The Synod of 1961 came to a clear decision over the archives of the church, over which it has full and exclusive authority. The Synod goes to some cost and effort to house the archival documents of the church councils.
The aim of the archive:
The archive is a source of information systematically organised and in service of the Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika.
As a rich source of information the archive also serves a range of other sciences (individuals or institutions of other subject fields), responds to official and academic institutional queries and provides researchers with information on research methodology.
Functions of the archive:
- identifies, obtains and evaluates records/material of historical value;
- creates adequate and proper conditions for the storing, protection and retaining of archive records and other collections;
- restores, orders and catalogues archive records and collections to enable the documentation of their physical location (where they are located);
- sets up a system for research, makes archive material available and offers assistance to researchers;
- offers access to information that complies with the law and gifting agreements;
- makes information available on collections to stakeholders within and outside the church; and
- liaises with other archive and collection enterprises at church, national and provincial level.
Archive material is at present stored in boxes, but storage space is running out.
Additional space for storage may well have to be sought and will require the archive to be managed at two levels/terrains/ places, if a larger building cannot be found.
Deputies were already tasked at Synod 2000 with urgently investigating whether the GKSA needs a new archive building.
If the above is not attended to soon, the GKSA may soon only be able to store archive material in electronic form.
Benefits: Electronic Storage
- Saving of physical space
- All documents are received and stored in a uniform format
- Authentic information can be used by researchers as their primary source
- Electronic information enables a more speedy response to queries
- A uniform system for registers enables low-cost and –effort processing of incoming information and distribution of information to researchers
Factors to be taken into account with the storing of archives and museum exhibits:
- Temperature and humidity
- Light levels
- Air purity
- Air circulation
- Pests and plagues
Incorrect temperature and relative humidity levels can hasten a damaging chemical reaction in material that cause mildew, acid, shrinkage and brittleness. The greatest danger is a fluctuation in temperature and relative humidity, which must be avoided at all costs in the daytime. Great pressure is placed on the paper that swells at high humidity levels and shrink at low levels, due to loss of moisture.
Best practice is regulating temperature and relative humidity, instead of seeking unrealistic temperature and relative humidity levels. Air conditioning aids in regulating temperature and relative humidity, but needs to be maintained every day all day to ensure effectivity. It must also be installed away from archive material.
- UV rays and heat radiation from the sun and artificial lighting are detrimental to archive and museum items.
- Fluorescent lighting is best for all archive material.
- The storage area cannot have any windows.
- A high amount of dust and gasses create all sorts of problems.
- Dust particles penetrate and weaken paper fibres.
- A storage cellar must have an air filtration level of 85%, especially for photographic and magnetic material.
- Dust could contain acid that affects the pH of the paper. Dust can damage the emulsion layer of photographic film, leading to scratches and other kinds of damage.
- The absorption of acidic gasses adds to the brittleness of paper.
Dead air is to be avoided and good ventilation maintained. Stagnant air increases mildew, fungus and bacteria.
Pests and plagues
- Before any archive material is stored in the cellar, all of it is thoroughly cleaned.
- Then the necessary restoration, sorting and boxing occurs for further attention in the transition safe.
- Here the material is sprayed for mothballs and to remove any insect life that remained after the cleaning process.
- The temperature in the cellar is regulated to prevent the infestation and growth of any pests.
The aim of restoration is to retain the physical and functional integrity of an item by repairing damage and the effects of change.
Restoration entails renewing to the original condition, largely through methods not detrimental to the whole, by means of the correct resources and materials.
General information on the archives
Information archive open upon appointment
Act 2 of 200 Guidelines for storing
General information on the archives
Contact details and office hours:
The archive is open Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 16:00.
Contact details for further information:
Telephone number: 018 294 8952
Physical address: corner of Molen and Borcherd Streets
Postal address: 20004, Noordbrug, 2522, Theological School, Potchefstroom
Who may visit the archives
Genealogical researchers and church members search for information in the archives. Church council queries are answered from their archive documents, since such documents remain the property of the congregation. The archivist offers guidance and makes documentation available for research.