Political Scene: State Archives building a priority for Gorbea

Political Scene: State Archives building a priority for Gorbea

Gun Rights

Hide caption Since 1990, the State Archives have lived in a temporary home on Westminster Street where sump pumps and vigilant staff make sure thousands of documents stored in the basement aren’t damaged by water. The Rhode Island State Archives in Providence is home to 17th-century texts, a bona fide John Hancock on an original copy of the Bill of Rights and a smell that seeps up from the basement to greet visitors. “It’s a city sewer issue,” Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says of the odor, which you quickly get used to and she describes as one of the lesser drawbacks of the archives’ current home in leased Westminster Street office space. “That, honestly, is to me not as concerning as the fact that we have these amazing historic documents in a facility that is a nice office building, but is not made for properly storing and showcasing historic treasures.” Since 1990, the State Archives have lived in a temporary home on Westminster Street where sump pumps and vigilant staff make sure thousands of documents stored in the basement aren’t damaged by water. (Staff in the secretary of state’s office said the odor is “sewer off-gassing” and affects other downtown buildings.) The most irreplaceable texts — Roger Williams’ original land deed, a Declaration of Independence, the post-Gaspee renunciation of King George III — are in a smaller, locked, climate-controlled room away from public display. To protect the state’s historic documents from the next great flood and get more […]

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