Archive Policy Document for MBA
In centuries to come, those things that Avatar Meher Baba touched, used or wore, the pictures and films of Him, the letters He wrote, and other objects and materials bearing the personal imprint of His Humanity will all serve as tangible links for savouring the fragrance of His physical Presence and for remembering His life as Man.
Any written communications between Meher Baba and His early disciples, or those from His Mandali, their published and unpublished writings and their artistic works, also form an integral part of the Archives to be established by the Meher Baba Association. We have been blessed also to receive into our care certain personal artefacts from Baba's close British disciples that we also treasure in appreciation of their close link to the Avatar of the age, and we undertake to preserve all these artefacts for the foreseeable future. It is our intention that those who have not yet come into Meher Baba's family will have the same opportunities to savour these links as we ourselves have been fortunate to experience.
The Archive Committee
The purpose of the Archive Committee is to safeguard and preserve for posterity the precious articles and the archival records that have come into the charge of the Meher Baba Association, both during Baba's lifetime and since His dropping the body. We also anticipate that in future other items will be bequeathed to us, that are directly associated to Baba's life and we will endeavour to preserve these also.
Functions of the Committee
1) To itemise those artefacts that are already in our care, attempt to establish their provenance, to scan and record them, before rehousing them in safe storage or/and in preparation for future display.
2) To record that information in such a way that the global community can know what is in our Archive and access information accordingly.
3) To establish statements of significance for the collection to guide decision making about the care of particular items, and in order to determine the investment we make in preservation and display.
4) Develop a collection management policy for best practice, as far as possible in line with that being used in the Meher Memorial Archive in Meherabad so that those handling items are informed in their special care.
5) As a committee be willing to train ourselves in the recording and handling of such materials as exist within our collection.
6) Determine to display, as appropriate, those items that it is in the public interest to see, whilst holding regard for the suitability of indefinite display.
7) Manage, according to a schedule, the rotation of displays of precious items in such a way that they may endure.
8) Consult with AMBPPCT Archival Team when we need specific advice in the care or handling of items.
9) Consult with the MBA Board regarding budget for archival work, submitting estimates in advance of purchasing.
10) Work collegiately (minimum 2 persons) when handling special items and transferring exhibits.
11) Meet a minimum of twice yearly for working parties on collection management, review and rotation of displays once established.
12) Archive Committee to report to the MBA Board at least twice yearly, and submit summary of activities and archival expenditure for AGM.
13) MBA to determine 'in principal' an operational budget for Archives that can roll over if unspent. (It is envisaged that a large sum of money will be invested in establishing storage and display facilities, but thereafter outgoings will be relatively small in accordance with incoming bequests).
14) In the event that the MBA is no longer able to carry out its purpose effectively with regard to such items identified as directly associated to Meher Baba, for example His garments, that such items be returned to AMBPPCT for any period of time as agreed with AMBPPCT.
15) The archive committee, on behalf of MBA, will undertake to accept into their care items directly associated to Meher Baba's life, and the lives of his close Mandali, that have been gifted to UK Baba lovers in their lifetimes - for example, Baba's hair, items of clothing, and signed correspondence - wherever this is practically possible.
16) The committee agrees its membership by mutual consent and is subject to MBA Board in regard to all its activities.
This policy was developed with help from MEM, Meherabad and Archives Committee.