Presidential Sites & Library Conference

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April 18, 2014 - 9:00 pm Early Bird Registration Deadline
May 2, 2014 - 9:00 pm Pre-registration Deadline

The Presidential Sits & Library Conference

Beyond the Presidency: Historical Context and Modern Reality June 2-5, 2014
Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock, Arkansas

Presidential sites are the memory keepers of each presidency. They remind us of the best each of these Presidents had to offer in leadership, character, and service. But should they offer only a snapshot in history? Photos, footage, documents, costumes, and artifacts that immerse us in an earlier time in our own or our Nation’s historical life allow us to view another era. To understand our present and shape our future we must know our past.

In this time continuum, how do sites manage the centrifugal forces of historical context and ever evolving modern reality to shape how they present the history of the time and offer lessons in leadership, character, and service?

Conference Schedule

Monday, June 2

1-5pm Tour – A Place Called Hope (Additional fee of $35)
One of President Clinton’s most well-known quotes is one about his boyhood home, “I still believe in a place called Hope.” Join us for a half-day bus trip to the National Park Service’s newest Presidential Site, the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home, where he learned many of the early lessons that defined his life and his presidency.

6:30-9pm Evening Event - Old State House
Keynote speaker: Evan Thomas
Evan Thomas was made Editor at Large of Newsweek in September 2006 and served as is the magazine’s lead writer on major news stories and the author of many longer features, including Newsweek’s special behind-the-scenes issues on presidential elections, and more than a hundred cover stories. For ten years, Thomas was Newsweek’s Washington bureau chief. He was an Assistant Managing Editor from 1991 to 2006. From 1977-1986, he was a writer and editor at Time magazine. He has won numerous journalism awards and is the author of six books, all published by Simon & Schuster. In 2003-04, Thomas was a visiting professor at Princeton. In 2004-05, he was a visiting professor at Harvard. In 2006-2007, he was a visiting professor at Harvard and Princeton. In the fall of 2007 he began a five-year term at Princeton as Ferris Professor of Journalism. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Society of American Historians and a former trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. He is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School. He lives with his wife and two children in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, June 3

9-10:45am General Session
Anniversaries and Commemoration: The Responsibilities and Promise of Presidential Sites
Our sites hold tremendous promise and responsibility. We, as a profession, are on a continuing quest to make our collections and sites meaningful; to increase their relevance to an ever-broadening and diverse audience; to meet the challenges of changing forms of communication and changing economy; and to take advantage of the constantly emerging technologies that have the potential to enable us to increase access to history experiences. The promise of remembrance and new beginnings is inherent in the work of commemoration, a core promise that energizes our investigations and innovations in the work of history. What are the opportunities and challenges of this commemorative mantle? How should presidential sites address anniversaries, both celebratory and tragic?
Session Chair: Bob Beatty, AASLH
Panelists: Nicola Longford, Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Robert A. Enholm, The President Woodrow Wilson House
Erin Carlson Mast, President Lincoln’s Cottage

11am-12:30pm Breakout sessions

  1. National Significance & Local Impact: Connecting Communities to the Presidential Sites in their Backyards
    We often tell presidential history on a national or even international level, and many of our sites attract visitors from all over the country or the world. This type of focus can lead to challenges in connecting with our local communities. This session will highlight the work being done at some presidential sites to engage their local constituencies. The staff members describing the projects will highlight what they have done as well as the benefits and challenges they have encountered through their projects. Session participants will leave with concrete ideas for projects that will allow them to connect better with their local communities.
    Session Chair: Linnea Grim, Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello)
  2. Connecting Presidential Collections: Centralizing Access to Digital Resources
    Interested in bringing more traffic to your digital collections? Want to participate with other great presidential sites and libraries to reach more people? Come and hear about Connecting Presidential Collections, a website that provides users one place to search across presidential resources. The Miller Center at UVA will discuss this IMLS-funded project by highlighting the participating partners and discussing future collaboration opportunities. The session will also detail the metadata aggregation and the map the road forward.
    Session Chair: Sheila Blackford and Amber Lautigar Reichert, Miller Center, University of Virginia

1:30-3:30pm Clinton Presidential Center

  1. Tours of Clinton Presidential Library
  2. Tours of Clinton Presidential Museum
  3. Tours of University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service

3:45-5:15pm General Session
Recovering our National Treasures: Case Studies of Internal and External Thefts from the National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives has been the victim of theft at least six times in the past two decades. The list of culprits contains trusted employees, researchers, con men, and a former National Security Adviser. How did they to do it? How were they caught? We will examine six case studies from the files of the National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Inspector General and not only answer those questions, but also look for lessons learned on how to prevent and detect thefts from archival institutions.

