Historical Commission meeting

Monday, September 18, 2017, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
Town Hall
A meeting of the Historical Commission

Meeting of Historical Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Absent: Betsy Douglas
  • Absent: Sara Robinson
  • Absent: Carole Desanti
  • Present: Ann Tweedy, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Mareneck, Chair, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Edie Field, Honorary, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Lynton, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Anne Schuyler, at 7:00 PM

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:10 PM

Meeting closed: 9:20 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. 1. Update - Digital Archives Project & Cemeteries (SM, SL & EF)

    • Cemeteries - Cemetery Preservation Campaign/ Research/ Conservation (brief update)

      General Discussion...
      Edie Field has hand-written thank you notes to all donors. Agreed that we will also send a letter stating amount donated and statement about "no goods or services received" for donors to have for tax purposes. Susan M. will prepare draft for Edie to approve and sign.

    • Digital Archives Project - - Baptist Church archives (brief update).

      General Discussion...
      No progress to report on documenting or preparing Baptist Church archives to be sent to Boston Public Library for scanning.

      Leverett Conservation Commission Open Space Planning w/ FRCOG continues. LHC asked to assist with Section on "History of Community". Eva Gibavic assisting with mapping historic districts and cemeteries. She has come up with a discrepancy in Leverett Center NRHD boundaries not synchronizing with property lines. SM found MACRIS information on Leverett Center District to be incomplete (did not include many houses on Montague Road). Ask Betsy Douglas if she knows anything about this issue when she returns. What other sites should be indicated on OSP map? Town Pound? Roaring Brook mill sites? sluiceway below Slarrow sawmill on Sawmill River? Coke Kiln? Next meeting LCC-OSP, 9/27/17.

  3. 2. History related/ Cultural Event possibilities – (SR, EF, SM)

    • "Education in Leverett" - Oral History - "Education in Leverett- Village Schools to Consolidation" Oral History Project (brief update) . Invitation letters almost ready to go.

      General Discussion...
      Invitation letters to Leverett elders sent on 9/14/17. Dates have been set with LES for possible interviews on Tuesdays and Friday from 10/10 - 11/17, 10am - 2pm. 6th grade students will assist with developing questions for interviews. We will look for volunteers to help with transcribing the interviews and preparing the exhibition/presentation in Spring 2018; announcement in 10/1/17 newsletter.

      An LES field trip to the Moore's Corner School House might be possible in the Spring. Leverett Historical Society hopes to meet in November to take stock of what needs to be done up there.

  4. 3. Strategic Planning for Historical Assets Survey (AS, SL, SM)

    • Chris Skelly meeting - Local Historical Commissions and Benefits of Preservation Planning

      General Discussion...
      All who attended agreed that meeting with Chris Skelly from Mass Historical Commission on Friday, 8 September 10Am at Town Hall was worthwhile. He explained the importance of community-wide preservation planning, the difference between what we are calling a "Historical Assets Survey" and what MHC calls a "historical assets survey", by which they mean an "inventory" using the forms they provide (for districts, individual places, burial grounds, archaeological sites, etc.. He said they would call what we have created a "questionnaire" and what we are doing "outreach and education", (also an important mandate for an historical commission).

      He thought our planning process could be eligible for the "Survey & Planning Grant" program. Receipt of a S&P grant would require us to hire a consultant, have a local "project coordinator", develop a "scope of work". Funds awarded would need to be matched (fundraising, CPA, etc..). He asked about our inventory forms, how they are kept, updated, etc.. He will send updated planning manual; we can also find online and there is a video on Historical Commissions. We will send him the Historical Assets Survey Questionnaire when it is finalized.

      We discussed the economic benefits of "heritage tourism" even to small New England communities and the attraction of young professionals to live in communities that value their history and work together to preserve it.

    • Historical Assets Survey - Historical Assets Survey - Draft questions. Focus of the meeting to complete this survey before October 1st town newsletter deadline so link can be posted. - List of historical assets. - Edit questions - Goal of survey: to engage Leverett residents in making historical assets a benefit to community; establish priorities; create a long range plan (3-5yr) - Strategies for engaging citizens in taking the survey: day @ Library? NL Coop? Door-to-door? Online? at Town Hall?

      General Discussion...
      Length of survey and redundancy of some questions discussed. Removal of irrelevant data important so that residents will not feel it is intrusive (income). We plan to initiate the survey at the Harvest Festival on 10/14/17. It will be a "soft launch" before we post online or make copies to distribute, in order to test length and responses.

      LHC members have contributed descriptions for the "historical sites" section. It is hoped that this will be educational as well as informative of resident's levels of awareness of Leverett's historical assets. (A few test cases of presenting the HSA questionnaire to local folks have already produced awareness of historic archaeological sites in the Sawmill River that have not been documented to our knowledge.)

      We will announce it in the October newsletter to explain "why" and "what" we are doing.

  5. LHC

    • CPA Monitoring - CPA Monitoring - scheduling fall visits (October mtg.?)

      General Discussion...
      Tabled to October meeting.

    • Policies - Membership responsibilities? attendance?

      General Discussion...
      Tabled to October meeting.

  6. 5. LHS

    • Brief update of activities - Brief update of activities - Family Museum: Summer schedule. Fall? - School House Museum? - Meetings planned?

      General Discussion...
      Edie Field will check with Julie Shively regarding scheduling a Historical Society meeting in the fall at the Moore's Corner Schoolhouse Museum.

      The Leverett Family Museum will contribute some articles (to identify) for the "historical table" at the Harvest Festival, we will have signage and a game with a map of Leverett and cemetery names, town pound, charcoal kilns, etc. to see who knows where they are.

  7. New Business

    • Next meeting - Next meeting - (2nd Monday = Columbus Day holiday) Meeting 10/16

      General Discussion...
      SM will attend Select Board meeting 10/3 to propose LHC keeping SS Graves' scythes/snathes and sharpening wheels for display at MC Schoolhouse Museum.

      Eva wondered if we had been notified about a proposal to build a cell tower behind Betsy Douglas' ? We had not. Important to check on whether all Leverett's archaeological sites are registered with MHC (State Archaeologist maintains confidentiality.)

  8. Meeting Wrap-up

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes prepared by SM

Minutes approved on Friday, Nov 10, 2017

Posted to: Historical Commission.