UMTV: Museum of Methodism
The United Methodist Church's heritage dates back 300 years. This rich history comes to life in a collection found at Drew University. Lilla Marigza leads a video tour of this treasure trove.
(Locator: Madison, New Jersey)
You might call this place the Smithsonian of United Methodism.
The Rev. Robert Williams, Chief Executive, Archives & History: "You are in the richest collection of Methodism of a global scope anywhere in the world."
An astonishing six miles of carefully cataloged documents...
L. Dale Patterson, Administrator, Archives & History: "...letters going back to John and Charles Wesley, to the latest newspaper that came out let's say last week...."
L. Dale Patterson: "...probably around the 1920s."
...plus one-of-a-kind artifacts.
L. Dale Patterson: "The British Methodist home was not complete without a Wesley on the mantelpiece."
The General Commission on Archives and History is housed at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.
L. Dale Patterson: "This is the surviving death mask of John Wesley."
Most of the treasures here are on paper, and it takes time and technology to maintain the data.
L. Dale Patterson: "Much of what we do here is just sorting."
Audio/visual archives capture important chapters of the church's history, too-like the 1939 General Conference.
Archive: "The plan of union as adopted is the constitution of this united church..."
Robert Williams: "Unless we work together at record keeping, at archiving, and telling the stories of the past, we will lose a part of who we are."
L. Dale Patterson, Administrator, Archives & History: "Our history isn't just our history. It impacts other people in this country and literally around the world. We'd be so terribly diminished without it."
The General Commission on Archives and History Web site offers a virtual encyclopedia of United Methodist history with featured stories, biographies, and family genealogy search tips. For more information, visit www.gcah.org or call 973-408-3189.
This story was originally posted on January 7, 2010.