SUMMIT TOPIC: The Department of Arkansas Heritage
A date has been set for "A Summit of Concerned Arkansans"
about the Department of Arkansas Heritage,
the state Archives
and other issues related to management of the dpartment
by Stacy Hurst.
"Saving Our Arkansas Heritage"
is the topic and the meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 24, at the Darragh Center of the downtown library. It is intended to "discuss the challenges" facing agencies in the Department and "to devise means for addressing those challenges.."
The notice came to me from Friends of the State Archives. Linda Boyle is president, Lynda Suffridge is vice president and Tom Dillard is treasurer. Dillard, a retired historian at UA and former director of the department, has been a leader in criticism
of the forced resignation of Lisa Speer,
the state archivist, and other issues at the Heritage Department.
According to a release:
The purpose of the meeting is to develop a unified and state-wide response to threats to our heritage. Over the past three years a variety of unfortunate and ill-advised policies and personnel actions have occurred in the Department of Arkansas Heritage which have, when taken together, imperiled the state’s efforts to preserve our heritage, our culture, and our historic places. A series of coerced resignations have threatened the continuation of programs and services which have been decades in development. Arbitrary and uninformed decisions about funding, personnel, office-space matters, etc. have resulted in numerous challenges, especially low morale.
Representatives of historical, genealogical, archeological, museum, library and
preservation groups are urged to attend.
Register by sending an email to arktopia.td@gmail. com or call 501-771-1012. Register as an individual or indicate the group being represented.
I've asked for a comment from Hurst. She's said previously,
and has written in an op-ed for the Democrat-Gazette, that the department is operating better than ever.