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New municipal archives facility, one of largest official repositories in North America, opens at Industry City

Collections span four centuries

October 26, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The opening of the city’s new $27 million Department of Records & Information Services-Municipal Archives facility at Industry City, long in the planning stages, was announced on Tuesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Municipal Archives is one of the largest repositories of government records in North America. The world-class collections span four centuries and include historical records of all three branches of municipal government—executive, legislative, and judicial.

There are more than 90,000 linear feet of storage space, spread out over three floors in the new facility—the equivalent of about 21 football fields in length. It includes cold storage vaults for photographic negatives, sound, film and video recordings; and special shelving for office records, maps, architectural plans, and ledgers of all sizes. 

Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball in the Innovation Lab. Photo by Andy Katz
Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball. Photo: Andy Katz/Brooklyn Eagle

The facility contains space for a digital lab with stations for films, videotapes, negatives and documents; collections preservation processing; conservation and triage work; and records transfers and appraisals.  

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The beginning of construction at the new Municipal Archives facility at Industry City, in January 2020. Photo courtesy of Municipal Archives

The climate-controlled rooms, including the walk-in cold storage vault, will protect the collections from the deteriorating effects of inappropriate temperature and humidity levels. State-of-the-art filters will also eliminate harmful atmospheric pollutants. A conservation lab will allow for the on-site treatment and isolation of mold-damaged or infested materials, according to the city Department of Records and Information Services.

The Municipal Archives’ headquarters at 31 Chambers St. in Manhattan will continue to welcome patrons and serve as a venue for exhibitions and public programs, but the new facility will also provide space for patrons to conduct research using the materials stored in the Brooklyn. The public research room is expected to reduce the necessity for transfer of materials back and forth from Manhattan.

Mayor Bill de Blasio. AP photo by Mary Altaffer

“This state-of-the-art storage and research facility will ensure preservation of the city’s heritage for generations to come,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio“The $27 million facility is the city’s most significant investment in its Archives since establishment of the Department of Records & Information Services in 1977.”   

“The opening of the city’s state-of-the-art Archival and Storage Facility is yet another endorsement of Industry City’s rapidly growing commercial-industrial tenant base,” said Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball. “From content creation to e-commerce, manufacturing to design, Industry City is now home to over 570 businesses with 8500 workers.  We are thrilled that DCAS chose to invest in our modernized infrastructure.”

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