• 08/24/2021 4:33 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    As we mentioned in our previous email regarding health and safety at the 2021 ACRA conference, we are continually monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of the Delta variant. The safety of our attendees is our TOP priority for this event, and as such, we wanted to share some updated guidelines with you.

    Attendees of the 2021 ACRA Conference are now required to be fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination must be provided at the conference check-in table and can be in the form of your physical vaccination card, a clear photo of the card, or a state-provided digital pass. Attendees will also be required to wear masks in ACRA events. These new guidelines are in addition to those we previously sent earlier this month, which have been updated with the new information here.

    Some of you have asked about the potential for postponement of the conference, and we want to assure you that this option was fully explored with the venue. Unfortunately, based on current state policies, postponement/cancellation is not financially possible for ACRA. While this revelation is frustrating, especially since the decision to move forward with an in-person conference was made before the Delta variant emerged as a threat in the US, we are confident that we will be able to have as safe a conference as possible with the addition of these new guidelines.

    We will also be reinstating the early bird pricing for the remainder of the conference registration. Note: if you paid the full non-early bird price, feel free to contact us for a refund of the difference.

    We will continue to monitor and work with the hotel on this evolving situation and will be posting additional conference-specific guidelines as they arise. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.


  • 08/19/2021 2:18 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has asked that we share their most recent Statement Concerning the Treatment of Human Remains.

    This updated statement was approved by the SAA Board on April 28, 2021. It was developed after nine months of listening sessions, research, and member feedback. Organizations such as the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, and the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers provided guidance and comments.

    From the SAA:

    While the document deserves to be read in its entirety, as the nuance of the document is important, there is a fundamental ethos about the new statement that may interest your group: the statement starts from the position that working with human remains is a privilege, not a right. It calls for archaeologists to treat human remains with dignity and respect. The new statement stresses the need for consultation, collaboration, and consent with descendant communities. It reminds archaeologists that they are responsible for upholding all applicable laws and maintaining the highest ethical standards when working with human remains.

    You can see the updated statement here.

  • 08/16/2021 1:12 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.


    Congress is heading off for a shortened August recess having taken a major step forward on a landmark infrastructure bill, but girding for tougher battles to come.

    Last week, the Senate passed a $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill. The package would spend $1.2 trillion over 8 years, including $579 billion in new spending, on roads, bridges, water systems, broadband and other traditional infrastructure. The bill was approved by the Senate 69-30, with 19 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats to pass it and send it to the House.

    The bill’s passage was a big victory for President Biden, who campaigned for the White House on a pledge to restore bipartisanship to solve big problems. But the Senate passage is just the first step in the bill’s journey. It now goes to the House, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said last week the House won’t take up this bill until the Senate passes a larger $3.5 trillion “social” infrastructure bill. The reason: many progressive Democrats believe the Senate bill does not go far enough in addressing major issues like climate and equity, and they want to ensure the larger bill move forward before giving the Senate bill the green light.

    The Senate took its first steps towards that bigger bill last week as well, approving on a party-line vote a budget resolution that creates the framework for the legislation. The resolution contains instructions for the various Senate Committees to draw up their portions of the larger bill (the House will have a similar bill).

    According to the Senate Budget Committee, “The [resolution] calls for the $3.5 trillion in long-term investments to be fully offset by a combination of new tax revenues, health care savings, and long-term economic growth. In addition, the agreement would prohibit new taxes on families making less than $400,000 per year, and on small businesses and family farms.”

    Although the resolution does not provide specific legislative language, it does provide a roadmap of what Democrats hope to put into the bill, including:

    • Universal Pre-Kindergarten for 3 and 4-year olds
    • Childcare for working families
    • Tuition-free community college
    • Paid Family and Medical Leave
    • Expansion of the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare)
    • Expanding Medicare to include dental, vision, hearing benefits and lowering the eligibility age
    • Expending child tax credits and the Earned Income Tax Credit
    • Lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants
    • Electrifying the federal vehicle fleet
    • A new Civilian Climate Corps, including a Native Civilian Climate Corps
    • Environmental justice investments in clean water affordability and access, healthy ports and climate equity

    Republicans have come out uniformly against the bill, arguing that it spends too much money, would ignite inflation, and represents unneeded federal intrusion into the economy. But under the procedural rules Senate Democrats will use to advance the bill, Republicans cannot stop it. That said, it’s support among Democrats is not certain; at least two moderate-to-conservative Democratic Senators who have expressed concerns over the overall price tag and specific provisions.

