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: www.methodist.org.uk/downloads/coun-MC14-40-methodist-heritage-april-2014.pdf
DRAFT guidance documents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to receive any comments or suggestions for improvement of this advice from chapel trustees who have referred to the draft guidance or from experts in the field of church objects with observations or experience to offer.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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7467 5164.
We hope to add additional documents to this suite on the implications of managing war memorials.