4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 29, 2016 10:57 AM by Maarja Krusten

    Check out this blog post on Public Feedback in archival records

    Meredith Stewart

      mmaxwell, a NARA staff member, has written a great blog post describing the Public Feedback that can be found in the archival Records of the National Archives.  Check it out here and follow the Text Message blog:

       

      A Record of Protest | The Text Message

        • Re: Check out this blog post on Public Feedback in archival records
          Maarja Krusten

          Thanks for posting the link to the fascinating post by Marie Maxwell about public feedback!  Glad to see such material in RG 328, National Capital Planning Commission, highlighted this way.  The Record Group includes a valuable photographic series for the city of Washington, DC--Aerial Survey Photographs, Parked Car Survey (1930). Aerial views of cramped alley dwellings a few blocks from the Capitol provide vivid non-textual context on living conditions in segregated neighborhoods in 1930.  I found these useful for gaining insights into some of the issues discussed by neighborhood associations and planning officials back then.

           

          Not only does Record Group 328 contain direct feedback from some members of the public on plans and proposals, it also contains some minutes of the meetings of the Commissioners.  Some show the officials discussing feedback from the public.

           

          In one case, I used RG 328 records in conjunction with those of RG 66, the Commission of Fine Arts, to trace why a Federal office building designed in the late 1940s shares space with a landmark church in downtown Washington.  The federal building, which opened in 1951, takes up nearly an entire city block--except for the church on a corner.  Meeting minutes from the late 1940s in RG 328 and RG 66 show planners discussing community feedback about the neighborhood church, which was built in 1890.

           

          Despite initial plans to tear it down, the church stands on the corner of the block of the federal building to this day!  Architects ended up designing the office building around it.  The Commission records provide very useful insights into the concerns of citizens who lived and worked in the neighborhood in the 1940s.  Thanks for highlighting RG 328 and the value of citizen input! 

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          • Re: Check out this blog post on Public Feedback in archival records
            Kelly Osborn

            That was a fantastic post. Thanks for sharing it!

            • Re: Check out this blog post on Public Feedback in archival records
              Marie Maxwell

              Thanks for the shout out.

              Yes, RG 328 and RG 66 have oodles of DC info.

              2 of 2 people found this helpful
                • Re: Check out this blog post on Public Feedback in archival records
                  Maarja Krusten

                  Yes!  And I also found fascinating street level photos of the DC neighborhood I was researching in the "Condemnation Photographs" in RG 121, Public Buildings Service, 1940.  These helped me place in context citizen input from the neighborhood around the church property that planners had hoped to acquire. NARA's wonderful 1990 exhibit (curated by Bruce Bustard), "Washington Behind the Monuments," featured an aerial photograph that shows the church and the restaurants, mom-and-pop corner store, and mix of other small businesses and residences that made up the block where the federal building now stands.  There's a wealth of visual information in the RG 328 aerial photos and the RG 121 "Condemnation Photographs" which document the properties in question.  Being able to look at the photos while studying assessments of citizen input really brought the time period and the neighborhood issues and community input to life!