In February 2020, NARA took occupancy of new archival storage space for congressional records on the third floor of the Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) Building A, located on North Capitol Street in Washington, DC. The Center for Legislative Archives, the custodial unit responsible for the permanent, official records of the U.S. House of Representative, U.S. Senate, and legislative branch commissions, then began the move of records stored in temporary storage spaces at the Washington National Records Center (WNRC) into the new GPO spaces. These accomplishments marked the culmination of a multi-year effort by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to create additional storage space for the records of Congress.
Photograph of the GPO Building on North Capitol Street, courtesy of the U.S. Government Publishing office
The Center’s total volume of textual holdings is currently over 183,000 cubic feet, and in 2014 its available storage space in Archives I was essentially full. WNRC offered temporary storage space to allow the Center to continue to accession new House and Senate records, and the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate, the official record keepers for the House and Senate respectively, encouraged NARA to locate additional records storage space in Washington, DC for House and Senate records. NARA identified suitable space in the GPO Building, where the Office of the Federal Register and the Office of Government Information, had relocated its offices.
In 2015, NARA’s Office of Business Support worked with a contract architectural and design firm to provide drawings and cost estimates to convert the GPO space into archival storage space. Congress appropriated funds for the project in the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act, and GPO awarded a construction contract for the project in late 2017. In December 2019, construction was completed and environment testing of the spaces was conducted to demonstrate that the temperature and relative humidity readings met NARA standards for archival storage spaces.
In progress construction in GPO building. Photograph by the National Archives
February 2020 marked the beginning of the move of the records in temporary storage into the GPO spaces and the direct transfer of new accessions of records from the House and Senate into the new spaces. With 50,000 cubic feet of unclassified records storage space now available, NARA has provided ample space for the anticipated growth of House and Senate records and preserved these valuable records for future use by the broad array of researchers who use congressional records, including cultural and political historians, political scientists, genealogists, legal and constitutional scholars, journalists, and documentary filmmakers.