Archive for the ‘News’ Category

4Culture’s statement on proposed King County ordinance 2018-0086
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The King County Council introduced Ordinance #2018-0086 on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. It states the Council has “determined that public funding for the cultural programs necessitates greater oversight and accountability to the public.” 4Culture is a respected public agency (Public Development Authority, PDA) with an excellent record of accomplishment and proven fiscal responsibility and accountability. The ordinance proposes changes to 4Culture’s charter and its by-laws that would have a significant impact by shifting responsibilities for budgeting, staffing, and board appointments from the 4Culture Board of Directors to the King County Council.

Current Oversight Measures:

  • All 4Culture funding grants are approved through a three-step process. Applications are evaluated by peer-panels, the selections are reviewed by community advisory committees, and finally approved by the 4Culture Board of Directors, comprised of fifteen leaders in the business and cultural sector.
  • The Auditor’s Office of Washington conducts an annual audit of 4Culture’s activities, financials, and compliance. 4Culture has been audited 23 times with only one finding—an outstanding record of governance and financial oversight. State Auditor Brian Sontag said in 2008, “This accomplishment shows 4Culture’s dedication to sound financial operations and timely financial reporting.”
  • Three King County Council members sit on the Board of Directors as ex-officio members and have full access to review operations,give input on grant activities and the budget, and report back to the full council. King County Council members have sat on the Board since 2003.
  • The selection and removal of the 4Culture Executive Director is the sole responsibility of the Board of Directors.
  • 4Culture presents two annual reports to the King County Council on programs, awards, revenues, expenses, initiatives, and activities. 4Culture’s senior leadership is called upon on a regular basis to meet with and advise the King County Council and Executive on arts and cultural related matters.
  • Our three ex-officio Councilmembers also sit as voting members on the Board Nominating Committee, which presents two to three recommendations to the King County Executive for each open position. Our existing charter calls out a careful process to consider geographic and racial diversity as well as maintaining a balance of expertise in the agency’s four program areas: artsheritagepreservation and public art.

The proposed ordinance would:

  • Give the King County Council the right to accept or reject 4Culture’s annual budget. If 4Culture’s budget is rejected, King County lodging taxpublic art, and other funds to 4Culture will not be released until the 4Culture board submits a new budget for council approval. Withholding revenues would disrupt annual grant programs and Public Art projects.
  • Give the Council the authority to remove the Executive Director with or without 4Culture Board approval.The King County Council does confirm King County Department heads, but does not have the authority to remove them. Under this ordinance, the Executive Director would serve at the discretion of the King County Council and not the 4Culture Board.
  • Give the King County Council the ability to appoint the majority of the 4Culture board—nine of fifteen members—by council district, eliminating the 4Culture Nominating Committee’s recruitment process. It reduces the nominations of the King County Executive to six members.

There are 14 public agencies similar to 4Culture located in King and Pierce Counties. If this ordinance is passed, 4Culture will be the only one with a governing authority—in this case, the King County Council—that has direct political veto power over the Executive Director, can remove professional staff, can veto program or capital budgets, and can appoint Board Directors by elective district.

For More Information:
Proposed Ordinance #2018-0086
See the full text of the ordinance, as introduced by the King County Council on January 24, 2018.

Proposed Changes to 4Culture Charter
See the full text of 4Culture’s charter, with the Council’s proposed additions marked in blue, and proposed deletions marked in red.

Proposed Changes to 4Culture Bylaws
See the full text of 4Culture’s bylaws, with the Council’s proposed additions marked in blue, and proposed deletions marked in red.


AKCHO annual meeting attendees get ‘Beyond the Frame’ preview
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Seventy AKCHO members and friends of AKCHO gathered at the Museum of Flight on January 30 for AKCHO’s annual meeting and were treated to a panel of distinguished guests who gave a preview of the kind of conversations to expect when “Beyond the Frame – To Be Native” officially launches on February 16. (Ed. note: visit the AKCHO calendar for launch details.)

