By Kristine McCusker
Greetings from the Executive Office as we all continue to social distance and work from home. Middle Tennessee State University has reopened a bit, but with the high rates of covid in Rutherford County, we decided we would wait until the numbers fell before reconvening in our campus office. If you try to reach us, it’s still best to email us at OHA@oralhistory.org at least until August.
By now, you have read President Allison Tracy-Taylor’s column informing you of the switch from a face-to-face conference to an all-virtual one. This was a necessary step, given the coronavirus uncertainties and our unwillingness to put our membership in unsafe situations. Thankfully, we have the good advice from the American Council of Learned Societies and the experience of other professional organizations to guide us in our negotiations with our conference hotel in Baltimore. That expertise guided our successful renegotiation of the contract with no financial penalties. We are grateful to our peer institutions for their good advice throughout these difficult months.
Thanks to Louis Kyriakoudes, OHA’s co-executive director, we have also been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for more than $43,000. This has been Louis’ covid-quarantine project: to see what money the federal CARES and other legislative acts might have to help us weather the economic downturn associated with the virus. The NEH money will pay for some employment costs as well as assist us in putting on the virtual conference.
Finally, we are grateful to Vice President Dan Kerr, Program Co-Chairs Kelly Navies and Shana Farrell and Local Arrangements Co-Chairs Catherine Mayfield and Linda Shopes for their hard work on submitting a $10,000 grant to the Maryland Humanities Council. While they were not successful (covid was the culprit here), we’re grateful for their efforts in writing this grant.