Boston, MA - 01/29/19 - Guests visit with archival items during the opening celebration. New vault storage opened at the Massachusetts State Archives, allowing state, court, and military records to reside in one place. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: (in caps) Topic: (30newvault)
Guests examined items at the Massachusetts State Archives at the opening of a new archival storage space in Dorchester.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff

State Archives expands, welcomes new records

Massachusetts officials on Tuesday unveiled a new vault to store the commonwealth’s myriad historical treasures and documents accumulated over nearly four centuries.

The expanded 25,000 square-foot space in Dorchester allow the archives to grow after the Columbia Point building reached a “critical point” of limited space, said Michael Comeau, executive director of the archives. The space also features modern environmental and security controls.

Boston, MA - 01/29/19 - John Hannigan (cq), head of reference services, explains the story behind an item to some visitors. New vault storage opened at the Massachusetts State Archives, allowing state, court, and military records to reside in one place. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: (in caps) Topic: (30newvault)
John Hannigan, head of reference services, explained the story behind an item to some visitors of the archives.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff

“The documents keep coming in, and the government keeps making documents,” Comeau said. “It’s a continually growing collection. It isn’t an old dusty museum collection; it’s organic and it’s going to keep expanding.”

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The State Archives, which is under the jurisdiction of Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office, holds permanent records of Massachusetts’ history.

To mark grand opening, selected highlights of our rich past were on display Tuesday, including documents from several founding fathers, an engraving plate by Paul Revere, items from the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, and trial papers from the Boston Massacre.

The opening follows a recently announced online digital archive base that allows users to search for specific documents. Comeau said this was done to increase public accessibility to some archives.

The increased space was necessary to bring in more records and to preserve the history of the Commonwealth, said Debra O’Malley, Galvin’s spokeswoman.

“As long as there’s a Massachusetts, there will be an archive,” O’Malley said.

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Boston, MA - 01/29/19 - Detail of a copper etching by Paul Revere used to reproduce artwork for sale of British troops landing in 1768. New vault storage opened at the Massachusetts State Archives, allowing state, court, and military records to reside in one place. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: (in caps) Topic: (30newvault)
Detail of a copper etching by Paul Revere used to reproduce artwork for sale of British troops landing in 1768.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Boston, MA - 01/29/19 - Guests visit with archival items during the opening celebration. New vault storage opened at the Massachusetts State Archives, allowing state, court, and military records to reside in one place. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: (in caps) Topic: (30newvault)
Guests visited with archival items during the opening celebration.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Boston, MA - 01/29/19 - A book of case assignments for the SJC kept by Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. for the 1899-1900 term. New vault storage opened at the Massachusetts State Archives, allowing state, court, and military records to reside in one place. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: (in caps) Topic: (30newvault)
A book of case assignments for the SJC kept by Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. for the 1899-1900 term
Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Boston, MA - 01/29/19 - John Hancock's signature rests at the bottom of his inaugural address as Governor. New vault storage opened at the Massachusetts State Archives, allowing state, court, and military records to reside in one place. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: (in caps) Topic: (30newvault)
John Hancock's signature at the bottom of his inaugural address as Governor.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff