Management of Historic Artefacts

Objects are not Archives

The Methodist Church has detailed instructions in its Constitutional Practice & Discipline on what records to keep, and how to manage them as they become archives of the Church (specifically in Standing Order 015, and associated guidance documents). Until 2014 the Methodist Church did not have similar policies or guidance, or obvious repositories, in relation to the historic artefacts we have amassed.

Conveniently, the Church's desire to deposit its locally-created records in the context of other local history in the relevant regional record office is supported by The National Archives and the local Records Offices as good practice. Generally our documents are welcome and graciously received. However, local record offices rarely want objects, or even printed books. Additional advice on what documents to keep (retention schedules) , where and how to deposit Methodist records, and how to access Methodist archives for research purposes are available elsewhere on this website.

One of the consequences of the need to rationalise circuits and take decisions on closing chapels is the increasing need for support for trustees in managing the memorabilia closing chapels contain. Proposing a policy and developing guidance have been prioritised by the Heritage Committee in 2013/14.

The Methodist Church's policy

The Historic Artefact Collections Management Policy was approved by the Methodist Council in April 2014. It was presented in the context of the achievements and future aspirations of the Heritage Committee against its first three-year development strategy, 2011-14. This policy was the final major piece of work to be completed in that initial strategy. The full report can be read at:

DRAFT guidance documents

Alongside this policy, the Council has directed the Heritage Committee to draft a suite of guidance documents. These DRAFT documents are listed and available as pdfs to download below. The Heritage Committee would be pleased to receive any comments or suggestions for improvement of this advice from chapel trustees who have referred to the draft guidance or from experts in the field of church objects with observations or experience to offer.

Please feed back any comments via Owen Roberts, Methodist Heritage Officer, at or call 020 7467 5164.

  1. Acquiring new objects - questions to think about before you say 'yes' to a new object acquisition, and how to say 'no' to an object you don't want and can't look after and/or use for mission
  2. Caring for objects - advice on ensuring you know what you have through making an inventory and how to keep any historic artefacts safe through careful handling, conservation etc.
  3. Assessing significance - advice to read alongside use of the 'Significance assessment grid' to help you determine the 'value' of objects
  4. Significance assessment grid - a tool to help you decide on the importance of an historic object to the Methodist Church locally or Connexionally
  5. Action matrix - some ideas for what to do with artefacts now you have an idea of their importance to your chapel or the wider Connexion
  6. Disposing of objects - the overriding principle for keeping things is that they have use in mission, or may have in the future, so what should be the process for getting rid of anything you do not want? Key steps to take in getting rid of things. Please note we are still seeking additional legal advice on this DRAFT guidance in particular.
  7. Features in Listed Buildings - please be aware that you should seek additional guidance from the Connexional Conservation Office in any case involving a listed building, and particular care is needed where the building retains many original features and or a near complete period interior.

We hope to add additional documents to this suite on the implications of managing war memorials.



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