Alcatraz Weekly

Feb 13, 2014

Weekly Discussion Topics

Kelli English will be starting as the new chief of interp for the East Bay parks. Her position will be announced as a GS-11 detail for about 6 months and then opened as a perm. Look for an announcement soon.

Kelly Timmerman will transition to handling the outreach for the island. She will then be the contact with our schools, CATS, and other outreach efforts.

Sally Port: We expect the Sally port project to start next week with load in. Scaffolding will be set up after that. Work expected to take 7-8 months (ideally). The truck will need to be moved and we will not have access to either of the rooms in the sally port. If there is anything we need in there, please take it out. Any props, pictures, models, flags, etc. John to take on clearing area out.

Ai Wei Wei: Planning is going forward. We are cleaning out the guard gallery so it is closed this week, installing a new section of fence behind the NIB. We are updating a Historic Structure Report which guides our preservation efforts on the island. Areas currently closed to the public were not part of the original report.

As you know the exhibit focuses on Prisoners of Conscience. What are they? According to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) political prisoners meet one of the following criteria: their detention: violates basic guarantees (freedom of thought, conscience, religion, expression); is motivated by political reason, length of sentence is out of proportion with the offense, discriminatory, unfair judicial process.

Amnesty international advocates primarily for Prisoners of Conscience and defines them as prisoners who have had their freedom restricted because of their political or religious beliefs, ethnic origin, language, economic status, sexual orientation or other status; are treated unfairly, have sentences out of proportion with their crime. Those who have advocated violence cannon be labeled as Prisoners of Conscience.

I will soon be working on interpretation planning. This includes signage, ticketing, showcase on the landing, redoing the film interval in Bldg 64. It also includes programs related to Ai Wei Wei. Carla is going to consolidate information on Alcatraz political prisoners. Eventually I need help to create very short training manual for staff. Lori and Wendy have information. Sharlene and Jim Nelson can also be great sources of information.

A-Block: To prepare for the exhibit, we need to clean this area out. If we have anything in there, we need to get it out.

Hospital: Just a reminder that the barriers installed in the Hospital should be closed to visitors. This includes the barriers to the psych ward, room next to the elevator, and several others. Kelly will be working on completing visitor use compliance for this area.

Kitchen: Jason Hagin recently evaluated the floor in the kitchen. Because of the deteriorating floor in that area, he is requesting that we no longer open it to the public. This is consistent with the recommendations of the 2005 Historic Furnishings Report. The current floor coverings are somewhat compatible with the use but do not provide enough protection. The repair is potentially a big job. In addition, prior to use, the area needs to be inventoried for historic furnishings, floor repaired, and the fire marshall needs to provide occupancy guidelines.

Seasonals: We have received additional funding so we can expect to have about 4 seasonals on the island this year. One is initially a backfill for Craig, two funded through the conservancy, and one additional one that was from restored funding we lost during sequestration last year. Announcements for these positions and a GS7/9 term should be out before too long. They are long delayed, and I apologize for that.

American Parks American Products Act: Someone posted a portion of this document in the break room. It implies that all goods sold in any gift shop of the NPS must be made in the USA. However, the printed portion does not state the exceptions nor does it include how price point evaluations are included.

Missing Letters in the Dining Hall. Kelly to look into this.

Employee Survey: As further follow up on the feedback we received we are working on the following:

a. you all have probably seen the note from Michele about our staff swap with other sites. If interested please let me know. Initial feedback is that the swap may be too long. Staff are more interested in short (week/s) swaps so that ongoing projects do not get disrupted. This provides enough time to learn about other sites and enhance networking connections.

b. Carla is going to participate in a workgroup with Theresa Kreidler and Lynn Fonfa focusing on future training. They will think about training programs and make recommendations.

c. Workload: Heavy workloads was mentioned by a number of people to be a concern. Its hard to address this holistically because much of it is related to individual workloads. I will be checking in with each of you on this topic.

d. Communication: There were a lot of responses asking for improved communication between supervisor and employee, staff and the division, and staff and the park. We are trying to get more input to help us make changes. Carla lead a staff discussion without Marcus and came up with the following comments: a. Communication between day and night staff needs to improve somehow. b. Staff would like to know about events at other sites. This allows us to promote them to visitors. C. communication between staff and supervisor is good. D. staff feel disconnected from foma. Especially true since van stopped running. E. Mail is inconsistent. Would like to improve mail by having Melvin deliver mail. An alternative is to have someone regularly go to FOMA to pick up mail.

Oil Monitoring: We are being asked to start monitoring the oil sheen again. There is a new form to use that provides more information but it should not take us any longer than 10 minutes. Can someone put this on the summer schedule which starts next month so that we can go back to 3x monitoring per day. We do not need to do all of this but we should be a part of the solution. Wendy to update the summer schedule.

Electric Shop: Per request by maintenance, this also needs to be cleaned out by next week.

