New happenings with older items! These are the benefits of the EMC’s partnership with the Mennonite Heritage Centre (MHC) in Winnipeg, Man.
Two recent Plett Foundation grants have allowed work on EMC materials. One grant covered data entry for about half of the EMC materials; more work is needed. A second allowed printed photos to be transferred to a digital format; Emilie Bartel (Kleefeld) was involved with this project.
On Sept. 12, 2015, most of the EMC’s archival holdings were moved from the vault in the EMC’s national office in Steinbach to become part of the collection at MHC in Winnipeg. The EMC Archives Committee, which operates under the Board of Church Ministries, agreed to transfer the storage of the materials, not their ownership. The materials remain within the control of the EMC.
The EMC’s national vault had bulged for years, and the EMC Archives Committee worked diligently for ways, without success, to keep the files closer to our national office. It pondered MHC’s facility and, after discussion with the MHC and BCM, the BCM signed a storage agreement.
The EMC now has its archival holdings located in a suitable space, one shared with MC Manitoba, the EMMC, and MCC. This makes it easier for wider research purposes.
How has MHC helped the EMC? Director Korey Dyck and archivist Conrad Stoesz helped transfer EMC archives to MHC’s site. Korey also wrote and submitted a grant application to help the EMC; a grant worth $4,510 was received.
Because of that grant, Helene Warkentin spent about 250 hours organizing and describing the EMC records. John I. Friesen spent 33 hours listing the three EMC periodicals for both EMC and MHC collections, Korey says. Conrad Stoesz supervised Helene Warkentin in compiling the EMC’s finding aids to help search within MHC’s database, Korey says. MHC has spent more than 300 hours working on EMC material, says Dyck.
The EMC Archives Committee is exploring ways to become a full partner in MAID (Mennonite Archival Images Database), the image sharing service of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada. The EMC is a partner in the MHSC.
The MAID service involves a one-time fee of $2,000 and annual maintenance costs. This is a challenge for an Archives Committee that has for years operated on a shoestring budget (total of $500 to $1,900 per year).
The EMC Archives Committee budget is to include a MHSC membership fee ($350), costs for an EMC representative on the MHSC board (varies by meeting location), storage fees at MHC (about $1,000), and local Archives Committee costs.
The Archives Committee members are Don Kroeker, Loren Koehler, and Glen Klassen. Terry Smith is connected as BCM’s executive secretary. MHC’s key people are Korey Dyck and Conrad Stoesz.
- Terry M. Smith