A sneak peek at the new diocesan archives

Those who have toured the basement love that I have put my title on the door already. (WRC photo)

Did you know there are three floors in our new pastoral center? Not many people do. A basement is often overlooked but in the new pastoral center this floor will be taking on new life as we move our current diocesan archives. The move in date has yet to be determined.

The diocesan archives have been on quite a journey. Over the years, we have moved from a 290 (est.) square footage one room Chancery building basement (behind the Cathedral) to nearly 2,000 square feet at Terra Sancta Chancery Annex to the upcoming new Pastoral Center in downtown Rapid City.

Our diocesan archives are at maximum capacity!  Making this new move will enable us to work more efficiently, timely, up to date. Currently, the archives occupy five rooms on two floors, and two small closets at Terra Sancta.  My main workspace serves as an office and processing area all in one.  At times, more often than not, it looks as if I am moving and there are boxes and artifacts all over! Packages and boxes are left on my doorstep, sometimes anonymously, as someone is usually downsizing or cleaning out their attic. 

The new floor space will be in a much larger room with the space needed to process files, artifacts and collections. These will be easy to access and items will not be stacked on top of one another. Additional surfaces for sorting and arranging collections and some storage for supplies will be beneficial. I will have ample storage space and I will be able to scan photographs and books without moving a separate desk around to line up with my computer. My hopes are to purchase a book scanner that permanently sits on a separate desk to use efficiently and not have to move and reinstall this piece of equipment every time I want to use it. I will be able to work among the ‘stacks’ and not have to move my research into a different office. 

Our diocese must adhere to record retention guidelines regulated by S.D. state law and our church Canon Laws. Canon law states a diocese must have adequate space to store records and artifacts.  Canon Law also defines what records need to be stored permanently. Records such as financial records, employee records, etc. must adhere to South Dakota State Retention guidelines. 

Windows are typically not used in archival storage areas. This practice is used to protect collections from light, humidity and excess heat gain or loss. Different areas to house such items as tin type negatives are individually temperature-controlled areas along with an area to house photos that will not be subject to the same elements as above.

Growth and expansion are important for our future, our history, and our especially Catholic history. We are called as Christians to reach out to the next generation, to pass on our faith. The foundation being the heart of Catholic history just may be found in the basement!