs the Administration has eliminated, Save America's Treasures will not be funded in 2012, either. Although we presented a variety of creative solutions to develop a fully-private program, the National Trust decided it could not maintain SAT without federal support.

This decision is disappointing and sad on many levels-- the end of a bright era in preservation, and for us personally. It has been an enormously rewarding 12+ years and a true pleasure and privilege to work with you, helping facilitate your incredible efforts to save our nation's rich heritage. We count our long-standing partnership and friendship with each of you as a highlight of our tenure at the Trust, and we hope our paths will cross again before too long. Our personal contact information is below, along with that of key representatives from our federal partner agencies for any ongoing SAT-related business.

In the coming months, the National Trust may invite you to participate in some of their other programs and activities. This is a challenging time for those of us concerned about the protection of our country’s precious cultural resources, but with the steadfast commitment you and so many others have shown over more than a decade, we are confident that better days lie ahead.

While the National Trust’s SAT program soon will be a memory, we share with you a proud legacy of treasured places we helped save. Keep up the great work, keep in touch, and thank you again for all you continue to do to ensure a brighter future for our past.

With warmest regards,

Bobbie Greene McCarthy, Director and Fiona M. Lawless, Program Manager
Save America’s Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation

P.S. We will be at our usual posts until June 30th, so please don’t hesitate to call if you have questions or would like to discuss this further. After June 30th we can be reached as follows:

Bobbie Greene McCarthy- cell: (301) 938-9931
Fiona M. Lawless- (301) 523-2724 or or look me up on Facebook!

Federal agency contacts for ongoing SAT-related questions:

Hampton Tucker, Chief, Historic Preservation Grants Division
National Park Service
(202) 354-2067

Kimber D. Craine, Director of Program Initiatives
President's Committee on the Arts & the Humanities
(202) 682-5661

Connie Bodner, Ph.D., Senior Program Officer
Institute of Museum and Library Services
1800 M St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 653-4636

Michael McLaughlin, Leadership Initiatives Coordinator
National Endowment for the Arts
(202) 682-5457

Mary Downs, Senior Program Officer
National Endowment for the Humanities
(202) 606-8456

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