AHS Blog

Threatened Loss of National Archives in Anchorage

Date Posted: March 22, 2014       Categories: News

Anchorage, Alaska March 17, 2014

Alaska Historical Society Denounces Proposed Closure of Anchorage NARA Facility

Historians around Alaska want federal archival records to remain in Anchorage, not removed to Seattle as proposed by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Board of Directors of the Alaska Historical Society this week approved a resolution calling for NARA to keep the Anchorage facility open. NARA proposes to save approximately $500,000 by permanently closing the Anchorage facility and moving approximately 12,000 cubic feet of records to the agency’s Seattle facility.

”These federal records are critical to the history of Alaska. They are consulted by researchers, tribes, city governments, and others who rely on them to make informed policy decisions, comply with federal law, and create projects and programs that benefit Alaskans, both in terms of education and economic development,” said Anjuli Grantham, Vice President of the Alaska Historical Society’s Board of Directors.

”The establishment of the Anchorage NARA facility in 1990 recognized that Alaskans needed to have access to federal documents without flying to Seattle. The Anchorage facility has promoted federal transparency in Alaska and returned many important documents to Alaska where they belong,’’ stated Katie Ringsmuth, AHS President.

NARA spokespeople claim Alaska records will be digitized once they reach Seattle. AHS is concerned that this will not take place. ”NARA has presented neither a plan nor a budget for the digitization of the thousands of charts, maps, documents, diaries, reports, logbooks, ledgers, and forms that are held in the Anchorage facility,’’ said J. Pennelope Goforth, AHS board member. “One NARA official told me they would contract out the work once the collection was removed to their Sand Point facility in Seattle. It could be years before we have access to that material again, if ever.”

The Alaska Historical Society joins a number of organizations in Alaska to express objection to the closure. Senators Begich and Murkowski also have expressed their concerns. Over 500 individuals have signed a petition, insisting that the Anchorage facility remain open. The Alaska Historical Society is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and sharing of Alaska’s history. The society has over 400 members statewide.

For more information: Anjuli Grantham, anjuligrantham@gmail.com, 907-486-5920 Katie Ringsmuth, katmaikate@aol.com, 907-830-2251