    Nonetheless, the Senate’s action sets the stage for a big debate in the fall over this significant expansion of the country’s social safety net.

    The $3.5 trillion bill is not the only item on Congress’ to-do list for the fall. Lawmakers need to approve spending bills for federal agencies in order to keep the government running after September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

    In addition, Congress will need to act to raise the debt ceiling this fall to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its debts. The Treasury Department says the government will reach this make-or-break point as early as September. However, Senate Republicans have vowed not to support efforts to raise the debt ceiling, forcing Democrats to go it alone.

    Meanwhile, funding for the Historic Preservation Fund – which helps state and tribal historic preservation offices (S/THPOs) fulfill their obligations on Sec. 106 reviews and other duties – also will be on the agenda in the fall. In July, the House passed a funding bill for the Department of Interior and other agencies for the new fiscal year. In that bill, the House provides nearly $156 million for the Historic Preservation Fund; if that level makes it through the Senate, it would represent the largest single-year amount ever appropriated for the Fund.

    While the additional funding is a good step, it’s not keeping up with the increased demand on S/THPOs in recent years. That’s why ACRA and a coalition of preservation groups is pushing Congress to double the amount that is authorized to be deposited into the Fund each year, to $300 million, and to permanently authorize the Fund, so that it will never sunset. The House approved an amendment to do just that by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), who formerly served as Vice Chair of the ACHP, as part of its initial infrastructure bill. Although her proposal was not included in the Senate-passed bill, ACRA and its allies are continuing to press Congress to support increased funding levels for the HPF.

    When Congress returns in September, it will need to deal with the infrastructure bills, along with agency funding for the new fiscal year, the debt ceiling, and a host of other issues that will impact the CRM industry.

    The timing could not be better for ACRA’s annual Hill day during ACRA’s 27th Annual Conference in Old Town Alexandria, VA, September 8-12, 2021. On September 9, ACRA members will go to Capitol Hill and lobby their elected representatives on the issues that matter the most to the industry. With Congress expected to be in the midst of the debate over these important issues, we hope you will join us in DC to help educate policymakers about the value of CRM.


  • 08/13/2021 12:49 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you missed yesterday's webinar on technical editing in CRM, you are in luck - it is now available on ACRA Webinars on Demand!

    All CRM practitioners practice technical editing in the course of our daily jobs, and our deliverables count on clean, quick, accurate editing. Yet, we don’t have a consistent system or understanding of what technical editing is in general and how to best leverage it in a CRM setting.

    This webinar focuses on training CRM employees, whether they are project directors, field technicians, or even administrative staff, to quickly target the most common errors in CRM technical reports, leverage the power of Word to be more consistent, introduce fewer errors in the process, and work more collaboratively with authors.

    As with the live session, this webinar is available to ACRA members at a discounted price. Members can get the discount code to access the presentation here.

    Watch Technical Editing for CRM Now


  • 08/09/2021 1:32 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    As the 2021 ACRA Conference draws closer, the health and safety of our attendees is our first and most important priority and we must be mindful of public health best practices as a part of the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to take a moment to share with you the guidelines that we will be using during the event; see below. These guidelines are subject to change as the situation continues to evolve, but we hope that what we share below helps you feel safer and more prepared to attend the conference.

    Updates to these guidelines will be posted on the conference page. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions, and we look forward to seeing you there!

    REMINDER: Early Bird registration rates end in one week! After August 15, registration rates will go up by $50 for all registration categories. Register now so you don’t miss out!

    Local Guidelines

    The conference is being held in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, a close suburb of Washington, DC. The DC region is one of the most highly vaccinated areas of the country with over 75% of adults having received at least one dose. We will be following all local guidelines and requirements.

    In DC the city government has just reinstated the indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccination status. Virginia has not issued that mandate but has recommended that masks be worn indoors even by vaccinated individuals as a result of the delta variant. The City of Alexandria has issued a requirement (effective July 30) that masks must be worn in all government buildings. Our awards reception is located at the Lyceum, which is owned by the City—this means that masks must be worn during our reception when not eating, drinking, or presenting as a part of the ceremony.

    Although Virginia has not issued a mask mandate, local businesses are permitted to set their own stricter rules regarding mask-wearing in their establishments, and conference attendees are expected to follow the guidelines of the businesses they choose to patronize outside of the conference. Attendees should be aware that many restaurants and businesses in the DC area are starting to require proof of vaccination in order to enter and should come prepared with their proof of vaccination.

