The Navy has closed its archives to all visitors and research requests after lawmakers failed to avert sequestration last week.

The Naval History and Heritage Command Archives, located at the Washington Navy Yard, features personal papers, manuscripts, oral histories, biographies, photographs and operational reports of naval commands spanning back hundreds of years.

Navy officials said the closure was necessary as they were forced to try and balance information needs and ongoing preservation and conservation efforts with available resources. The doors will remain shuttered and staff will be limited in responding to official reference requests until further notice.

“Clearly we’re working hard to stretch the available remaining resources and manpower to sustain our operations, and closing the archives over the period is going to have to be a ‘bill payer’ until the sequestration is lifted,” NHHC director Capt. Jerry Hendrix said in a Navy statement last week. “I’m very focused on making Navy history relevant by continuing to move this organization forward, and that means focusing on and investing in the future.”

In 2012, NHHC and Washington Navy Yard Public Works began a two-year facility renovation project, the statement said. The renovations include refurbishment of archive space, mold decontamination and creation of environmentally controlled storage space.

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