04 March 2009

An archive in Germany collapses -- literally

When I got home from work today, I read the news headlines that I receive each day via Google. A headline from Spiegel Online International chilled me: "History in Ruins: Archive Collapse Disaster for Historians."

The building housing the city archive of Cologne, Germany literally collapsed. This archive is the largest municipal archive in Germany and had shelves of manuscripts, photos, books, and artifacts that would run twenty miles long if laid end to end. Among the thousands of documents are items as early as 922 A.D, receipts from the 1300s and 1400s, 700 years of city council minutes, papers of well-known Germans, 104,000 maps, and 500,000 maps.

Archivists and staff made it out safely, but it is feared that two residents of an adjacent building may not have survived. The 14 pictures at the link above are devastating. Speculation is that work underground on a subway system may have caused the disaster.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Yes, scary! We saw this on our Ontario chapter APG list which reverberated because the Archives of Ontario building in Toronto is not only permeated with very unhealthy mold, but also the floors are dangerously sagging! The AO is moving in three weeks to its first purpose-built facility. (Alas, it will be in the farflung 'burbs, not easy access for those of us who are downtowners).