    Conference-Specific Guidelines

    For the ACRA conference events, we recommend that all attendees wear masks indoors when not eating or drinking regardless of vaccination status although it is not mandatory for vaccinated guests. Proof of vaccination at check-in will be required in order to attend any of the conference events without a mask. Proof of vaccination can be in the form of your physical vaccination card, a clear photo of the card, or a state-provided digital pass.

    Masks will be provided for each attendee in the welcome bags, and the hotel will provide hand sanitizer stations in each room and in public spaces. We will be socially distancing conference seating as much as we possibly can in the venue, including for our exhibitor tables. Our welcome reception will also have an outdoor space to allow for additional distancing.

    We will continue to work with the hotel on this evolving situation and will be posting additional conference-specific guidelines on the conference page as they arise.


  • 08/06/2021 1:12 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From the National Park Service (NPS):

    The National Historic Landmarks Program is pleased to announce the release of a new theme study, Civil Rights in America: Racial Discrimination in Housing. As part four of the five-part Civil Rights in America series, this theme study examines the history of race-based housing discrimination leading to the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Beyond potential NHLs, the context here and in other NHL theme studies can be useful when preparing National Register nominations. The complete accessible PDF including analysis of potentially nationally significant properties is available for download here.

    NPS has also announced $1.9 million in grants to nine Indian Tribes, one Native Hawaiian organization, and 22 museums to assist in the consultation, documentation and repatriation of ancestral remains and cultural items as part of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Eleven grants will fund the transportation and return of 11 cultural items, more than 4,000 funerary objects, and human remains comprising 82 ancestors. You can see more information and the full list of grant recipients here.
  • 08/05/2021 1:41 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    There are only 10 days left before prices go up on registration for the 2021 ACRA conference!

    The early bird registration prices will end after August 15. After that date, prices will go up by $50 for each category.

    This year’s conference theme — A Watershed Year: Navigating Change in the CRM Industry — focuses on how the past few years have brought historic changes to not just ACRA, but to the CRM industry overall and the nation at large. From navigating new ways of conducting business in the face of COVID-19 to addressing long-standing diversity issues in the industry, now is the time for CRM firms to come together to bring lasting positive change.

    Don't miss out on the premier CRM event of the year - register NOW to make sure you get the best rate!

    We know that many of you have questions regarding the health & safety protocols at the ACRA conference, especially with the emergence of the delta variant. Please know that the safety and comfort of our attendees is our first and most important priority, and we will be issuing a detailed health & safety plan next week (so stay tuned!).

  • 08/02/2021 12:49 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.


    After months of negotiating, posturing and near-death experiences, Congress is poised to pass a massive infrastructure bill that could reshape many aspects of the U.S. economy, including for the CRM industry.

    A bipartisan group of Senators came to agreement with the White House last week on a nearly trillion-dollar, 2700 page-long bill that includes more than $550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, broadband and a host of other long-neglected infrastructure needs. The bill easily cleared its first procedural hurdles last week, overcoming a filibuster with room to spare as 17 GOP Senators joined with all Democrats to move ahead on the bill. The Senate is now starting to hear amendments to the bill, with the hopes of passing it by the end of the week.

    The bill would provide:

    • $110 billion for roads, highways and bridges
    • $66 billion in passenger and freight rail
    • $39 billion to modernize public transit
    • $7.5 billion to create the first federal network of charging stations for electric vehicles
    • $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access
    • $55 billion for water infrastructure
    • $46 billion for resiliency, including cybersecurity as well as programs to protect and mitigate against natural disasters
    • $55 billion to improve the country’s drinking water, including a program that seeks to replace every lead pipe in America
    • $25 billion for repairs at major airports
    • $73 billion to modernize the nation’s energy grid
    • $21 billion to respond to environmental concerns, including pollution

    The bill also makes permanent permit streamlining reforms Congress first enacted six years ago. FAST-41 significantly reformed the federal infrastructure permitting process, creating the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, which brings together agencies at the start of the permitting process for large, complicated infrastructure projects to prepare a comprehensive permitting plan across agencies. The bill will make FAST-41 permanent, expand FAST-41 benefits to tribal projects, set a two-year goal for permitting covered projects, and encourage federal agencies to use one document to track permitting decisions ("One Federal Decision”).

    The potential impact of the bill on the CRM industry is sizable: the infrastructure projects that the bill will create will be subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, creating work for CRM firms – as well as increased burdens on state and tribal historic preservation offices (S/THPOs), which already are facing increased demands for their services.