Bio Blitz: Thank you to Wendy and Nancy for helping out. I will also likely be involved at the end of March.

Sunday exhibit installation. Need a ranger to work with Carol Newborg to help get art to the hospital.

Tonights sweep. Please leave gate to model industries unlocked tonight. We are getting fencing delivered tonight.

Posters in the office: How do we feel about them.

Volunteers: We are looking for help on 2/25/14. Some of the staff will be off the island on a visit to Angel Island. Also anyone who would like to help on 3/1 and 3/2. That is our Junior Ranger Weekend. Roger? Dan?

Reminder that Nancy is on furlough the next two weeks. Time sheets due to Marcus if you have not already turned them.

Other projects. We have a new flagpole but had a problem with the line. John is working on a fix. Also the fence on the rec yard has been removed. A new fence will be installed on the rec yard wall next fall.

Anniversary Event. There are rumors that this year is the last alumni event. Please note that while ideas are being considered for future anniversary event, there has been NO decision that this is the last anniversary.

Libby Schaff is in town. There is a dinner planned on the 4th March. Please let John or Roger know if you want to join.

Health and Safety

Visitor confrontations: Occasionally we are in a position trying to enforce park rules to visitors. There have been instances where we get push back or even face belligerent visitors. While we may all wish at times that we could enforce rules and regulations, our job as interpreters is more about reminding visitors about rules and regulations. To avoid issues, keep it light and non-confrontational. De escalate any situation immediately and call LE ASAP if you get push back. Personal safety and that of other visitors comes first.

Upcoming Leave (Annual, Sick, Off-Site Training)

16 Feb – 1 March Furlough Nancy (Can someone switch schedule to working M-F during this time)?

2-7 March Marcus Training (San Francisco)

11-17 May Marcus Training Travel (Wash. DC)

Calendar of Events

2/15/14 Chinese NY Parade. John, Marcus, Carla,

2/2014 Health and Safety Week.

2/22/14 For Site VIP Tour. 10:30 boat. Wendy or Lori.

2/25/14 Angel Island tour with Steve Johnson. Matt, Benny, Carla, Wendy, Lori, are interested. There is room for more if anyone is interested.

2/28/14 Steve Johnson’s Civil War Group: 10-2pm. Group 1
50 students & chaperones on 10 am ferry to Alcatraz
Met by volunteers Steve J. and Paul for orientation and introduction Group split in half: one group does architecture and cannon drill (45 min), the other group does soldier uniform and duties, weapons (musket and bayonet), walk through the Civil War tunnel (45 min). Then the groups switch. 90 minutes total
Group boards 11:30 boat back to Pier 33.

2/29/14 Steve Johnson’s Civil War Group: 10-2pm. Group2
50 students & chaperones on 12 pm ferry to Alcatraz
Met by volunteers Steve J. and Paul for orientation and introduction
Group split in half: one group does architecture and cannon drill (45 min), the other group does soldier uniform and duties, weapons (musket and bayonet), walk through the Civil War tunnel (45 min). Then the groups switch. 90 minutes total
Group returns to dock for Q & A, and to fill out survey questions
Group boards 2:00 boat back to Pier 33.

3/1 and 3/2/14: Junior Ranger Days (Ranger Kelly)

3/11/14 Cell House Admin Offices construction

4/5/14 Living History Day. Dates Pending.

3/28-29/14 Bio-Blitz. All hands on deck to help out throughout the park.

4/8-10 Meeting: A Visitor Use Management and Monitoring program for MUWO and Alcatraz. Marcus

5/17-18/14 Storytelling workshop: Benny, Kelly, Wendy, Carla, Lori, Nancy.

9/27/14 Ai Wei Wei Opening

10/4/14 Living History Day

11/8 and 9 Junior Ranger Day

Exhibit Calendar

Band Room:

8/28/13 - 2/28/13 Flower Painting Display

2/14 – 8/14/13: San Quentin Prison Arts Project

10/14 – 4/15 Proposed Ai Wei Wei Exhibit. Various locations around the island.

5/15 – 9/15 Tentative: Community Works West

10/15 – 5/16 Art Explorers, Inc. Alcatraz Inmates paintings by Charles Unser.

New Industries:

3/21 - 3/20/14 Anniversary of Prison Closing Exhibit

7/15 – 12/15 Prisoners of Age* by Ron Levine

Bldg 64 Casemates:

4/28 - ? Native Nationalism and Red Power: Historicizing the 1969 Alcatraz Occupation venue: Building 64/Theater/China Alley AZ lead: Teresa

Other Proposed Exhibits

9/14 – 4/15 Ai Wei Wei Exhibit. Various locations around the island including Industries, Hospital, A-Block.

Fall 2015 Proposed: We Players "Hamlet".


Closures (Updated 2/13/14): Off limits areas include: Cell House Roof, Citadel, QM Lower Level, Bldg 64. Upper floors, area past cable by power house. Also, Kitchen and Hospital Psych rooms.

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