Panelists (pictured above) included Miranda Belarde-Lewis (University of Washington Information School), Lydia Sigo (Suquamish Museum curator), Shannon Kopelva (Beyond the Frame – To Be Native coordinator) and moderator Jodee Fenton (Seattle Public Library).

Fenton noted that the conversation around how to mark the sesquicentennial of photographer Edward S. Curtis’s birth had deepened substantially since the initial plans were proposed. There has been general acknowledgement that while Curtis’s photography is beautiful, it was often staged – an attempt to recreate the “glory” years. Believing that Native American culture was doomed, Curtis tried to capture as much of it as he could in his 20-volume work of narrative text and photography titled The North American Indian. The project consumed nearly 30 years.

Sigo, who is following in her father’s footsteps as a curator at the Suquamish Museum, noted that there is a misperception that Curtis saved Native American culture. “That’s not true. Our ancestors were saving our culture, even when that was illegal,” she said. However, she recommended looking beyond the photographs, saying that the narrative portion of Curtis’s work, and some of the early recordings he made to capture traditional songs, had more authenticity and value.

Belarde-Lewis told the audience that the heritage community has a pivotal role to play in helping to dismantle a historical trajectory that has favored a privileged standpoint. She argued for “de-centering” on Curtis. “We are putting him on a year-long pedestal.”

Instead, she urged audience members to “challenge yourselves and your visitors and what it is you are trying to get across here.”

The panelists praised the adoption of the new Since Time Immemorial K-12 curriculum in Washington State, which will not only provide education in Native American history and culture for all, but also mandate teacher training in the curriculum.

During the business portion of the annual meeting, Alice Stenstrom was elected to a second term on the board and Judie Romeo was officially elected to the board for the first time, although she has served on the board since last spring, after founding AKCHO member Dick Wagner passed away. Jennifer Meisner, Preservation Officer of the King County Historic Preservation Program gave a presentation, and there were also remarks from 4Culture heritage lead Brian Carter and 4Culture executive director Jim Kelly, who will be retiring this spring.



Interurban car designated City of Snoqualmie Landmark
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The newest and perhaps most unusual City of Snoqualmie Landmark is a wooden electric interurban car.The City of Snoqualmie Landmark Commission approved the nomination of car 523 to the Register at a meeting on January 25. 

Built by St. Louis Car in 1907, Car 523 entered service between Seattle and Tacoma in February 1908. The Puget Sound Electric Railway operated electric trains between Seattle and Tacoma from 1902 through 1928. Much of the line was energized with power from Snoqualmie Falls.  Car 523 is the last known surviving Seattle-Tacoma electric interurban car, and originally served as a combination coach/parlor/observation car. 

Car 523 was donated to the The Northwest Railway Museum in September 2017 and a $11,000 grant from 4Culture funded its move from Petaluma, California to Snoqualmie, Washington.  The Museum prepared and submitted the landmark nomination last Fall; this was the Commission’s first meeting since. To read more about the nomination, click here



AKCHO past, present and future – please join us in 2018!
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Nancy Salguero McKay, Highline Historical Society, and Kim Owens, Renton History Museum, view AKCHO’s display board at UW Museology Program’s Internship Fair. Photo credit Barbara McMichael

by Virginia Wright, AKCHO Treasurer

As the year 2017 winds down we look back at a year of excellent monthly AKCHO member meetings, which provided members with the opportunity to visit interesting locations throughout the county, along with professional education and networking activities relevant to our sector of the arts and culture community. We also gathered as a group at our Annual Meeting for Members and celebrated and recognized the accomplishments of some of the individuals and organizations within the history and heritage community at our annual Awards Program.

This year we made some changes to the administration and funding of our organization and we now have our first directly paid staff member, who oversees all of the administrative paperwork and communication for AKCHO. We would be unable to provide you with the excellent resources and communication without her expert help.

