PROVIDENCE – Today Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea announced that the Rhode Island State Archives and its historic collections will be moving to a new home at 33 Broad Street in Providence. This facility represents a major upgrade in the preservation and protection of Rhode Island’s historical treasures dating back to 1638 and improves public access to these items.
“The Rhode Island State Archives are home to some of the most important documents in our country’s history, including an original signed copy of the Declaration of Independence and one of 13 original copies of the Bill of Rights,” said Secretary Gorbea. “The improved conditions at the Archives’ new location will ensure that these priceless pieces of history are preserved for future generations.”
The Rhode Island State Archives has occupied leased office space at 337 Westminster Street in Providence since 1990. The lease on the current location was not renewed by the landlord. The new location at 33 Broad Street in Providence was selected through the public bid process as required under state law. The new location meets national archival standards and offers several improvements, including:
- A dedicated climate-controlled vault;
- Modern and comfortable research and conference space for the public;
- Additional exhibition and display space; and
- Enhanced building security.
“We are very pleased about the upcoming move of the Rhode Island State Archives offices and collections to a location that will ensure a greater degree of preservation, access, and security,” said Barbara Teague, Executive Director of the National Council of State Archivists.
“The new space will allow the Archives to make needed improvements in terms of climate control, storage space, and security – all of which will go a long way to ensuring the long-term preservation of Rhode Island’s archival collections,” said Bexx Caswell-Olson, Director of Book Conservation at the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
The ten-year lease on the 33 Broad Street location begins in August. Collections at the current State Archives location will be packed and moved to the new location throughout the month of July by William B. Meyer, Inc., a company that specializes in library and archival relocations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of many state offices, State Archives staff will continue to provide virtual reference via phone and email and will begin welcoming researchers in a limited appointment-based capacity this fall.