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Florida Historical Commission

The Florida Historical Commission (FHC) was established by the 2001 Florida Legislature (Section 267.0612, Florida Statutes) to enhance public participation and involvement in the preservation and protection of the state's historic and archaeological sites and properties. The Commission advises and assists the Division of Historical Resources in carrying out the programs, duties and responsibilities of the Division. Seven members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Secretary of State, two by the President of the Florida Senate and two by the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

 The members are responsible for reviewing and ranking Special Category Historic Preservation Grant applications; five members of the FHC also meet as Florida's National Register Review Board to review and vote on proposed nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, the Commission exists to advise with regard to policy and preservation needs. Members of the FHC are considered to be experts in their respective fields, with the members representing the following:

  • Of the seven members appointed by the Governor, one member must be a licensed architect who has expertise in historic preservation and architectural history; one member must be a professional historian in the field of American history; one member must be a professional architectural historian; one member must be an archaeologist specializing in the field of prehistory; and one member must be an archaeologist specializing in the historic period.
  • The remaining two members appointed by the Governor and the two members appointed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively, must be representatives of the general public with demonstrated interest in the preservation of Florida's historical and archaeological heritage.

Current members of the FHC include: educators in Florida's university system, authors, the principal of a cultural resource management firm, and citizens who have devoted personal and professional lives to protecting and preserving Florida's historic resources.

Florida Historical Commission 


Mrs. Marion M. Almy, RPA, Chairman
(prehistoric archaeologist)
Sarasota, FL

Term: 04/02/2015 to 12/31/2018

Founding Principal and President of Archaeological Consultants, Inc., Mrs. Almy's 26 years experience in archaeological and architectural/historical investigations extends throughout Florida. A Registered Professional Archaeologist, Director of the American Cultural Resources Association, past President of the Florida Archaeological Council, she formerly chaired both the Florida National Register Review Board and the Florida Historic Preservation Advisory Council. She formerly served as a Board member of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, and earned a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Florida State University and a Master's degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in cultural resource management from the University of South Florida.

Mr. Steve Birtman

Tallahassee, FL

Term: 01/01/2015 to 12/31/2016

Stephen Birtman is the Governmental Affairs Director at the Florida Nurse Anesthetists Association.  Stephen has served as State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business Florida and Director of Government Relations- South East for Humana Insurance Company. He is President and serves on the Board for the Capitol City Tiger Bay Club and is Commissioner Emeritus of Baseball at Winthrop Park. Steve has a passion for history and architecture and has explored the Mayan Temples at Tikal and the Fortress Europe Fortifications of Normandy. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida History Museum at the R.A. Gray Building in Tallahassee, Florida. Stephen is a graduate of Florida State University. He is married and is a father. He is a lifelong Chicago Cubs Fan.

Ms. Kathy A. Fleming

St. Augustine, FL 

Term: 3/28/2012 to 12/31/2015

Kathy A. Fleming is the Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, Inc. Fleming helped form the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) in 1999 and serves, as its Chief Administrative Director. The museum's research arm, LAMP studies submerged cultural resources in the waters of the nation's oldest port. Fleming facilitated the transfer of ownership of the St. Augustine Lighthouse from the US Coast Guard through the GSA and the NPS to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. The Lighthouse and LAMP have been called, "Truly a role model for public institutions," by Gail Norton, former US Secretary of the Interior. Ms. Fleming also received a certificate of Congressional Recognition from US Senator Bill Nelson for helping other lighthouses understand the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000    Ms. Fleming has Previously Served on the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Board, and the Board of Preservation Action in Washington, DC.

Mr. Rick Gonzalez, AIA, Vice Chairman

(preservation architect)
West Palm Beach, FL

Term: 9/25/2008 to 12/31/2011

Rick Gonzalez, AIA, founded REG Architects, Inc., with his father Ricardo in 1988. Rick holds two architectural degrees from the Catholic University of America and has studied design in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Italy. He was Chairman of the Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design, serves as the Immediate Past President of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, and is actively involved with community organizations such as the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. His association with high-profile projects like Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club, the 1916 Palm Beach County Historic Courthouse, and "The Harriet" at City Place, has led the firm to numerous awards for historic preservation and downtown redevelopment.

