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Parkland Trauma Room


William Kelly
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http://www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/20...ecure_home.html

From a Dallas hospital to a Kansas quarry.

JFK's trauma room in a new, secure home

"Basically, it's not to be examined, not to be shown to the press, not to be photographed, not to be exhibited to the public."

- NARA Regional Administrator Reed Whitaker, who personally drove the truck with the trauma room "because he "was going there anyway."

They were moved from a locked vault in Fort Worth, Texas to an archives facility in an underground limestone quarry in Lenexa, Kansas, outside of Kansas City, Mo., known as "The Caves."

By David Flick

DALLAS MORNING NEWS

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008

DALLAS - A piece of JFK assassination history now lies buried in the most unlikely of places: a former limestone quarry in Kansas.

It is the end - at least for now - in the long and sometimes strange journey of Parkland Memorial Hospital Trauma Room No. 1, where President John F. Kennedy died on Nov. 22, 1963.

The entire room was purchased by the federal government 35 years ago, when Parkland officials decided to modernize their emergency facilities.

It was dismantled and the contents - all of them, the examination table, clocks, floor tiling, lockers, trash cans, surgical instruments, gloves, cotton balls, even a towel dispenser - were placed in a locked vault in a Fort Worth, Texas, warehouse run by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The artifacts lay undisturbed there until September, when they were moved to an archives facility in Lenexa, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, Mo.

"It's in a secure location," Reed Whitaker, the agency's Central Plains Region administrator, confirmed this month.

And in a comment guaranteed to get the conspiracy theorists going, he added:

"Basically, it's not to be examined, not to be shown to the press, not to be photographed, not to be exhibited to the public."

The artifacts were moved after archives officials in Fort Worth began last year to relocate their records to a new facility south of the city.

It was not a question of having space for the trauma room materials. The problem was that their odd shape wouldn't fit into the standardized spaces of the new facility, said Preston Huff, Fort Worth regional administrator.

"We're just not set up for artifacts like that," Huff said.

In September, Huff rented a truck and, accompanied by other archive employees for security, drove the artifacts to Lenexa.

"I was going up there anyway to be on a panel," he said. "I'm an administrator. I usually don't drive a truck, but I know how to drive one, so I did."

In Lenexa, the materials were placed in a 600,000-square-foot underground storage facility, one of two used there by the agency's regional office, where they are universally known as "The Caves."

The dismantled Trauma Room No. 1 will be stored there indefinitely - if not out of mind, then certainly out of sight.

Under the sale agreement between Parkland and the federal government, archives officials agreed to close the trauma room and its contents to the public, saying that they wanted to shield the pieces from exploitation.

Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman at the archives' national offices in Washington, acknowledged that the treatment of the trauma room materials is highly unusual.

Nearly all other presidential artifacts are stored in the nation's 12 presidential libraries, operated by the National Archives and typically open to public display.

"We pride ourselves on not just being a place for storage, but a resource for research," Cooper said. "This really is a unique situation."

The policy calls to mind the final scene in the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, when a crate containing the biblical ark of the covenant, which supposedly bestowed military invincibility on whoever possessed it, was unceremoniously stowed away in an anonymous government warehouse.

The difference is that the exact significance of Trauma Room No. 1 is unclear.

"Basically, this stuff has little, if any, historical value," Whitaker said. "Besides, who really wants to see an operating room? I wouldn't."

Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, which houses a large collection of material related to the assassination, disagrees that the trauma room lacks historical value. He said future historians might benefit from having access to the artifacts.

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Doesn't anyone else find it suspicious that the US government would purchase the Parkland Hospital Trauma Room where Kennedy was declared dead, store it away for decades, then have a mid-level NARA Regional administrator personally truck it to a remote NARA storage quarry site in Kansas?

And that this same administrator would declare these artifacts are not "historic" and

"Basically, it's not to be examined, not to be shown to the press, not to be photographed, not to be exhibited to the public."

Is this Soviet mentality rampant at the NARA?

Isn't anyone else curious as to what is going on here?

Bill Kelly

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/20...ecure_home.html

From a Dallas hospital to a Kansas quarry.

JFK's trauma room in a new, secure home

- NARA Regional Administrator Reed Whitaker, who personally drove the truck with the trauma room "because he "was going there anyway."

They were moved from a locked vault in Fort Worth, Texas to an archives facility in an underground limestone quarry in Lenexa, Kansas, outside of Kansas City, Mo., known as "The Caves."

By David Flick

DALLAS MORNING NEWS

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008

DALLAS - A piece of JFK assassination history now lies buried in the most unlikely of places: a former limestone quarry in Kansas.

It is the end - at least for now - in the long and sometimes strange journey of Parkland Memorial Hospital Trauma Room No. 1, where President John F. Kennedy died on Nov. 22, 1963.

The entire room was purchased by the federal government 35 years ago, when Parkland officials decided to modernize their emergency facilities.

It was dismantled and the contents - all of them, the examination table, clocks, floor tiling, lockers, trash cans, surgical instruments, gloves, cotton balls, even a towel dispenser - were placed in a locked vault in a Fort Worth, Texas, warehouse run by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The artifacts lay undisturbed there until September, when they were moved to an archives facility in Lenexa, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, Mo.

"It's in a secure location," Reed Whitaker, the agency's Central Plains Region administrator, confirmed this month.

And in a comment guaranteed to get the conspiracy theorists going, he added:

"Basically, it's not to be examined, not to be shown to the press, not to be photographed, not to be exhibited to the public."

The artifacts were moved after archives officials in Fort Worth began last year to relocate their records to a new facility south of the city.

It was not a question of having space for the trauma room materials. The problem was that their odd shape wouldn't fit into the standardized spaces of the new facility, said Preston Huff, Fort Worth regional administrator.

"We're just not set up for artifacts like that," Huff said.

In September, Huff rented a truck and, accompanied by other archive employees for security, drove the artifacts to Lenexa.

"I was going up there anyway to be on a panel," he said. "I'm an administrator. I usually don't drive a truck, but I know how to drive one, so I did."

In Lenexa, the materials were placed in a 600,000-square-foot underground storage facility, one of two used there by the agency's regional office, where they are universally known as "The Caves."

The dismantled Trauma Room No. 1 will be stored there indefinitely - if not out of mind, then certainly out of sight.

Under the sale agreement between Parkland and the federal government, archives officials agreed to close the trauma room and its contents to the public, saying that they wanted to shield the pieces from exploitation.

Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman at the archives' national offices in Washington, acknowledged that the treatment of the trauma room materials is highly unusual.

Nearly all other presidential artifacts are stored in the nation's 12 presidential libraries, operated by the National Archives and typically open to public display.

"We pride ourselves on not just being a place for storage, but a resource for research," Cooper said. "This really is a unique situation."

The policy calls to mind the final scene in the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, when a crate containing the biblical ark of the covenant, which supposedly bestowed military invincibility on whoever possessed it, was unceremoniously stowed away in an anonymous government warehouse.

The difference is that the exact significance of Trauma Room No. 1 is unclear.

"Basically, this stuff has little, if any, historical value," Whitaker said. "Besides, who really wants to see an operating room? I wouldn't."

Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, which houses a large collection of material related to the assassination, disagrees that the trauma room lacks historical value. He said future historians might benefit from having access to the artifacts.

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