The First Parish Church Archival Policy

The care and maintenance of our historical archive is governed by an Archives Policy, drafted by David Shawn of the Historical Committee and approved by the Parish Board.  It includes guidelines on what kinds of things should be placed in the archives (accession), how an archived item should be removed from the archives (de-accession), who should be allowed access to the archives and who should be notified in the event of an emergency that has an impact on the archive.

As processing of the archives continues, items will be reorganized to make them easier to locate.  An online finding aid has been developed to permit rapid searching of the material and limit the handling of the items.  Our goal is to make this finding aid available online via the Church Web Site.  The official policy follows:

Mission Statement:

The First Parish Church Archives is the official repository for non-current records having permanent historical, legal, fiscal or administrative value. The primary mission of the Archives, in adherence to the Mission Statement of First Parish Church, is to identify, collect, preserve, organize, describe and make available records documenting the history of the church. The Historical Committee maintains primary oversight of the Archives, its collections, access, preservation, security, and maintenance.

Collecting Policy:

The First Parish Church Archives seeks to collect records and artifacts created and kept by the FirstParishChurch, as well as monographs, articles, books or other materials about the church or its members. In addition, the Archives will collect the personal papers of ministers and, as deemed appropriate, the personal papers of other church leaders.

The First Parish Church Archives collects materials in a variety of formats, including paper documents, photographs, blueprints, audiotapes, videotapes, dvds, cd-roms, other electronic media, and works of art. The spatial limitations of the Archives will contribute to decisions about accepting specific items to the collection.

The Historical Committee, as the decision-making body of the Archives, reserves the right to refuse any proposed donations. If accepted, donations become the property of the church, unless other arrangements have been made in a donor agreement. In certain cases, such as the Archives being unable to adequately preserve or ensure the safety of specific materials, the Historical Committee may decide to discard, donate, or de-accession items from the Archives. Such decisions will be made in conjunction with the Parish Committee and published in the Chalice prior to any action taking place.

Reference and Access Policies:

First Parish Church welcomes research inquiries and use of the Archives. Pre-approval by the Minister and/or the designated representative of the Historical Committee is required for in-person access. The Archives is not open for visiting researchers without prior approval.

Requests from genealogists, scholars, or researchers for information from the Archives will be handled by the Historical Committee. In some cases the Historical Committee will be asked to do the research on behalf of someone who is unable to travel to First Parish. In such cases, the representative of the Historical Committee will indicate that donations to the Historical Committee are encouraged and accepted for research work.

All researchers will read and sign a copy of this procedures form for the Archives’ records.

Use Policies:

  1. Archival materials are consulted only with appropriate supervision.
  2. The order of materials will not be altered by the researcher under any circumstances. Problems or concerns should be brought to the attention of the appropriate representative of the Archives.
  3. Materials are not to be removed from the Archives unless designated for display or for other approved use by the Minister or an authorized member of the Church.
  4. No food or drink is allowed in the Archives.
  5. Researchers may use laptop computers or pencils and paper. No pens or ink are to be used around the Archival materials.
  6. Supervisors of researchers reserve the right to inspect bags and notebooks.
  7. Some materials are restricted and unavailable to researchers. Special requests for permission to access restricted materials must be made to the Minister.
  8. Access to materials does not constitute permission to publish. All permissions to quote unpublished materials must be obtained by writing to the Minister, the Historical and/or the Parish Committees.
  9. Permissions to quote unpublished materials should be included in any citations. The language to be used is as follows:  “These materials have been quoted with the permission of the First Parish Church Beverly, Unitarian Universalist.”
  10. Citations to unpublished materials should be made in full. Consult the representative of the Historical Committee for appropriate format
  11. Researchers are encouraged to donate a copy of any published work that makes use of the Archives’ holdings.
  12. Requests for photocopying or duplicating of materials from the Archives will be filled at the discretion of the Minister and/or the representative of the Historical Committee. Photocopying a reasonable amount of pages will be done for the researcher at the convenience of the Historical Committee and at a cost determined by the Historical Committee.

Security Policy

To be determined

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