02 Jan Optimize museum collections storage
Optimize Museum Collections Storage Space
Museum collections are always growing, and that growth can make it difficult to maintain best practices in collections areas. Clients often call us because they want to optimize space in their collections storage areas so they can make do for another few years — or five or ten — until they can get funding for an expansion or a new building. They’re not sure exactly when a new building will be built, and in the meantime their collections areas need attention now.
If this sounds familiar, you don’t have to stay in limbo. You can actually start taking steps today that will optimize the museum collections storage space you have now, while still keeping an eye toward the future. You can design smart systems that will transfer to a new building at a later date.
Here’s how we can help clients design flexible storage space:
1. Recover underutilized space
While your current collections area might seem like it’s completely full, on closer inspection you’ll probably find underutilized space in the aisles, in corners, above cabinets or shelving, or even in the space between shelves or drawers.
Here’s how it works: in this hypothetical example, replacing inefficient shelving with shelving sized perfectly for archival boxes frees up about XX?? percent of the available space, without a major building project:
2. Purchase stationary shelving and cabinets now, install on mobile systems later
Some clients purchase cabinets and shelving that simply sit on their integrated bases on the floor, with the knowledge that they’ll be mounted on compact mobile systems at a later date. This allows collections to be stored responsibly right away while still investing in equipment that can eventually be incorporated into a renovated facility or new construction.
3. Install compactors on a false floor
The corporate archives for a major athletic apparel firm were housed in a temporary location while a new headquarters was being planned and built. Archives staff knew they would be working in the temporary location for ten years or more, so they opted to install Spacesaver compactors with a rail system embedded in a false floor. The entire system was designed to be pulled up and moved into the headquarters at a later date.
4. Configure – and Reconfigure
It’s important to estimate how collections will grow and change in the future, but no one knows for sure what their institution will need to store ten or twenty years down the road. Cabinets with reconfigurable interiors create flexible spaces that can change as collections expand. Spacesaver’s new preservation cabinets can be configured and reconfigured over time to suit the needs of your space and your collection.
Your local Spacesaver consultant specializes in converting unutilized space into productive storage, and our engineers can work with them to create solutions that can be used in your current location and relocated in the future.