SCHUMER: FDR PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY IN DESPERATE NEED OF REPAIR AS BUILDING DANGEROUSLY DETERIORATES -- FLOODING THREATENS PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM, SCHUMER TO PUSH FOR FUNDING TO SAVE LIBRARY
Library in Dutchess County's Hyde Park Intended to Protect and Preserve President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Archives and Documents Unable to Gain Significant Funding for Repairs Last YearSchumer Calls For Key Funding to Meet Safety Code and Federal Standards for Archival and Historic Collections - Add Interactive Museum Galleries to Update the First-Ever Presidential Library
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer revealed the dangerously deteriorating condition of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park that threatens the museum by putting it at risk of flooding, sewage damage and hindering its ability to modernize its exhibits. The firstever presidential library and museum sorely need support and funding to modernize and update the building structure and exhibits, protect and archive historic documents, and revitalize the museum for New Yorkers and the rest of the country.
While touring the damage at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, Schumer announced he is fighting for key funding so that the library can be upgraded to a stateofthe art facility, meet safety code and federal standards for its archival and historic collections, as well as install cuttingedge technology. Schumer warned that unless something is done, the nation's first presidential library, intended to preserve President Roosevelt's documents and archives, will be perilously close to ruin.
"Despite the best efforts of dedicated supporters, the state of dilapidation at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum is shocking," Schumer said. "It is high time we give sorelyneeded support to this treasured library to protect President Roosevelt's critical documents and renovate the museum's exhibits so that this historic gem can thrive once again, boosting tourism and research in Hyde Park and Dutchess County.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is in dire need of federal funding as it continues to fall into a decrepit state that puts it at risk of flooding and sewage damage. The Roosevelt Library is a federal facility managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. It is the country's first (and oldest) presidential library and was constructed under the President's personal direction in 193941. The library holds the 17 million page archive of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and 385 of their associates and serves as the world's leading archive of the New Deal and World War II. It also houses a historical museum and Roosevelt family collections that convey the importance of the Roosevelt era to 112,000 museum/research visitors and 13,000 students annually.
"From his indomitable spirit confronting the great Depression and forging the New Deal, to his foresight and resolve facing down Fascism through World War II, FDR was without question one of the giants of American History. And so much of who he was formed and is now stored right here in Hyde Park. The Hyde Park FDR Library is the firstever presidential library and it deserves a level of support from the federal government commensurate with the greatness of Roosevelt's presidency and his incalculable impact on American and world history," said Schumer.
With nearly 1500 researchers in person in Hyde Park every year, plus 2,775 more via phone, mail and email, and a website that serves more than 1.2 million unique users annually, the Roosevelt Library archive consistently ranks at or near the top in terms of researcher usage. With its research value and museum, the facility lures tourists and is an economic benefit to the entire region.
Despite its economic, historic and educational value, the library's infrastruc
ture is dangerously deteriorated. The library's main wiring dates from 1941 and its heating and air conditioning systems violate federal standards for the longterm preservation of historical materials. Its security and fire safety systems are outmoded and inadequate, threatening both public safety and the world's only repository of Roosevelt holdings. Also, the septic system is 67years old and in danger of backing up into the building while the basement floods from groundwater and leaks.
The Library's archival and museum value is also threatened by the building's condition the archives storage space exceeds capacity, even though new materials are donated on a regular basis. Workspaces and stacks do not meet modern security standards, putting the archives at risk of theft. Museum exhibits are outmoded and the public cannot view more than a small fraction of the museum collection. Permanent exhibits that tell the story of the Roosevelt presidency are twenty to thirty years old.
In order to help renovate and revitalize the Library, Senator Schumer is pushing for nearly $17.5 million in funding requested by the library so that the facility can meet safety code and federal standards for its archival and historic collections, as well as move towards using more technology. "The conditions of this library put at risk the world's only archive of Franklin D. Roosevelt," Schumer said. "It is critical that we work to update and preserve a library that houses documents from some of the most crucial decades of modern American history. The documents and materials stored here are as precarious as they are precious; we must do all we can to preserve them for all generations."