NY state officials decide which 9/11 records will be preserved

Fight to save story of 9/11 goes on
State officials try to resolve what WTC records and items can and should be preserved

By PAUL GRONDAHL, Staff writer
First published: Saturday, April 7, 2007

ALBANY -- More than five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, archivists are still grappling with how and what to preserve of public records pertaining to the attacks and recovery efforts.

Officials with the State Archives and State Museum participated in a recent conference in New York City headlined by U.S. Archivist Allen Weinstein.

"Almost every state government agency was involved in some way with the response and recovery following the attacks," said State Archivist Christine Ward, who attended the conference.

While the State Archives has systems in place for preserving routine records of each state agency at automatic intervals, some files pertaining to their work after 9/11 don't fall into that category.

She mentioned that the State Emergency Management Office, the state departments of Health, Environmental Conservation, Education and other agencies generated reams of paper records and computer files regarding their direct, sustained involvement.

"We're concerned that the agencies could discard some of those records because they don't know what to do with them," Ward said.

Archivists apparently don't know what to do with them yet, either.

There was no consensus during the conference's ongoing dialogue among local, state and national archivists given the assignment of preserving the collective public memory of 9/11.

"We've spent the past five years identifying and collecting these important records, and now we're talking about what the next step should be," Ward said.

Part of the problem is that funding from the National Archives has run out, and more money is needed to begin storing and preserving records deemed worthy of keeping in the State Archives, Ward said.

"We'll be putting some funding estimates together on what the next phase will cost," Ward said.

The preservation of 9/11 records is currently fragmented and there was discussion of creating one central clearinghouse, although no decision was reached.

"It's going to take many more years to pull all this together," said Mark Schaming, the State Museum's director of exhibitions and public programs, who spoke at the conference.

Schaming and senior historian Craig Williams made dozens of trips to ground zero and the Fresh Kills landfill and amassed the nation's largest collection of artifacts. The Albany holdings include several thousand items and more than 1,500 cubic feet of sympathy material left at makeshift memorials in lower Manhattan.

Last month, Schaming and Williams traveled to ground zero and looked over what could become their latest artifact acquisition: 8-foot, 15-ton square metal grills anchored in bedrock to which the main structural columns of the twin towers were attached.

"They're remarkable objects that should be saved," said Schaming, who's in negotiations with Port Authority officials about where and how to store them before possible future transportation to Albany.

"The World Trade Center architects probably thought these would never be seen again, but they're intact and are now exposed with excavation going on at the site," Schaming said. The metal grills are just slightly below grade level on the site, he said.

"Hardly a week goes by that we don't get a call or two about 9/11 artifacts," Schaming said.

He noted that Williams has conducted more than 80 oral history interviews with 9/11 survivors and new people with important stories to tell keep coming forward.

"There's a natural instinct to want to collect and archive things," Schaming said.

"At some point, we have to decide what's important to preserve. We can't save everything," he said. "I keep asking myself what objects will help us tell the story of 9/11 100 years from now."

Grondahl can be reached at 454-5623 or by e-mail at pgrondahl@timesunion.com.

All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2007, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.


Unfortunately,Most/some of these artifacts/evidence will end up going to private auction (Sotheby's or some other) and will eventually end up as trophy pieces on some Neo-con, Pakistani, Saudi Arabian, Israeli Globalist' mutha's fireplace mantel.

Larry Silverstein and Dick Cheney (as part of their death sentences for crimes committed) should be required to build a big museum for this stuff (or is that blasphemy)?.........to remind all, what (some) men are capable of.

Maybe (some of the leftover stuff) could be saved for Steven Jones, and others .....to look at....maybe?

Someone should make a 9/11 Museum

Someone like Cuban, or multiple people who have the ability to fund a large project, should create a 9/11 Archival Museum where all of that stuff can be stored.

Who knows how much of it might be of value for later reference for the new investigation.

Senior 9/11 Bureau Chief Correspondent


"When the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box."

9/11 Truth is the Path to Peace

Cuban is not a real truther

Didn't you hear him call us the "enemy" on Fox News. He is trying to buy the rights to Loose Change so he can control how the people see it. He wants to make it a stupid gimmick for theaters and then wipe out all free online viewing of it.

Allen Weinstein was made the US Archivist by Bush a few years back. He controls what is kept and destroyed. He is, as we speak, destroying our history.