John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

National Archives and Records Administration

Boston, MA

Transformational technological advances made over the past 30 years meant the iconic building required extensive upgrades to protect the collections and enhance the visitor experience and comfort of building users. One of the busiest presidential libraries, the original I.M. Pei structure also required additional conference, classroom, and administrative spaces to accommodate its approximately 200,000 annual visitors.

To enhance the museum experience and address critical issues of collection storage, access, and management, we designed a respectful addition that deftly cants at a 45-degree angle to the original, leaving the massing and geometries of Pei’s building to stand on their own, largely undisturbed. 

I am proud to open this addition that provides essential storage space for the historical treasures housed in this Library and will allow it to fulfill its mission as the dynamic center of education that my parents envisioned.

Caroline Kennedy
archival room

Archival Standards

Specialized systems ensure the security, physical integrity, and accessibility of media and artifacts.

The control of temperature and humidity is vital to preserving artwork, books and mixed media, and other archival materials. Cooler temperatures and low relative humidity levels have been shown to significantly extend the life of printed materials. NARA has stringent requirements for humidity, temperature, gas infiltration control, and fire protection for all collections entrusted to the agency's management.

Archival storage often also utilizes compact shelving systems to house more linear feet of materials than traditional book stacks. Institutions challenged by severe shortage of space at their primary sites, such as the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, maintain climate-controlled archival storage facilities off site.