|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Wednesday, September 18, 2019
|Audit Shows Records at National Archives in Washington at Risk of being Lost for Good|
A photocopy of a map created by the Army Air Corps to plan the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II, indicating Map of Target Area 90-30-748, Hiroshima Area, A-2 Section, XXI Bomber Command, June 1945. A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit says the National Archives has a huge backlog of physical records that need preservations before they are lost and that nearly 80 percent of government agencies are at risk of illegally destroying public records. AP Photo/U.S National Archives Records Administration.
By: Brett Zongker, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP).- An audit prompted in part by the loss of the Wright Brothers' original patent and maps for atomic bomb missions in Japan finds some of the nation's prized historical documents are in danger of being lost for good.
Nearly 80 percent of U.S. government agencies are at risk of illegally destroying public records and the National Archives is backlogged with hefty volumes of records needing preservation care, the audit by the Government Accountability Office found.
The report by the watchdog arm of Congress, completed this month after a year's work and obtained by The Associated Press, also found many U.S. agencies do not follow proper procedures for disposing of public records.
Officials at the National Archives, which houses the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and other treasured documents at its Washington rotunda, had no immediate comment Tuesday on the findings.
The report comes more than a year after news reports of key items missing at the nation's record-keeping agency. Some of the items have been missing for decades but their absence only became widely known in recent years.
The patent file for the Wright Brothers flying machine was last seen in 1980 after passing around multiple Archives offices, the Patents and Trademarks Office and the National Air and Space Museum.
As for maps for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, military representatives checked them out in 1962, and they've been missing ever since.
The GAO report did not specifically mention those or other examples of missing items including Civil War telegrams from Abraham Lincoln, Eli Whitney's cotton gin patent and some NASA photographs on the moon.
A second GAO report obtained by the AP details "significant weaknesses" in the Archives' security. The Oct. 21 report refers to a lost computer hard drive from the Clinton administration and highlights problems with the Archives' computer access controls, clearance requirements for employees and physical security. A third report not yet released is expected to detail 213 recommendations to improve Archives' security, the GAO said.
The risks highlighted by the GAO could affect volumes of mundane legal memos but also key pieces of history.
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa requested the audits last year, alarmed at the "apparent lack of effective security." He noted the loss of the Wright Brothers' patent, the Clinton administration computer data with classified information and lost maps from World War II.
"This agency is the country's record keeper," Grassley said in a statement Tuesday. "It's responsible for protecting classified materials and for preserving our most important historical documents. ... The agency needs to commit to fixing its problems and follow through."
The Archives acting alone "cannot solve the persistent problems facing federal records management," the report said, because each agency is responsible for preserving documents.
But the Archives can improve its oversight, the GAO wrote, by pressing for improvement in government-wide records management.
Each agency is supposed to either seek permission to destroy records or recommend preservation at the Archives. An archivist reviews agency submissions, which must include clear descriptions of the records involved, in a four-step process. Archivists often review the records themselves. Proposals to dispose of records must be published in the Federal Register and undergo a 30-day comment period.
The entire process can take a year, but some agencies never begin the process, leaving their records at risk of being lost in the shuffle. As the Archives works to get more agencies to comply, it may not be able to handle the workload, the GAO warned.
The National Archives and Records Administration has 44 facilities in 20 states, including 13 presidential libraries, funded by about $470 million this year from Congress.
Archives Inspector General Paul Brachfeld said Tuesday that the reports build from his investigations in recent years.
The worst threat to historical documents is theft, he said.
"We continue to be victimized by people that understand there's money to be had by trading our documents," Brachfeld said. "They're taking from every American citizen."
Meanwhile, some documents face the threat of deterioration even though they're already at the Archives. Figures from 2009 show 65 percent of its holdings need preservation steps. In some cases, a document's condition already is so poor, it can't be read a backlog amounting to more than 2 million cubic feet of records.
Brachfeld said new leaders at the Archives understand the problems and are making changes.
The GAO recommends the Archives boost its inspections of agencies, improve internal management, streamline hiring and enhance security.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
October 28, 2010
SFMOMA Presents Major U.S. Retrospective of Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson
A Masterpiece from the Museo Archeologico Regionale di Agrigento Goes on View at the Getty Villa
Specially Equipped Silver Aston Martin First Driven by Sean Connery Sells for $4.1M in London
FBI Seizes a Forgery of Andrew Wyeth's Painting "Snow Birds" from an Auction House
Harry Blain and Former Sotheby's Vice Chairman Emmanuel Di Donna to Open New York Gallery
Caravaggio-Inspired Dutch Masterpiece Acquired for Fitzwilliam Museum
Documentation and Artwork, 1972-1985 by Cuban-American Artist Ana Mendieta at Galerie Lelong
Iwo Jima Mementos, a Faded Photograph and Child's Drawing, Bring Closure to Japanese Family
Christie's Sales of Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art to Offer an Impressive Array of Rare and Important Works
Oakland Museum of California Acquires Historic "All of Us or None" Poster Collection
Two 150-Year-Old Civil War Dolls Get X-Rayed at VCU Medical Center for Signs of Smuggling
Baltimore Nuns Auctioning Famous Baseball Card to Raise Money for Diocese
Kunsthaus Zürich Embarks on Ambitious Restoration Project on the Work of Alberto Giacometti
Irma Stern Makes New £2.4 Million World Record for South African Art at Bonhams in London
Harn Museum of Art Creates New Position to Increase Collaborations with University of Florida Faculty and Students
The U.S. Department of State and the Bronx Museum of the Arts Announce International Community-Based Visual Arts Program
Children's Spontaneity "Wiped Out by Teaching" Claimed Beatrix Potter in Forthright Letters for Sale at Bonhams
SFMOMA Debuts a New Body of Work by R. H. Quaytman
Leslie Hewitt Awarded 2010 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize
Sylvia Sleigh, Prominent Painter, Dies at Age 94, Seminal Work On View at the Hudson River Museum
Tate Launches The Muybridgizer App for iPhone, Free for the Duration of the Exhibition
Exceptionally Rare Darth Vader Costume to Be Offered at Christie's South Kensington
Audit Shows Records at National Archives in Washington at Risk of being Lost for Good
Saatchi Gallery Opens Second Installment of Museum-Scale Survey of Emergent British Contemporary Art
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa Wants Yale University to Return Artifacts to Peru
The Hayward Gallery Presents Seminal Works by Leading Artists in Move: Choreographing You
Special Exhibition Reconsiders John La Farge's Contributions to American Art in Centenary Year of Artist's Death
Successful Anniversary Year Boosts Meijer Gardens Attendance and Membership
Rudy Giuliani's New York City Hall Portrait, Painted by Everett Raymond Kinstler, is Unveiled
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival
2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled
3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges
4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year
5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist
6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy
7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production
8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94
9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society
10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.