The National Archives at New York City has announced that it will relocate to the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green this fall. The Custom House is a Beaux Arts-style building designed by Cass Gilbert that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places that also houses the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.
This move will decidedly raise the profile of the little-known Northeast Regional Branch office in New York City, which is currently tucked away on a high floor in a Federal building on Varick Street. This high-security building, patrolled by armed guards, is not the most welcoming setting for a public archive that serves researchers, students, and teachers interested in viewing original records from Federal agencies in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin islands.
Although the Archives’ new space is much smaller than its current space and a large percentage of its collection will be placed in off-site storage, the office relocation is expected to attract more users. According to the Archives’ website, the move will result in “[a]n increase in our public and outreach programs, and our new proximity to other important New York cultural institutions including the Museum of the American Indian and Ellis Island, will enable us to reach a wider audience.”
A July 23, 2012 press release from The National Archives states that the new facility will include:
- A Research Center for scholars, genealogists, and the general public to conduct their own research using original records and microfilm holdings with the assistance of professional archivists. Researchers will have free access to resources including online subscription services such as Ancestry, Fold3, Heritage Quest, and ProQuest.
- A Learning Center to welcome school groups and families and to encourage them to explore National Archives records through workshops, school programs, online access, “Archival Adventures,” and more.
- Exhibitions in the Alexander Hamilton U.S.Custom House Rotunda featuring holdings from the Archives. The opening exhibition, “The World’s Port: Through Documents of the National Archives,” opens September 21, 2012, and runs through November 25, 2012.
- Public Programs in the Welcome, Research and Learning Centers and in the Alexander Hamilton U.S.Custom House’s 300-seat theater and lecture halls to highlight the nation’s history and New York’s special role in shaping the nation. Outreach programs will increase awareness of National Archives resources in New York and nationwide.
For further information visit: http://www.archives.gov/northeast/nyc/.