"You have no idea what just one scrap of My sadra will mean to the world in the future."
TABULATING BABA TREASURES. Starting in 1994 for a number of years much of Baba's clothing and personal and household articles were inventoried and documented. Labels with an identification number were sewn/attached and information about the physical characteristics, condition, and history of the item was recorded and later entered in a database.
DESIGNING AND BUILDING THE MEM. In 1995 the facility director of the Smithsonian Institution spent several weeks at Meherabad to assist us in finalising the plans and design of the Collection Management Building, later named Manzil-e-Meher (MeM) which means House of Meher. The design was based on the principle of a thermos bottle, or a 'box within a box' which passively minimises changes in temperature and humidity. The storage and work rooms are surrounded by an insulating corridor, and the roof is double-layered, which separates these important areas from the building exterior, protecting the precious collection from the harsh climate extremes. The lower floor, has a large storage room for the most fragile items, with an adjoining treatment room. A freezer room for storage of film materials and pest treatment of incoming paper and cloth items is also on this floor. The upper floor has another large and smaller storage room, a room for treatment of materials which may involve wet work and an office. In the entrance are a staff room, a receiving area and a visitor area. To achieve the best conditions possible for the preservation and cataloguing of Baba's precious belongings, as well as the numerous documents, and audiovisual materials associated with his life, special care was given to incorporate archive and museum standards in all aspects of the building's design and construction. Ground was broken for this building in May 1997 on Meherabad Hill and the construction was put into use in 2002.
REHOUSING PROJECT. In 1998 a pilot project to begin the rehousing of the written materials collections was carried out. Archival acid-free enclosures were obtained and a team of more than twenty volunteers were trained in the special handling techniques. Over the course of 3 months (during which 3 shelves of documents were transformed into 3 cupboards-full of neatly boxed and rehoused materials) it became clear that this was a very long range project which would require many helpful hands and hearts.
FURNISHING AND EQUIPPING THE MEM. As construction of the MeM neared completion the special powder-coated archival storage cabinets were designed and manufactured. Office and other furnishings were ordered and over the next few years all these were delivered and installed. This included cabinets large enough to even hold Baba's mattresses!
HEART TALK AND COMBINED DIARY. As a way of initiating digital sharing prior to the launch of this section of the website, in 2002 the Trust archives began posting collection materials on a weekly basis. These included the Heart Talk letters between Baba and his close ones and installments of the Combined Diary. All of these items are now available in the Collections section.
USING THE MEM AND CREATING SYSTEMS. During 2001-2002 systems were developed for managing the building, particularly focusing on the very essential housekeeping, which is the first line of defense again insects and other factors harmful to the stability of collection items. Schedules for physical plant management as well as staffing were established to create a smoothly-run environment awaiting arrival of collection items.