Dallas has a new vault to store historic city documents, including items from the 1963 JFK assassination.

Mayor Mike Rawlings helped dedicate the storage area in the basement of Dallas City Hall on Wednesday. It has protective lighting, controls for temperature and humidity, and more than doubles the previous archive space, according to The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.ly/1yyCMWz ).

Some materials are from the Dallas police investigation of the fatal shooting of President John F. Kennedy. Rawlings looked at documents with the fingerprints of Lee Harvey Oswald, obtained after the assassin's arrest by Dallas police.

"Holy smokes," Rawlings said. "That's the original fingerprints. Could you imagine holding his hand down?"

City archivist John Slate called materials from the Dallas police investigation "easily the crown jewel of our collection."

Consolidating the archives will make the system more efficient for staffers and researchers, experts say. The documents, files, photos, maps and other records had been kept in various locations.

"This is a big event because we are able to finally combine all of the archives and historical materials for 150-something years of Dallas under one roof," Slate told those gathered outside the vault Wednesday.

Researchers and members of the public can view the documents by making appointments. The 12,000 or so digitized items are also available online through the Portal to Texas History maintained by the University of North Texas, the newspaper reported.

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Online:

http://texashistory.unt.edu/

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com