Senator Lamar Alexander and Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr., announced Friday that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will join them at an event with Smokies partners and conservation groups on Monday, to discuss the future of the recently-approved Joint Curatorial Collections Facility that will house more than 800,000 historical artifacts and archival records from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and four other Tennessee national park units.
The Joint Curatorial Collections Facility will preserve 422,000 historical artifacts and 450,000 archival records, including land records, oral histories, historic photos and park operating records, and items such as clothing, vintage weapons, logging-era equipment, farm tools and other possessions from the individuals and families living on the farmsteads of the Southern Appalachians in pre-park days. The archival collections will also include President Andrew Johnson’s presidential papers.
The total cost for funding the facility is approximately $4.3 million, more than half of which is being provided through private donations. In addition to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, other federal park and recreation areas will be able to make use of the new joint facility, including the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and Obed Wild and Scenic River. These sites currently house artifacts and records in facilities that do not meet National Park Service standards for physical security, or environmental controls to protect them from mold, insects, and fire.