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New Archives Exhibit in the World Bank Visitor’s Center

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Every year, thousands of visitors make their way through the Visitor’s Center on the east side of the World Bank’s Main Complex building at 1818 H Street in Washington DC. Some have regular business with the Bank and have passed through many times. Others, attending a meeting or conference or perhaps conducting research at the World Bank Group Archives, are venturing through our doors for the first time.

The Visitor’s Center offers a unique opportunity to welcome all guests and partners of the World Bank Group (WBG) and to explain the institution’s purpose and mission. As part of a recent renovation to the Visitor’s Center, the Archives was asked to create an exhibit that would contribute to these objectives. Our approach was to design a series of panels that explore the WBG’s history: highlighting its accomplishments, its leaders, and its approaches to development. In addition to text and images, we included a timeline that charts the WBG’s country membership since its conception in 1944; each panel depicts ten years in the WBG’s history and shows the year countries joined each of the World Bank Group’s five institutions as members.

The exhibit also includes the broadcast of a 15-minute video produced by the Archives in cooperation with the Development Economics Vice Presidency. The video, entitled World Bank Group History: Exploring the Archives, surveys the course of the WBG’s history and introduces the visitor to the Archives and the various types of records that can be found in our holdings.

By sharing who and what the WBG is and how it has evolved over time, the Archives is reflecting a development community that values openness, inclusion, and collaboration. So next time you are entering the Bank as a visitor, or you are a staff member waiting to meet a guest, take a moment to view our work and learn more about the Bank’s history –  and visit our website or view our Open Archives brochure for more information about the Archives’ services and resources!