CHC Outreach staff respond to the changing needs of CHCs across the state. In the summer of 2020, THC staff came together to provide direction to CHC appointees who wanted to stay active during the pandemic. Below, we outline several tasks that CHCs can pursue in safe and productive ways. Click here to visit the Texas Attorney General's website for Open Meetings COVID updates and a How-To for conducting open meetings remotely.
Pandemic's Effect on CHC Activity
In July 2020, THC staff surveyed CHC chairs to determine how many CHCs had resumed activity since the social distancing policies had been enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey results show that a number of CHCs continue to share local history and promote historic resources. The picture below shows Milam CHC holding its October meeting at Little River Baptist Church, the oldest church in the county.
Survey results are provided here and highlights are below. Comments address CHC activity between March and July 2020.
- 92 CHC chairs responded to July survey.
- 37 respondents had met virtually, in-person, or using both methods.
- 24 of the 37 respondents had used technology (phone, internet, etc.) to conduct meetings.
- 54 respondents had communicated in some way with county officials/staff about pandemic conditions.
- 65 respondents had resumed research efforts.
- 31 respondents had visited cemeteries to monitor sites.
- 95% of respondents stated that the CHC was active!
This survey was given to CHCs again in November 2020 to see if/how activity had improved over time. Results are provided under the last subheading of this webpage, along with a survey comparison spreadsheet.
How CHC Outreach Program Responded
To support CHC efforts to re-engage, CHC Outreach worked with several THC staff members to review the initial package of CHC recommendations published in 2016. The goal was to outline specific work items--rather than general efforts--so that CHC chairs had defined tasks to delegate to fellow appointees.
The 2020 interim recommendations are highlighted below and address work that can be performed while adhering to social distancing guidelines. These recommendations help establish clear communication between CHCs, the THC, and the public.
If able, access virtual meeting tools and use them to maintain communication with partners. Remember that THC staff can consult with you within virtual environments, by phone, and through email.
At right, THC Historian, Sarah McCleskey, participates virtually from her office in Austin to facilitate Q&A sessions with an audience at Galveston's Ashton Villa during a regional preservation symposium in 2017.
Recommendations That Consider Social Distancing
Here is a list of webpages that feature 2020 THC recommendations for work that can be performed within social distancing parameters. CHC Outreach staff promoted these interim recommendations over the CHC listserv in September 2020, providing additional information in the webpages noted below.
- CHC basics here.
- CHCs and Historical Markers here.
- CHCs and Cemeteries here.
- CHC Research and Writing here.
- CHCs and Historic Buildings here.
- CHCs and Archeology here.
As you review these recommendations, we encourage you to contact THC staff with questions or to discuss ongoing challenges. We also encourage you to continue to share accomplishments with the public. At right, Collin CHC promoted its virtual 2020 Preservation Celebration Awards over Facebook.
Changes in CHC Activity from July to October 2020
After promoting recommendations noted above, CHC Outreach staff spoke to many CHC appointees who were moving forward, figuring out ways to continue programs, projects, and services. CHC Outreach staff resurveyed CHC chairs in November 2020 to find out the extent to which activity had increased since the July survey.
Survey results are provided here and highlights are below. Comments address activity between March and October 2020.
- 121 CHC chairs responded to October survey.
- 81 respondents have met virtually, in-person, or using both methods.
- 35 of the 81 respondents have used technology (phone, internet, etc.) to conduct meetings.
- 74 respondents have communicated in some way with county officials/staff about pandemic conditions.
- 92 respondents have resumed research efforts.
- 50 respondents have visited cemeteries to monitor sites.
- 43 respondents continue to manage social media platforms.
- 95% of respondents stated that their CHC was active!
July and October survey results comparison is provided here.
At right, Liberty CHC is one of several CHCs that continue public programming with outdoor events and masked participants. Here, attendees gather for the St. Anne's Catholic Church marker dedication.
Don't know where to start? Whether initiating or resuming CHC service, review the orientation video and educational material on the CHC Appointee Orientation Content webpage.
The initial THC Recommendations for CHCs webpage features the 2016 recommendation packet and explains the recommendation framework that helps CHCs of all sizes and capacities engage in preservation work.