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  • Here’s What DC’s Mayor Was Desperately Trying To Hide In The Archives Building

    The District’s Archives is a glorified warehouse in an alley in one of the roughest parts of town. That warehouse plays home to many priceless historical artifacts and documents, and those items could be in danger due to government negligence.

    The Daily Caller News Foundation first reported the problems with the D.C. Archives in March after learning of leaky roofs, inadequate security and a non-existent climate control system. Since then, TheDCNF has repeatedly requested access to the archives building, but all of those requests were ignored.

    Last month, TheDCNF obtained emails through a Freedom of Information Act request that appear to show members of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s staff actively conspiring to keep TheDCNF out of the archives building.

    After learning of the emails, TheDCNF again requested access to the archives building, and Bowser’s office again ignored those requests.

    On Thursday, though, the mayor’s office, and, in particular, the Secretary of the District of Columbia Lauren Vaughan, came just short of rolling out the red carpet for NBC Washington reporter Mark Segraves, granting him full access to the archives building and the artifacts inside.

    In his friendly review of the archives, Segraves simply refers to the building as “aging,” and downplays the dire condition of the artifacts in the archives.

    Segraves posted several pictures of the archives on Twitter showing
    250-year-old documents, including George Washington’s hand-written will, stored in cardboard boxes.

    Go inside the DC Archives tonight at 5. #News4 @FDCArchives pic.twitter.com/j1IXTDFHSQ

    — Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) November 12, 2015

    George Washington’s hand written will. Signed by first president. #DCArchives pic.twitter.com/kq6U5meNfv

    — Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) November 12, 2015

    More from inside DC Archives: pic.twitter.com/wqSk9DRrb1

    — Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) November 12, 2015

    Other pictures show other historic artifacts, like an electric chair used in D.C.’s jail and slave records, simply stacked in a corner with no protection from the elements.

    Inside the DC Archives:
    DC Jail’s Electric Chair and more. pic.twitter.com/XyXYFU4D7Q

    — Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) November 12, 2015

    electric chair used in DC’s jail, then displayed at Lorton, now at DC Archives. It bears the @generalelectric logo pic.twitter.com/kKjXDnPD1l

    — Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) November 12, 2015

    Vaughan told Segraves, despite the poor conditions, there hasn’t been any significant damage to artifacts in the building, but admitted “we have had some challenges with leaks and water damage.”

    TheDCNF reached out to both Vaughan and Mike Czin, Bowser’s spokesman, several times, but neither responded to requests for comment.

    The past two mayoral administrations have set aside just under $50 million to build a new archives building, but the city’s inaction in finding an architect or a site for the structure could put the artifacts in further danger.

    On Jan. 15, the city put out a Request for Proposals for architectural and engineering services for the new building with a closing date of March 1. That day came and went with no viable options for either an architect or a building site.

    The failure to secure services led the D.C. Council to eliminate funding for the new building in the 2016 budget. Instead of funding the construction in 2016, the money for the project will be put on hold until 2019, at the earliest.

    Until the new building is finished, D.C.’s historic records will continue to be housed in the poor conditions of the makeshift warehouse.

    Follow Josh on Twitter

    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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