The Washington National Records Center (WNRC) in Suitland, Maryland, stores and references records of U.S. Federal agencies located in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Records are transferred to WNRC when they are no longer needed by the respective agencies, including the records of the Federal Courts in Columbia and the Armed Forces. Those records remain at the WNRC until acceptance as permanent records in the repository, or else they are destroyed and recycled. The records are tracked individually in a database from the time they arrive at the WNRC. While court records are freely available to the public, the majority of records is controlled by their respective originating agency, and all records are subject to the access restrictions specific to that agency.
The WNRC encompasses approximately 789,000 square feet of space and has a capacity to hold over 3.9 million cubic feet of Federal records. Security systems, and fire suppression systems protect the records in the Center. Upon arrival, visitors to the Center must go through security, sign in, and present photo identification at the guard's station in the entrance lobby.
In 2007, the WNRC opened a new Electronic Records Vault. The 976 square-foot vault allow Federal Records Centers to store and service temporary electronic records for Federal agencies. This was after a major criminal fire on Tuesday, 29 February 2000, which destroyed 700,000 pages, as reported by archives officials.
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Philip Reinders, 2016