Mrs. Mimi Reid Hardman 

Lake Wales, FL

Term: 4/02/2015 to 12/31/2018

Mrs. Hardman is Founder and Director of The Depot, Lake Wales Museum and Cultural Center. She formerly served as a Board member of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, and is the Founder and President of the Historic Lake Wales Society. A renowned community activist, her efforts have been recognized on both state and national levels. She earned a degree in Medical Technology from Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Adam J. Hirsch

San Diego, CA

Term: 02/16/2012 to 12/31/2014

Dr. Adam Hirsch is a professor at the Florida State University College of Law. A leading authority on wills and trusts, Professor Hirsch teaches Bankruptcy Policy Seminar, Creditor's Rights, Estate Planning, Gratuitous Transfers and American Legal History. He has served as the Roger Traynor Fellow at Hastings College of Law, and he is an Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. In addition to his legal training, Professor Hirsch holds a Ph.D. in History from Yale University, where his doctoral dissertation received the George Washington Egleston Prize for the best dissertation in American history. He expanded this work into a book, The Rise of the Penitentiary: Prisons & Punishment in Early America (Yale University Press, 1992).

Mrs. Judy Kane

Mary Esther, FL

Term: 03/18/2013 to 01/01/2014

Judy Kane is the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinator at Choctawhatchee High School in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. She is also an adjunct professor for Troy University in the History department. She has been in education for over thirty years. Judy serves as a history examiner for the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. In addition, she is a volunteer for the International Baccalaureate Organization as a site team visitor. Duties include visiting schools seeking authorization for the IB Program. She sits on numerous committees at the local and state level. Judy received her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Liberal Arts/History degrees at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. 

Mr. John B. Phelps

Tallahassee, FL

Term: 9/17/2013 to 12/31/2015

John Phelps has worked for the Florida Legislature for 39 years.

His first appointment was in the House of Representatives where he held positions in various committees and the Speaker's Office. He was elected Clerk of the House in 1986 and served for twenty years before leaving in 2006 to accept an appointment as Curator of the Historic Capitol and pursue a longstanding interest in Florida history. In 2010, the Senate President recruited him for the position of Staff Director of the Rules Committee. John has held numerous offices with national legislative organizations, including Staff Chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures, President of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries and Chair of the Commission that revises Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure. Outside the legislature, John has been a procedural consultant to legislatures in Central America, Africa and the Middle East, most recently Iraq, Afghanistan and Morocco. He is a trustee of Eckerd College and Honorary Consul in Florida for Great Britain.

Dr. Clifford E. Smith, Jr., RPA 

(historical archaeologist)
Venice, FL

Term: 7/11/2014 to 12/31/2016

Dr. Clifford E. Smith was hired by the City of Sarasota on December 26, 2006, to develop a historic preservation program, to promote historic preservation within the city, and to be a resource to the public interested in historic preservation. He currently serves as a member of the Historic Preservation Board for Sarasota County, a member of the Coalition for Historic Preservation, and Chairman of the Board for the Sarasota Municipal Employees Credit Union. In his previous position, Dr. Smith was Deputy Director of the Bermuda Maritime Museum - Chief of Operations and charged with the restoration of the 19th century museum buildings, the fort's six and a half acres grounds, and its battlements. As the Museum's Director of Archaeology and Conservation, he was responsible for a number of projects both on land and underwater completing Phase I surveys through Phase III excavations on sites dating from the 17th to the 19th century. These projects were used as training opportunities for the hundreds of students, interns, and volunteers that went through the various programs offered. In addition to historic restoration and archaeological projects; Dr. Smith often acted as a consultant to the British Government, Bermuda Government, and the West End Development Corporation to address their Historic, Archaeological, and Conservation issues.

Ms. Ellen J. Uguccioni

(architectural historian)
Coral Gables, FL

Term: 7/11/2014 to 12/31/2015

Ms. Uguccioni is a Historic Preservation Planner with the city of Miami. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Miami School of Architecture and a member of the Florida National Register Review Board. Ms. Uguccioni is former Director of the City of Coral Gables Historic Preservation Department and author of several books on historic buildings. She earned a Master's degree in Art and Architectural History from the University of Missouri.

Mr. Bob Ward

Tallahassee, FL

Term: 01/01/2015 to 12/31/2016

Bob Ward is the President and CEO of the Florida Council of 100, a not-for-profit, research organization made up of 115 Florida corporations. Prior to being appointed to this position, he served in state and local government for 26 years most recently as the Clerk of the Florida House of Representatives from 2008-2016.  Ward also served twice as chief of staff of the House, as staff director of the education committees, and as an education policy coordinator to Governor Jeb Bush.  Ward is currently a member of Enterprise Florida, and the Florida DOT’s Transportation Plan Implementation Review Committee. Ward holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.  



Meetings & Materials

Approved Minutes