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Hidden Treasures: Opening the 'Public Vaults'

The National Archives houses more than 10 billion paper records, 30 million photographs and nearly 3 million maps and charts -- everything from childhood photos of presidents to the deed for the Statue of Liberty.

For security purposes, records stored at the National Archives can only be examined in research rooms. Only staff members are allowed inside the vaults. But a new exhibition, called the Public Vaults, lets regular citizens peek at some of the government's hidden treasures. Harriet Baskas tours the exhibit.

The historic gems include memos from a 1952 Air Force study of UFO sightings; immigration papers for Albert Einstein and Alfred Hitchcock; and the famous tape recorder used by Rose Mary Woods, President Nixon's secretary.

This story is part of the Hidden Treasures Radio Project, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Cultural Development Authority of King County, Wash.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Harriet Baskas