The City Clerk’s Office is nearing completion of a project that will protect thousands of services personnel discharges (DD214s) from the ravages of time, thanks to a $3,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Prior to the project, the documents were preserved as white on black “photo static” images – a technology widely used in the 1960s and considered a good medium at the time. Archivists have learned over time, however, that these images don’t have long-term stability, allowing documents to fade and, if left unprotected, to simply fade away.
The grant has paid for the documents to be recopied onto archival paper (a very stable medium), after which, the archives clerk, Jan Marshall, placed them into appropriate archival binders. The city will receive the documents on uncut silver halide microfilm, all of which will ensure the documents’ protection for hundreds of years.
“We are very grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for their support of this project and for recognizing both the personal and historical value these records hold,” Mayor Scott Avedisian said.
DD214s are very important to veterans and their immediate family members, allowing them to receive such benefits as tax exemptions, medical benefits, burial in a military cemetery and the like.
The restored volumes will be located in a secure suite in the Clerk’s office, with the original volumes stored in a locked, off-site facility.
City Clerk Marie Ahlert encourages current military members to file their DD214s with the Clerk’s Office when they are discharged.
“It’s amazing how many people come to our office looking for these documents, especially when their loved ones have died and they want to honor them with a military burial,” she said in a statement.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage and lifelong learning.
The IMLS received a total of 146 grant applications for the FY2011 American Heritage Preservation Grants program. Through its peer review process, the IMLS selected 54 projects to receive funding.