The Preservation Centre

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Length: 4:16

Library and Archives Canada The Preservation Centre title screen

On-camera starts at 0:06

(Commentator is standing in the Preservation Centre Hallway)

Narrator: Ever wonder where Library and Archives Canada stores, protects, preserves and maintains Canada’s diverse, vast and rich documentary heritage? Several centuries old, this collective memory has a monetary value of billions of dollars and a heritage value that is priceless.

Narrator: Once dubbed "a modern temple of memory," our magnificent, state-of-the-art preservation centre is located in Gatineau, Quebec, just across the river from the nation’s capital. Follow me-I know you’ll be impressed.

Narrator: Built in response to what was, at the time, a much-needed secure environment for the premier collection of Canadiana in the world, this futuristic facility made of glass, stainless steel and concrete took four years to build, was within budget at a cost of $89 million dollars, and officially opened in June 1997 to much fanfare.

Narrator: While most buildings try to achieve only 50 or 100 years of service, this architectural marvel was purposely designed to last for at least 500 years of service with minimal material replacement.

Narrator: The structural support for the outer building consists of 34, eighty-foot tall stainless steel towers that resemble oil-rigs-all connected by curved beams. An obvious homage to the Canadian Prairies.

Narrator: Because of the harsh climactic conditions and severe temperature and humidity swings typical of our northern country, the concept of a building-within-a-building was used to help diminish fluctuations in the environments of the storage vaults.

Narrator: The heart of the Preservation Centre is a block of 48 climate-controlled vaults holding materials such as photographs, government records, works of art, musical heritage items, and private collections, to name just a few.

Narrator: As you can imagine, storing and providing for safe access to millions of items is no simple task. The vaults come equipped with easy gliding shelving systems that represent the equivalent of over 150 kilometers of shelving lined up end-to-end.

Narrator: Controlling humidity and temperature is part of the meticulous science of preserving these cultural items. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are located in a separate plant, and it’s the job of this maze of machines to pump in or remove humidity from the vaults.

Narrator: Located above the vaults are state-of-the-art laboratories grouped in a village-like configuration of lightweight steel. It’s on this floor that our professionals work hard protecting Canada’s treasures for the benefit of present and future generations.

Narrator: This area includes conservation treatment facilities for maps, manuscripts, books, photographs, oil paintings, medals and more.

Narrator: Preservation facilities for archival film, photography, imaging, and video and audio recordings also exist. But we’ll save what it is these professionals do for our next video.

Narrator: The Library and Archives Preservation Centre is one of Canada’s great cultural institutions-one that is truly like no other.

(Commentator is standing in the Preservation Centre Hallway)

Audio ends at: 4:27

(Screen fades to black and shows the web address and social networking pages of Library and Archives Canada, Facebook, and Twitter)

Social media addresses: Facebook, Twitter

Library and Archives Canada corporate identifier

Government of Canada corporate identifier

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