Are you interested in knowing which records from NARA’s DC-Area Textual Services Division in Off-Site Storage?

At the last DC-Area Researchers Group meeting, a researcher asked which records from the Washington, DC, and College Park Textual Services Division had been sent to off-site storage. We have posted a list of the records sent to off-site storage online at (look for the link to the list on the right side of the page).  You can down the PDF of the list at

The following is a guest post from Ann Cummings of Textual Services Division about these records.

For the past several years, the Office of Record Services in Washington D.C. (NW) has been creating additional space for permanent records at the Archives 2 (National Archives at College Park) facility by shipping seldom used records to off-site archival bays located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Lenexa, Kansas. These archival bays are run by the Central Plains Region of NARA.

Ashley Bucciferro describes archival records sent to off-site storage in Lee's Summit, Missouri
Ashley Bucciferro describes archival records sent to off-site storage in Lee’s Summit, Missouri

We determined that the cost of shipping and storing records in the Central Plains Region was significantly cheaper than storing the materials at an off-site location in the Washington, D.C. area.

We define seldom used records as materials that have had no use by researchers, or have had less than five (5) requests made by researchers per year. However, we are very aware that research trends change. What is a seldom used record today may be the key to the new and exciting research topic of tomorrow. Because of this, our staff created box lists for the materials that were shipped to off-site storage, in an effort to assist researchers in retrieving specific materials.

Also, after several years of shipping records off-site, we determined that it was much easier and safer to retrieve a specific case file than it was to reference whole boxes of records. Therefore, we shipped various types of case files from the Patent and Trademark Office to off-site storage. While patent case files may not meet the above definition of “seldom used” records, since researchers request on average about eight (8) to ten (10) specific case files per month, we determined that these records are used far less than most other types of case files at Archives 1 and Archives 2.

If you need to have specific boxes or case files returned from off-site storage, we are happy to recall the records for you. The materials will be available within 48 to 72 hours of the initial request. Please send your requests to

Denise Henderson describes archival records in off-site storage in Lee's Summit, Missouri
Denise Henderson describes archival records in off-site storage in Lee’s Summit, Missouri

More information about some of the records on the list can be found in the Online Public Access search by searching either the title or ARC ID number provided on the list.

Learn more about all of the records held by the Textual Services Division on their blog, The Text Message.

6 thoughts on “Are you interested in knowing which records from NARA’s DC-Area Textual Services Division in Off-Site Storage?

    1. Pam –

      Yes, that is Denise Henderson on the ladder. We’ve added a caption to the photo to identify Denise. If you haven’t done so already, check out Denise’s posts on the Text Message.

      – Rebecca

  1. Who’s that archivist? lol! Thanks for adding the caption, Rebecca!

    Check out what some of the archivists at Archives 2 are working on – visit us at the Text Message!

  2. I have to question the use of the term “off site storage” when it refers to another NARA run site. Generally speaking, when anyone in RM thinks of off site, they think of a commercial service provider. As someone who works aligned with a Federal Agency, when I saw this as a headline in this (and the subsequent) post, I got a bit nervous.
    Also this image was a bit disconcerting- maybe because I work in a seismically active area. No straps on the shelves over 5′ off the floor to prevent boxes from falling?

  3. We use the term “off-site” for a couple of reasons. First, because the Textual Archives Section at Archives 2 is still the custodial unit for the records, but the materials are not held at that facility. They are “off-site.” Also, we pay for the space at the Lenexa facility just like any other federal agency, who store records with the NARA Records Center. Therefore, we are a customer and the Records Center is providing us a service.

    For questions concerning the complaince standards for shelving at a NARA Records Center, you should direct your question to the National Records Center Program.

  4. 1). Your links in the italicized introductory paragraph above are now broken – could you update them?

    2). I an unable to read the text that runs across the photo – it is completely indecipherable over that background. Is it simply a computer quirk that displays it like that?

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