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Museum of Methodism

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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.

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SCRIPT:

(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....”

…250,000 photographs…

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.”

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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.

Posted: January 7, 2010