All of this valuable work relies on the financial support of our members. As we enter into 2018 we invite you to renew your annual membership, or join as a member for the first time. Memberships are now structured differently, with a tiered system that takes into account the size of members’ operational budgets. For your convenience, you can fill out the membership form using our online form, or if you prefer, you can download and mail in the form along with your membership dues.

Thank you for your participation in local history and heritage. We cannot do this work without your support!


NAAM names new exec director
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LaNesha DeBardelaben will soon be taking the helm at the Northwest African American Museum

LaNesha DeBardelaben has been named the new Executive Director of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in Seattle. Her 15+ year career in museums has been spent in Michigan, most recently as Senior Vice President of Education & Exhibitions at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. At the Wright Museum, which is the nation’s second largest African American museum, DeBardelaben was instrumental in managing successful educational, exhibition, and community initiatives and led the Wright Museum through two valuable Museum Assessment Programs (MAP) to enhance museum practice. LaNesha began her career in museums in 2001 at the National Museum of Kenya in Africa, and has studied museum and library management in England and Germany. 

As Executive Director at NAAM, DeBardelaben looks to enrich the funding, strategic planning, community engagement, programming, profile, and overall operations of NAAM in significant ways. “I am elated at the opportunity to join such a dynamic and important African American museum,” she said. “I look forward to working closely with the talented staff, passionate board, and dedicated community of Seattle to accelerate NAAM’s mission-driven growth and impact.” 
DeBardelaben is well-positioned to provide executive leadership to the museum. She is a national board member of the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) where she serves as board secretary and Program Chair of AAAM’s 40th anniversary 2018 conference to be held in Hampton, Virginia. She also serves on the national board of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) where she chairs ASALH’s national Marketing & PR Committee. She recently served on the Michigan Museums Association board as well. Ms. DeBardelaben brings vast insights and expertise in museum education and programming, project management, and public relations.
While in Detroit, Ms. DeBardelaben received numerous awards for her extraordinary community and professional service, including the 2014 Crain’s Detroit’s 40 Under 40, 2015 Michigan Chronicle’s Women of Excellence, and 2017 Michigan Chronicle’s 40 Under 40. She is a graduate of both the Jekyll Island Management Institute for museum managers and Leadership Detroit for civic leaders. 
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are thrilled to have such a prominent, enthusiastic and experienced leader join the NAAM family,” says NAAM Board President Debbie Bird. “For nearly ten years, NAAM has provided new narratives of the black experience through exhibits that celebrate local and national African American artists. We look forward to the prominent role she will play in shaping our future.”
Ms. DeBardelaben earned a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Kalamazoo College, a Master of Arts in history and museum studies from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, a Master of Library Science in archives management from Indiana University-Bloomington, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in U.S. and African American history at Michigan State University.



Heritage Advisor is published by the Association of King County Historical Organizations as a service to members and those who support its mission. We update our website continually throughout the month, and on the first of every month we e-mail a condensed version of Heritage Advisor to our mailing list – you can subscribe to this service by filling out the requested information in the right sidebar on this page.

AKCHO was established in 1977 to encourage cooperation among historical organizations; promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve; and support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

The Heritage Advisor welcomes submissions of news items, calendar items, and opinion columns from AKCHO members, HA subscribers, and readers. Articles are limited to 300 words and they should have a strong relevance to historic preservation and heritage issues in King County, Washington. Submission of an article does not guarantee publication. AKCHO does not pay for published submissions. All articles are subject to review by AKCHO staff. Please send your article within the body of an email (no attachments, please) to

AKCHO welcomes new members year round. Individual memberships are $25, and we have a three-tiered system for organizational memberships, with dues dependent on budget size. For more information and an application form, visit

More than 150 individuals and organizations support heritage work and historic preservation in King County, thanks to their membership in AKCHO. Please join us!




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AKCHO was established to encourage cooperation among historical organizations and to promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve, and to support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

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