The new facility includes cold storage vaults for film, photo and video footage. On October 25, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the opening of the new Municipal Archives facility for the Department of Records and Information Services. The new facility will be located at Industry City, Brooklyn.
The Municipal Archives is one of the largest collections of government records in the country. The collections include historical records from all branches of municipal government and span over four hundred years. The new facility has over 90,000 linear feet of storage space, which is the equivalent length of approximately 21 football fields. The facility contains a digital lab, conservation and triage work, records transfers, appraisals, collections preservation processing, cold storage vaults for photo negatives, sound, video and film recordings, and shelving for office records, maps, architectural plans and ledgers. The new facility cost approximately $27 million.
The Municipal Archives’ headquarters, located at 31 Chambers Street, Manhattan, will continue to operate and accept patrons, and serve as an event space for public programs and exhibitions. Patrons may also conduct research at the Industry City facility.
Mayor de Blasio stated, “This state-of-the-art storage and research facility will ensure preservation of the City’s heritage for generations to come. The $27 million facility is the city’s most significant investment in its Archives since the establishment of the Department of Records & Information Services in 1977.”
Department of Records & Information Services Commissioner Pauline Toole stated, “We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio and his administration for making our new facility a reality. Planning the facility and moving the materials was a multi-year project. We accomplished extraordinary initiatives that improved the physical and intellectual control of the collections. This work included re-boxing more 60,000 cubic ft. of records and barcoding 300,000 unique items. We look forward to welcoming researchers to the new facility.”
New York State Archivist Thomas J. Ruller stated, “Providing secure, environmentally controlled storage space is a fundamental requirement for the preservation of archival records. We are gratified to know that City government has taken this important step to ensure that its archives are in a good home, so they can continue to be available for research and use today and for the countless generations of future New Yorkers.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)