The team at the Adventist Heritage Centre (AHC) received high praise for their passion for preserving precious South Pacific archives and artefacts during the centre’s first accreditation review.
Dr David Trim, director of the Office of Archives, Statistics and Research at the General Conference (GC), undertook an accreditation inspection of the Cooranbong centre during a recent visit to the South Pacific Division (SPD). The centre, which has undergone a significant revitalisation process, achieved “Archives—Approved”, the second highest accreditation awarded by the GC.
“I was tremendously impressed with the transformations of the old SPD Archives and Avondale Heritage room and of Sunnyside, and with the extraordinary passion of Heritage and Archives team members for preserving and sharing with a wide audience the wonderful heritage of God’s Church in the South Pacific Division,” Dr Trim commented.
He commended the team for their work in several areas, including the creation of an attractive visitors’ centre and the outreach conducted through social media platforms, seminars, podcasts, historical videos and heritage displays. He also commended the team “for having a comprehensive set of policy documents that was exemplary”.
AHC director David Jones said the team have been working hard to improve standards, policies and general organisation. He added that they are eager to implement Dr Trim’s recommendations and for the facility to become a Centre of Excellence—the highest level of accreditation possible. Currently, Andrews University (Michigan, US) is the only institution globally which has achieved that status
“Being accredited is an important step for us,” Mr Jones said. “It was great to get David Trim’s wonderful feedback and tips to be even better. The AHC team is a driven and talented group who have accepted the challenge to become a world-class operation.”
Reflecting on the past 18 months, Mr Jones outlined significant strides made by the team, including the consolidation and improvement of the heritage collection’s longevity and searchability.
“Originally we just had hand-written books with information about the artefacts,” Mr Jones said. “Now we have introduced digitalisation which has been a giant leap forward and it means that we can do a quick search to find items.”
Another major milestone for the AHC team was the transformation and reopening of Sunnyside—Ellen White’s former home—which is emerging as a local attraction. Recent events like “Picnic at Sunnyside”, held during Adventist Heritage Month, and the Lake Macquarie Illuminate History Week, attracted enthusiastic visitors. The introduction of a schools program has proven successful, providing students with guided tours, immersive experiences in period clothing and hands-on activities reflective of the 1800s.
Acknowledging the importance of knowledge-sharing, the AHC team have extended their expertise to assist the South New South Wales and North New South Wales conferences in processing, cataloging and digitising their local collections. They also work closely with Adventist Media and South Pacific Division departments on projects to further the mission of the Church.