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FW: Notice concerning Texas Historical Commission

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  • Max Heffler
    From Lynna Kay Shuffield: In addition, add talking point on the importance of the Historic Texas Cemetery Designation Program ... and other preservation
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 21, 2011
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      From Lynna Kay Shuffield:


      In addition, add talking point on the importance of the Historic Texas Cemetery Designation Program ... and other preservation activities including National Registry applications ...




      Dear Friend of Official Texas Historical Markers:


      We the undersigned are all former Texas Historical Commission staff members who have worked with the Texas historical marker program, and together our association with the agency goes back to the 1970s.


      Over the years there have been several attempts to cut the program budget, limit its effectiveness, and raise its costs to all of us beyond reason. Despite being underfunded and understaffed, we continued to persevere with your help and support, and today Texas has the most successful marker program in the nation, one that serves as a model for other states.


      The thousands of historical markers that dot our landscape, and enhance our highways and communities, reflect the pride Texans have in their history, but they also stand as testimony to a unique and far-reaching state-county partnership that works on behalf of all those who appreciate our heritage.


      Today, the THC faces the most serious threat it has encountered in its 58 years of existence, and the marker program is unfortunately on the front line. Even the best-case scenario being considered would include major cuts to staff and funding, and therefore the quality of the program. This will have a direct impact on county historical commissions as well.


      We know you, as someone who has long supported the marker program, share our concern about its continued existence, which is why we’re writing. The marker program needs your help now more than at any other time in the past. As you know all too well, history is part of a continuum, held in trust by current stewards for future generations. Any curtailment of such a successful program will only set us back as a state at a time when we have so many more young people who need to learn the full story of our past.


      We are asking that you join us in contacting your state legislators, as well as the governor’s office, to let them know how we as Texans value our rich history.


      You may also want to copy the THC staff/ commissioners so they are aware of your support on their behalf. The budget is on a fast track this session, and decisions will be made quickly in the weeks ahead, so the time to act is immediate. Anything you can do to support the marker program we have all worked so hard to build will be greatly appreciated by current Texans and tourists, and those who will inherit what we leave behind.


      For information about how to contact your legislator or to track the progress of the budget, visit the Texas Legislature Online website (http://www.capitol.state.tx.us).


      Below are some talking points you might consider when making your contacts. Thanks for all you do on behalf of Texas history.


      Your friends:


      Dan K. Utley, Pflugerville, Texas

      Cynthia J. Beeman, Austin, Texas

      Frances A. Rickard, Austin, Texas

      James W. Steely, Phoenix, Arizona

      Claire Williams Martindale, Harrisonburg, Virginia



      Talking points:

      • Texas has the most successful historical marker program in the nation, and it has served as a model for many other state programs.
      • The marker program in Texas begins at the county level, thereby supporting grassroots efforts of preservation, interpretation, and commemoration.
      • The Texas marker program offers one of the best means of interpreting the diverse history of our state.
      • Thousands of historic cemeteries and private structures in all regions of the state have been protected through marker designations.
      • Marker projects are mainstays of local preservation efforts.
      • Teachers across the state incorporate historical markers into their Texas history curricula, ensuring that future generations will have an appreciation for the past.
      • Markers are vital elements of tourism efforts throughout the state.
      • The THC maintains a database of historical markers that agencies and contractors use to plan for both public and private development projects.
      • The Texas marker program is built on a foundation of local sponsorship and volunteer assistance. Each year, county historical commissions donate multiple thousands of hours of work, which translate into significant financial savings for the state.
      • Historical markers are unique resources for heritage tourism, community pride, and public education.


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