Preservation of Historical Town Document

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Location: 59 Town Hall Square, Falmouth MA 02540
Applicant: Town Clerk
Grant: $150,297
Year/Article: November 2006, A40

The Town Clerk requested and was appropriated $150,297 from the CPFund to preserve and protect historical town documents in order to fulfill the Clerk’s legal record management responsibilities under the Massachusetts Public Records Law. Records can self-destruct after years, and just touching them causes some of them to crumble. Many documents needed de-acidification, replication on archival-quality or acid-free paper, and the use of acid-free folders and storage boxes. The Town needed to develop an active and ongoing archival and records management program for preserving town documents in climate-controlled storage space. Records in bad repair needed to be reformatted into an electronic format and the records stored at a secondary location. Documents in the custody of the Town Clerk include filings, pole locations, cash records, Zoning Bylaws, Board of Appeals decisions, tax liens, Town Meeting minutes, Planning Board decisions, Attorney General approvals and rulings, and maps. Other records that must be preserved include those of the Town Assessor (records back to 1831 including maps, personal property records, abatement records, exemption records), Building Commissioner, and Legal Counsel. The funds were granted for archival preservation treatment and storage of historic documents over 50 years old. In 2016 the Town was in the process of identifying a permanent climate-controlled storage place for these archival records.

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