The importance of volunteers to The Murray Bowen Archives Project cannot be overestimated. Volunteer help is the only way we can make Murray Bowen's archives accessible to the world.
Here is an overview of the many things that have happened through the work of volunteers:
- The Bowen Family, under the leadership of Joanne Bowen and LeRoy Bowen, executed the Deed of Gift to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and organized the transfer of materials to NLM. This transfer (with the exception of the Williamsburg Collection) was completed in 2014.
- In 1993, Catherine Rakow began a 15-year project of developing a line-item inventory of Dr. Bowen's records from his research project at the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH, 1954-59). From 2012-15, Catherine led a series of Williamsburg "Work-Ins" with volunteers to do initial processing and prepare the Williamsburg Collection for transfer to NLM.
- In 2000, Priscilla Friesen and Bill Dwyer, along with a group of volunteers, focused on the AV collection. At the Bowen Center, recordings were inventoried and assessed. The process of applying for grants to help fund restoration and preservation of AV materials highlighted the complexity of ownership and location of the collection. In 2005 these materials were moved to NLM.
- In 2008, an informal association of Bowen professionals and family members was formed to explore alternatives: either find an existing home or create a new not-for-profit that would be eligible for 501(c)(3) status.
- Joanne Bowen agreed to chair the group, which called itself The Murray Bowen Archives Project ("TMBAP").
- In 2008, Andrea Schara offered her non-profit organization, "Leaders for Tomorrow," as the platform for the work of the Murray Bowen Archives. Board members (all volunteers) were able to move forward with planning and fundraising.
- With the discovery of the "Treasure Trove" in 2011, volunteers gathered for Work-Ins — learning and applying archival standards as they removed letters from their original envelopes, removed staples, replaced metal paper clips with plastic ones and recorded essential metadata (dates of letters, authors, recipients, etc.) on significant materials, and removed sensitive materials. Bowen family members assisted in this work.
- In 2012, the Oral History Project became an integral part of the Murray Bowen Archive Project's mission. A team of volunteers, led by Andrea, conducted the interviews.
- Under the guidance of Priscilla Friesen, volunteers began the task of curating, scanning, cataloguing and producing digital copies of a collection of photographs destined for NLM.
- Volunteers have planned, developed and produced this website.
- Volunteer Board members are shaping the vision of this project, developing strategy, and planning and implementing fundraising.
- Volunteers are sorting and organizing the Williamsburg Collection.
- John Jeunnette has developed a contact/donor database to assist with administration. In addition, he is developing a database named "MetaMurray" which will store metadata about documents and photographs. Once items are scanned and stored in digital format, it will be possible to search terms and access specific documents.
- Volunteers are becoming "Metadata Builders" — going online and entering information about photographs of Dr. Bowen and colleagues.
- Volunteers are offering presentations on The Murray Bowen Archives Project—around the world!
In the future, volunteers will be asked to do additional tasks online, including entering data about scanned documents in the collection, and producing searchable, digital copies of scanned documents by typing text using a word processor.
In December 2014, Carol Jeunnette joined The Murray Bowen Archives Project as its executive director. She is the Project's only, half-time, staff member, and we remain a volunteer organization.
While it would be daunting to list all the volunteers, their contributions are vital to opening Dr. Bowen's archives to the world. Thank you!