That’s what most people think when they hear the word archive – mouldy old papers, disintegrating books, and faded photographs. It’s true that sometimes I encounter all three of these, but mostly the material that I work with is in much better condition.
I’m the self-appointed archivist for the NZBMS since our return to NZ shores. I’ve always loved books and research and I have 40 years of experience working with the mission – I’m well qualified for the job of sorting out and indexing our historical material. But just to make sure I knew how to do this I completed an archiving course earlier this year.
I realised the need for having our historical material available to researchers when I was putting together a brief history of our mission for the Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship. There was a lot of material but it was very hard to locate specific history. Hence my desire to do ‘sort things out’ when we returned to NZ.
I work with Liz, the archivist at Carey College library, sorting out boxes of photos, publications, videos and many many files of minutes, personnel, newsletters and diaries. I don’t think I’ll finish before the end of year! I’ve come across a few reel tapes as well as endless boxes of slides. Some of the VCRs have been converted to dvds or mp4 files but if you can help with this we still have a box of videos needed to be digitilised. I am often tempted to keep more copies than necessary – just in case. Its all so interesting and valuable.
I love this job –delving into history, tidying up and throwing out. It’s just what I want to be doing in my ‘retirement’.