The National Air and Space Museum opened the new Archives Reading Room at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to the public Tuesday, Jan. 10. The opening of the reading room is the culmination of a massive move that took place during Fall 2011, when the Archives Division consolidated the majority of its collections from the Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Paul E. Garber Facility in Suitland, Md., into one location at the Steven F. Udvary Hazy Center. Visiting researchers will be able to access more than 2 million technical drawings, 1,600 cubic feet of technical manuals, more than 2 million photographs and 700,000 feet of motion picture film chronicling the history of aviation and spaceflight.
The Museum's Archives Division contains the personal papers of such notables as aircraft designer Giuseppe Bellanca, aviator Louise Thaden and Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., commander of the Tuskegee Airmen. The collection also includes scrapbooks that record historic events, such as the National Air Races and the experiences of individual soldiers and airmen during the two world wars. Researchers will be able to listen to the archives sound records collection that captures the voices of Charles and Anne Lindbergh reading from their respective memoirs, The Spirit of St. Louis and Listen! The Wind, an interview with Jack Northrop about his flying wing designs and reflections of Apollo astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee on space exploration recorded just one week before the launch-pad fire that took their lives.
The archives facility is located in a major new section of the Udvar-Hazy Center, which is dedicated to care and storage of the Museums collection. Construction of the massive new wing was completed last fall and transfer of other collections and operations will occur over the next two years. In only a month, the Archives Division transferred almost 17,000 containers, 18,000 reels of microfilm, 13,000 rolls of motion picture film and 7,000 videos. The new facility provides more than 16,000 square feet of modern, secure, climate-controlled storage spacethree times more storage space for the collections and including seven to eight times more space for rare manuscripts and motion picture film. The archives is also located across the hall from the Emil Buehler Conservation Lab, providing easy access for the conservation treatment of fragile and/or damaged documents, photographs, drawings, maps, etc.
The Archives Reading Room at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., will be open to researchers by appointment, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Technical Reference Files Collection remains at the Museum in Washington and can be accessed by appointment, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public may visit the museums archives website for more information about planning a visit to the collections.
More information about the Archives Collections can be found on the Archives Division website