• Mending a page of a Lutheran Archives Center journal
    • Testing solubility on a Lutheran Archives Center journal
  • 264 South 23rd Street  
  • Philadelphia, PA 19103
P 215.545.0613
F 215.735.9313


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Institution: The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and the Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia
Stewardship Participation: Preservation Needs Assessment, Preservation Planning
Project Lead: Mary Redline, Library/Archives Project Manager

About the Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Lutheran Archives Center: The Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States, which would later become the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, was founded in 1748 by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, and was the first Lutheran church body in North America. The Archives of this institution date back to 1792, and are now located within the Krauth Memorial Library. The Theological Seminary still operates and thrives today, and its historical collections serve as an important legacy of the Lutheran Church, its congregants, and the communities it serves in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.  

What were you able to accomplish as a result of your institution’s participation in the Stewardship Program?

Both the Theological Seminary and the Archives Center have moved--or are planning to move--into facilities with more properly-controlled environmental conditions. Recommendations from CCAHA have helped us guide decisions throughout the planning and execution of the moves. 

In addition, matching funds from the preservation planning program enabled us to have conservation treatment done on some key collections: the 1781 Synod minutes at the Archives Center, and Jacob Byerle’s (a colonial Lutheran baker) Book of Concord. The marginalia in Byerle’s copy of the book provide an opposing viewpoint to that of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, considered the father of the Lutheran Church in America. 

What did you learn about your collections, or about preservation in general, because of the Stewardship Program? What information has been helpful to you? 

CCAHA recommended that we begin to measure environmental conditions at our facilities and provided suggestions for monitoring them, as well as for aligning them within parameters for collections care. We learned that having quantifiable measurements for these parameters is helpful information--not only for ourselves, but also for funders. 

Were you able to use your Preservation Plan to leverage additional funding?

The Archives Center and Theological Seminary were each awarded a Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The Archives Center also used its reports from CCAHA to apply successfully for a technical assistance grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; a collaborative grant with PACSCL (Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries) for processing and cataloguing assistance; and--most impressively--a Save America's Treasures grant ($93,191 plus 1:1 in matching funds) to have Henry Melchior Muhlenberg's journal collection conserved and digitized. That was a dream come true for the archives. 

What was the main benefit of participating in the Stewardship Program for your institution?

Working with an outside consultant can help institutions take an objective look at their strengths, needs, and priorities. CCAHA helped us to identify our goals and create a strategic plan to achieve them. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

CCAHA staff members have been readily available to help us with questions and with information for grant applications. I’m glad that these opportunities are available for smaller sized institutions, which may not be able to afford these services otherwise.