Introductory comments: David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States
Speakers: Matthew Elliott, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, Office of Inspector General and Mitch Yockelson, Investigative Archivist, Office of Inspector General, National Archives and Records Administration

6:30-9pm Evening Event Clinton Presidential Center

Wednesday, June 4

9-11:30am Central High School
On September 25, 1957 Little Rock’s Central High School was the site of one of the most dramatic events of the Civil Rights Movement when nine African American students walked through an angry and hostile crowd to integrate the school. Significant to Presidential Sites and Libraries, members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne division protected the Little Rock 9 at the order of President Eisenhower, who had also federalized the Arkansas National Guard to prevent Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus from using the guard to prevent integration. Our visit will include tours of the National Historic Site and museum as well as a visit with current Central High students to examine change over time in Little Rock and at the school.

12-1pm Lunch and Affinity breakouts at Clinton Presidential Center

1:15-2:15pm General Session
Reflections on The Little Rock Crisis
In this panel discussion, two members of the Little Rock Nine, Carlotta Walls-LaNier and Ernest Green, will share their memories of the Little Rock Crisis of 1957 and the ongoing work of the Little Rock Nine Foundation. Ernest Green was the first African American male to graduate from Central High School in 1958. Carlotta Walls-LaNier was the youngest Little Rock Nine member to integrate Central High School at age 14.
Session Chair: Clinton Foundation

2:30-4pm Breakout sessions

  1. Connecting the Nation to White House History
    On January 1, 2010, the White House Historical Association established the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History at Decatur House, a research and educational institute housed at a National Trust for Historic Preservation site. Currently, the center provides ongoing educational programs for students, teachers, scholars, and the general public on the history of the White House and the President’s Neighborhood. Among its future strategic plans, the development of a digital library will provide unparalleled opportunities for online research and distance learning. In this session, the speakers who hold diverse positions within the White House Historical Association will share their experiences with planning and creating a National Center for a national audience, including the lessons learned and challenges faced. Each panelist will address the offerings and goals of the National Center and incorporate ways in which it could be used as a resource for other sites.
    Session Chair: Courtney Speckmann, White House Historical Association
  2. Hanging Out with the President: Using New Technologies in Presidential Education
    Presidential sites around the country are experimenting with new technologies for bringing educational resources to schools and educators. Discover how videoconferencing, Skype and Google Hangout are transforming the way that presidential sites and libraries are connecting to students and teachers around the world. What creative approaches are being used to make history come alive for audiences far away from the sites themselves? How can this technology to better link sites for planning and collaboration?
    Session Chair: Sharron Conrad, Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
    Panelists: Kate Langdorf, Education Programs Manager at Ford’s Theatre;  Mark Adams, Education Specialist at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum; James Yasko, Director of Education and Interpretation at The Hermitage

4:15-5:45pm General Session

The Presidency and Foreign Policy
Convened by the Clinton Foundation, this panel discussion brings together Samuel Berger, national security adviser for the Clinton Administration; Thomas Donilon, national security adviser for the Obama Administration; and other leading foreign policy officials, to discuss global trends and their implications for the United States.
Session Chair: Clinton Foundation

6:30-9pm Evening Event at Historic Arkansas Museum

Thursday, June 5

8:30am-5pm Tour – Presidents to Kings (Additional Fee of $75)

After spending several days exploring the theme of Beyond the Presidency: Historical Context and Modern Reality, take a day trip to Memphis and explore the lives and work of two of America’s most famous kings: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Elvis Presley. We will begin our day with a tour of Graceland, one of America’s most-visited historic houses. Following a lunch of famous Memphis barbeque, we will explore the Civil Rights Movement at Memphis’s National Civil Rights Museum, housed at the motel where Dr. King was assassinated.

Those wishing to depart for home from Memphis may make their own transportation arrangements to the Memphis airport.