The following is an announcement written by the Arizona Library Association and Friends of Arizona Archives:
PHOENIX, Sept. 11 -- Arizona history buffs, researchers, and genealogists are invited to attend the groundbreaking for the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building on Wednesday, September 20, 2006. The building site is located on the west side of 19th Avenue between Jackson and Madison streets. The ceremony will be at Noon at the site. At 12:45 p.m., a Supporters Sculpture will be unveiled in the 1938 addition of the State Capitol. At 1 p.m., Friends of Arizona Archives (FAzA) will host a reception in the Capitol's museum parlor.
The reason for a new state archives? According to Georgia Garbarino Biller, FAzA member and genealogist, "When original historical documents and photographs are destroyed nothing can replace them. The history of our state and country is too precious to let rot in dark, damp basements without protection. Seeing a multitude of storage boxes full of precious historical treasures damaged by mold and mildew, often impossible to repair, has made us fight for so long for a safe haven for our history."
Storing and maintaining a wide range of document collections and formats in Phoenix's hot climate presented a unique challenge. John Irvin, consultant to the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records agency, noted that the project's architects, engineers, and consultants designed an HVAC system and non-leaking, long-lasting roof that would meet the challenge. The building will also feature a full conservation laboratory and state-of-the-art blast freezer to eradicate pests.
Efforts to fund and build a new state archives have been over a decade in the making. Catherine May, archivist at Salt River Project, stated, "So many people have been instrumental in helping us finally get to this day -- from the hundreds of citizens who lobbied their state legislators, to members and staff of the Arizona Library Association and Friends of Arizona Archives, to key supporters in the State Legislature, to our Governor. Everyone who envisioned a new state archives building worked 'above and beyond' and deserves a 'pat on the back' for their monumental work."
For more information about the groundbreaking event, call 602-542-4159.