Historical Commission Meeting

Monday, June 12, 2023, 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm
Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
A meeting of the Historical Commission

Meeting of Historical Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Absent: Carole Desanti
  • Absent: Susan Lynton
  • Present: Ann Tweedy, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Sara Robinson, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Susan Mareneck, Chair, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Edie Field, Honorary, at 7:00 PM
  • Present: Anne Schuyler, at 7:15 PM
  • Present: Eva Gibavic, at 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Pleun Bouricius

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:05 PM

Meeting closed: 8:52 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. LHC Business

    • Mission & Vision - Revisit Mission statement. Update timeline. Who wants to work on the timeline?

      General Discussion...
      It was decided to hold discussion until all members are present.

    • Town website - Update from subcommittee on Redesign of Historical Commission page: add mission statement, links to agendas, minutes, etc.. Update and incorporate the ''Leverett History'' page as the interface for links to the LHC programming, reference to ''places of interest'', such as mills, museums, Peace Pagoda, etc.. Create a ''digital vault''; possibility of online exhibitions?

      General Discussion...
      The subcommittee met on May 25 to look at historical commission websites from other towns in order to begin the redesign and condense the main page on the town website. Whether links to programming should appear on the business page may depend on whether the town as a whole elects to make the ''News'' column appear only on the home page, not every other additional page as it currently does. We will inquire about who would make such a decision for the town website. If the ''News'' column was removed from the LHC. page, there would be room for a column on the left with links. These are all aspects of creating a ''digital vault'', which will need to be coordinated with the town records (town clerk) as well. Ann Tweedy offered to take a stab at drafting a new layout for the LHC main business page.

      Eva reports that the LHC YouTube page, where LHC programs will be archived is up; she will send us links and access information once she has completed the process. We will also have a Google ''Docs'' account for research/program materials and an external hard-drive for back-up. Where links to these will be located on the town website is still up in the air.

      We envision possibly using the ''Leverett History'' page on the website for additional descriptive materials, links to other organizations with resources on Leverett, etc.. Pleun has diagrammed an online presence for the LHC which we are working from to develop a more user-friendly digital presence. Links to LHC program archives might be a 3rd page with links to YouTube, etc. All 3 pages would link to each other as well. She envisioned a possible 4th page with exhibitions of materials to engage the public in Leverett's history, a commission mandate.

      We will bring a possible connection - NEDCC (North East Document Conservation Center) - to Lisa Stratford, town clerk, to assist in her search for a resource to help with digitizing the town vault records.

      Ann Tweedy will reach out again to her friend ''Bob'', who suggested a program called ''Rescarta'' as a possible software solution for digital archiving collections, etc.. We want the current work with the Leverett Historical Society collections. being done by UMass Public History grad students presently under a CPA funded grant, to be accessible to the public. A spreadsheet is being created with links. Where materials are archived and hosted is key to whether they are available to researchers. Some historical materials (town meeting minutes and vital records books scanned by the Boston Public Library) are available on Digital Commonwealth now.

  3. Preservation Planning for Historical Assets

    • Industrial History Programming - UPDATE - CPA-funded programming: ASOWYA (''A Sense of Where You Are: Getting to Know Leverett's Industrial Past'') Next steps: 1. ''Embodied History'' 2. ''Signage''.

      General Discussion...
      Accounting errors have been corrected. Both CPA grants (ASOWYA and the Collection Inventory) know what the balance is in their accounts and it squares with the LHC records.

    • LHS Collection Inventory - LHS Collection Inventory - Moore's Corner Schoolhouse and Field Family Museum collections inventoried and digitized. Status? Next steps? Raise additional funding? Speak with archivist ''Bob'' (and Brian Cooke IT advisor to the town?) about '' Rescarta'' shareware?

      General Discussion...
      (See discussion above under ''Town Website''). Olivia, new UMass Public History Dept. grad. student will be working on digitizing more materials over the summer.

    • Preservation Planning - Preservation Planning for Leverett's Historical assets: Updates on: Field Family Museum Ad Hoc Committee; Moore's Corner School House (LHS); Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill and ''Heritage Site & Nature Trail''; Rattlesnake Gutter Trust, Rattlesnake Gutter Road restoration.

      General Discussion...
      When the Friends of the North Leverett Sawmill (FONLS) begin their work with Mass Historical Commission and others to write an HPR which can be ''in perpetuity'', Eva volunteers - with her experience from RGT in writing conservation restrictions - to represent the Historical Commission in the discussions.

    • Preservation Planning - Creating the environment for preservation planning as well as increasing access to Leverett history: What are the other ways the LHC goes about ''Preservation Planning''? How does the LHC create the environment for valuing Leverett history? What have we done to date? What tools do we have? Are there endangered historic properties in town that we can help provide context for preserving? Does Leverett want to be a part of the national 250th celebration in 2026?

      General Discussion...
      ''Preservation Planning'' is often activities to engage the public in valuing history (as a key to understanding the present) which in turn often creates a positive environment for preservation. Making the case that activities which are not directly ''preserving/restoring, etc..'' are still ''preservation activities'' is important work of the LHC. For instance, research that makes it possible to articulate the reason to keep a historic resource, is a ''preservation'' activity. Pleun wrote up and shared a draft document making the case for the importance of the LHC in assisting the general public to appreciate and thus support the preservation of historic assets.

      As we develop a proposal for the CPA Commission for October 2023, understanding what ''preservation planning'' encompasses will be key.

      When the MA State Law 40 Section 8D, states that the Historical Commission's mandate is to identify, protect, preserve and develop the material evidence of the ...heritage of Leverett.'' (''...for the preservation, protection and development of the historical or archeological assets of such city or town. Such commission shall conduct researches for places of historic or archeological value, shall cooperate with the state archeologist in conducting such researches or other surveys, and shall seek to coordinate the activities of unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes, and may advertise, prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts, plans and pamphlets which it deems necessary for its work...) ''development'' means identifying historical assets. The LHC's work is creating an environment for preservation. It is important to help other boards and committees understand that mandate.

      Commissioners agree that we need to continue to share, explain and communicate what the LHC is called upon to do to others as we make the case for continued town support for programming.

  4. Access to Historical Commission meetings -

  5. New Business

    • Leverett 250th in 2024 - Leverett 250th Anniversary update: Souvenirs, ''Hidden History'', etc..

      General Discussion...
      There have been two recent inquiries by people from out of town who are interested in Leverett history: one, a woman from CA who is going to be in Leverett researching a woman who moved to CA during the Gold-Rush in the 19th c., and had ties to Leverett, the other who has a relative buried in Leverett and is concerned about the state of upkeep of the cemetery. The first visitor is being hosted/coordinated in July by the Field family and the second should be referred to the Cemetery Association.

  6. Meeting Wrap-up

    • Next Meetings:
      1. Mon, Jul 10, at 6:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- CANCELLED -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      2. Mon, Aug 14, at 6:30 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      3. Mon, Sep 11, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      4. Tue, Sep 19, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      5. Mon, Oct 16, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
      6. Mon, Nov 13, at 7:00 PM "Historical Commission Meeting" -- Town Hall & online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85720560676?pwd=bThuajB1LzFWTG9ndU51WUhGZks1QT09
    • Published! Meeting Closed at 8:52 PM.

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 Sunday, Oct 1, 2023