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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

National Air and Space Museum Archives Division on the Move

The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) Archives Division is moving soon to Phase II at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.  We have already begun to pack, making large portions of our collection inaccessible to not only our patrons, but to us, the archivists.  We have closed our reading room and collections at the Paul E. Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland, and have suspended reproductions of film, technical drawings, microfilm, and technical manuals. 

National Air and Space Museum Archives/Library Reading Room
The NASM Archives/Library Reading Room is still open!
Many NASM Archives Division resources, however, remain available to the public.  The Archives/Library Reading Room in the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall is still open by appointment to researchers Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 4:30pm.  Our Technical Reference Files Collection is a treasure trove of nearly 1,900 cubic feet of photographs, press releases, clippings, correspondence, reports, and brochures on aircraft, spacecraft, individuals, organizations, events, and objects.  Basic information about many of our holdings—drawings, microfilm, collections, photographs—can still be accessed through our in-house database in the Reading Room.  

Additionally, we are still answering our phones and email.  Although we are quite busy with move preparations and a response may take longer than usual, researchers can still contact us with a reference question via our online email inquiry form.  If you want to restore your aircraft or build a model, we can still run a search in our database and provide custom search printouts listing all of our drawings on paper and microfilm, even though actual drawings will not be available until after the move.  We can still provide aircraft history cards.  Fifty thousand of our over two million photographs are still available to order through Smithsonian Institution Archives – Photographic Services.  You can still access broad collection information via SIRIS or more specific information in the NASM Archives Division online finding aids.

We currently anticipate that we will reopen sometime in Spring 2011.  Stay tuned for more information about the move here on the Smithsonian Collections Blog and on the NASM AirSpace blog.    We’re very excited about our new space and can’t wait to welcome researchers to our new Reading Room!

Elizabeth C. Borja
Reference Services Archivist, National Air and Space Museum Archives Division

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