    The rising workload for S/THPOs is one reason why ACRA and its allies successfully lobbied the House to include, in its transportation bill, a permanent authorization and increased funding levels for the Historic Preservation Fund. The House-passed provision, proposed by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), increases the amount authorized to be spent from the Fund each year from the current $150 million to $300 million and changes the law so that Congress will no longer need to renew the Fund every few years for it to continue. ACRA and its allies are working to build support for the provision in the Senate.

    Getting the infrastructure bill passed by the Senate will be an impressive feat, but that does not mean the bill will enjoy smooth sailing from then on. The bill still needs to pass the House, where numerous members of the Democratic majority are unhappy that the bill does not include more investments in fighting climate change, advancing racial equity and helping workers. They are pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to hold up the bipartisan bill until Senate Democrats pass a separate, larger social infrastructure bill which the Senate is likely to take up in the fall. House Democrats also want to have the opportunity to amend the Senate bill, but the Senate and White House are concerned that any changes the House makes to the bill could upend the delicate bipartisan agreement. That said, considering the amount of political capital that President Biden has put into getting the infrastructure bill passed (and into demonstrating that bipartisanship is still possible in Washington), most observers agree that it is only a matter of time before the infrastructure bill gets to Biden’s desk for his signature.

    Meanwhile, progress continues on other issues of importance to CRM. Last week the House approved the annual appropriations (funding) bill for the Department of Interior and other agencies for the new fiscal year that starts in October. In that bill, the House provides nearly $156 million for the Historic Preservation Fund; if that level makes it through the Senate, it would represent the largest single-year amount ever appropriated for the Fund.

    The House also approved legislation backed by ACRA that would provide free passes to national parks and other federal lands to active servicemembers, veterans and Gold Star Families. The bill, the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act (H.R. 4300), passed 420-0, with every Republican and Democrat voting aye. Granted, legislation to help soldiers and veterans enjoy national parks should not be the least bit controversial. But the unanimous vote – like the infrastructure bill – shows that bipartisanship in Washington is not entirely dead.

  • 07/30/2021 11:47 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Yesterday the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act (H.R. 4300), bipartisan legislation backed by ACRA and many other organizations, passed the House in a unanimous vote.  The legislation would provide free passes to national parks and other federal lands to active servicemembers, veterans and Gold Star Families so they can freely enjoy national parks and public lands.

    The bill will now be taken up by the Senate. Stay tuned to the ACRAsphere for more information!


    Bill Background:

    The America the Beautiful Pass provides access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges. This includes some of our most iconic treasures, ranging from Grand Canyon National Park to the awe-inspiring Redwood National Forest.

    Although we can never repay the debt we owe to our servicemembers and veterans, the VIP Act would allow them, along with Gold Star Family members, to visit our national parks and public lands free of charge. In 2020, the America the Beautiful annual pass became free for veterans and Gold Star Families. However, this change for veterans has never been codified and could be undone in future years. The VIP Act protects these passes by codifying them and making them lifetime passes instead of annual passes. The VIP Act also creates annual passes for current service members, which can be converted into lifetime passes once they leave the military. At markup, an amendment was adopted to change the short title of the bill to honor Alexander Lofgren, a military and veterans liaison who worked for U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva through the Wounded Warrior Fellowship program. Alexander tragically passed away earlier this year.



  • 07/27/2021 2:38 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    Technical Editing for CRM

    August 12, 2021
    2:00 - 3:30 PM (EDT)
    Register Now

    Members $89 | Students $19 | Non-Members $129

    Last year we presented a webinar on technical writing for CRM (watch that on demand here!), and now the expert presenter is back for the next installment: technical editing!

    All CRM practitioners practice technical editing in the course of their daily jobs, and their deliverables count on clean, quick, accurate editing. Yet, the industry doesn't have a consistent system or understanding of what technical editing is in general and how to best leverage it in a CRM setting. On August 12, Technical Editing for CRM will go into topics discussed in the technical writing webinar, but more in-depth.

    The presentation will focus on training CRM employees, whether they are project directors, field technicians, or even administrative staff, to quickly target the most common errors in CRM technical reports, leverage the power of Word to be more consistent, introduce fewer errors in the process, and work more collaboratively with authors.

    As always, in addition to reduced pricing, ACRA member firms enjoy a firm-wide registration fee - once one person pays for a spot, all other firm employees can register for no additional cost.

    We expect spaces to fill up quick, so register NOW to reserve your spot!

    Register for Technical Editing for CRM





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