First look at the Methodist Archives since 22 February 2011

Jo Smith, Archivist, Methodist Church of New Zealand Archives updates us on the state of the collection :

After 7 months of worrying about how the Archives Collection had fared, on 5 October, clad in safety helmet and high-vis vest, I finally gained access to the Methodist Archives Collection Store in our building at 25 Latimer Square.  At last I could see for myself what state the collection was in.

 To cut a long story short, it looks like the Methodist Archives will be closed for the foreseeable future. We have been told by our engineer that 25 Latimer Square is sound and safe, but the building needs repair.

 I could see immediately that the bank of mobile shelving which contains the collection was badly damaged and will need to be replaced.  Shelves have collapsed from their fittings within the rows.  We do not have lockable units, so each row moved round with the shaking, and one has jumped off the tracks.

 The building is still within the CBD Red Zone cordon, (plus no electricity or water is connected to the building), so we are still waiting for this restriction to change before any real progress can be made.  Once this happens we will be able to more easily access our building and with electric light, be able to assess the situation better.  Let’s hope that when the Red Zone cordon is reduced at Christmas, that will include us.

 Because we can’t safely move the mobile shelving, I could not tell how much damage has occurred to the majority of the archives; but I picked up all the boxes of the floor in the aisle which were in a waist high heap – there was some crushing of contents due to boxes falling on top of boxes. 

 No signs of water damage and the collection is securely locked up within the building.  I am reasonably optimistic that the majority of the Archives Collection is undamaged, and if this is the case, it will because of the massive effort the volunteer team has put into boxing the collection over the last 5 years.

 One worrying sight was silverfish scuttling away in the torchlight, so pest control will also be on the agenda.

In the meantime, the Archives volunteer team is continuing with our work at our temporary premises at 1 Maydell Street, on a variety of research, indexing and typing projects which do not require the collection. 

 Contact Jo Smith, email archives@methodist.org.nz

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Filed under Archives, Canterbury Quake, Collections

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