What does it take to move an archives with all its 240-plus years of papers, books, maps, letters, minutes, diaries, pictures, scrapbooks, file cabinets, furniture, chalice, and clock?
We don’t know about others, but for us it took a bunch of volunteers and three hot days in August, not to mention a lot of preparation work.
Beginning July 1, 2001 the Moravian Archives was closed to the public to let the staff begin stuffing, stacking, and wrapping. Some 600 corrugated packing boxes were used, many of them several times, and many of those after the Moravian Music Foundation had used them in its move to the new Archie K. Davis Center.
Much planning went into deciding what items would go where. With 4,150 linear feet – more than 10 football fields – of shelf space in the new storage vault, it is wise to know where, say, the 20th century church boxes will go.
Then came the move itself. An army of volunteers assembled, including staffs of the Music Foundation and the Salem College Library, members of Moravian churches and the Salem Band, family members, and friends, all ably assisted by the Salem Congregation grounds crew. For three sweltering August days we lugged, hauled, and “bucket-brigaded” boxes from the old archives home into trucks and cars for the short drive to the Davis Center next to God’s Acre in Salem.
The larger furniture was left to professional movers to handle, but by the time our volunteers finished, in less than a week we had transported most of our 3,250 gray archival boxes and 630 linear feet of books to their new home. Like nature abhorring a vacuum, we spread out along our shelving so that we look quite full – though we can squeeze in another 8,000 boxes in a pinch.
By mid September the Moravian Archives had re-opened, and only occasionally have we had to ask, “Now where is. . . .”