The National Archives of Solomon Islands
National Archives of Solomon Islands, Honiara, September 7-14, 2010.
I arrived to the National Archives of Solomon Islands to a surprise, as Julian Cholingolo, Government Archivist, and the rest of the staff were waiting with lunch. It was a very nice way to arrive, and a terrific way to see to the entire staff once again.
There have been some major changes at the National Archives of Solomon Islands over the past couple of years, in particular, there is a number of new staff. Although these new employees have very little archival training, they are truly devoted to learning archival practices and making their archives more accessible. Therefore, I spent a couple of days with them processing a collection and producing a finding guide. The collection we used for this training purpose was the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation composed of one series of bulletins. It was a fairly simple collection. However, it turned out to be in excellent collection to use for training. Now, they can apply what they learned to other collections, as well as to more complex ones.
I also worked with Margaret Inifirim, Deputy Archivist, who was interested in writing policies for their archives. I showed her the Guidelines for National Archives Vanuatu Procedures that I had accomplished a week earlier. Margaret liked it, and together we wrote one for the National Archives of Solomon Islands. Also, Margaret expressed an interest in writing a policy for their research room. I drafted a Search Room Policy to help establish rules to ensure the safety of the staff, the users, and the material.
Throughout the week, I was anticipating the arrival of copies of the unpublished papers of Dr. Roger Keesing concerning his anthropological research with the Kwaio people of Malaita, Solomon Islands. My colleague, Kathy Creely, Melanesian Studies Librarian at the University of California, San Diego, sent these papers that did not arrive until my second of last day in Honiara. Unfortunately, one box out of eight did not arrive, but we keep our fingers crossed that it will show in the near future. Being such a small collection, I quickly helped process them and assisted in creating a simple finding guide just a few hours before I caught my plane back to Port Vila.
During my time at the National Archives of Solomon Islands, I met with Bishop Terry Brown who is acting as a volunteer archivist of the Anglican Church of Melanesia. He is currently working at a desk in the conservation unit at the National Archives that contains pre 1975 Church of Melanesia records. However, he hopes that one day a building will be built to house the entire archival collection of the Church of Melanesia. He gave me a tour of the collection, and showed me the material he has digitized and placed on the Web site, Project Canterbury. We also discussed conservation issues relating to the J. W. Beattie photograph collection. Finally, he expressed a need for archival supplies to help him continue his work processing collections. I told him that I had some acid-free file folders, and would send him a box of 500 upon my return home. Anything will help!
It was very interesting meeting with Bishop Terry and getting an idea of what kinds of records composes the Church of Melanesia Archives. I hope we can further our relationship in the future. I foresee establishing a very formidable partnership, especially when their archives is in one building. In the meantime ICAS will do its best to send archival supplies so that Bishop Terry could carry on the good work.
Youth Women Christian Association
Youth Women Christian Association, Honiara Solomon Islands, September 10, 2010.
I paid a quick visit to the YWCA of the Solomon Islands to meet with Kiri Dicker and the staff. They had some preservation concerns regarding their small collection of predominantly paper records. After a considerable review of their records, I determined that they were in good order and being looked after carefully. Most of the material consists of correspondences documenting the history of the YWCA. We agreed that it would be a good idea for the Pacific Manuscript Bureau (PMB) to come and microfilm the most important documents.