02 Jan Space planning for museum collections growth
Top 5 Tips:
Space Planning for Museum Collections Growth
It’s hard to predict how museum collections will grow in the future, and new acquisitions almost always exceed the space available to house them. Over time, this can lead to serious overcrowding issues and less-than-ideal preservation conditions. Overcrowding can also make collections less accessible for activities like research and exhibit preparation.
With smart planning, you can create collections spaces that are designed right from the start to keep pace with future acquisitions.
Get space planning tips from architects, space planners, and museum professionals.
Here are the top five ways to plan spaces for museum collections growth.
1. Installing extra rails
As part of a major renovation, the Delta Flight Museum worked with the local Spacesaver consultant to design and install an in-floor rail system that filled the collections area. By planning ahead and installing the rails during construction, the museum is ready to install new carriages, cabinets, and shelving as collections grow.
2. Using modular, configurable cabinets
Although it’s important to make thoughtful estimates as to how collections will grow and change in the future, cabinets with reconfigurable interiors allow for a great deal of flexibility as time goes by. Spacesaver’s new preservation cabinets can initially be ordered, for instance, with two-inch trays, and in ten or twenty years the liners and accessories can be removed and replaced with liners that support six-inch drawers, or even hanging rods and shelves.
3. Planning to go vertical in the future
Spacesaver designed a high-density system at the Columbia River Maritime Museum that could accommodate much taller shelving than was originally installed. This cost-saving measure gives the museum some room to grow in the short term, and taller shelving can be installed later to take full advantage of the vertical space in the warehouse for museum collections storage.
4. Building extra capacity in cold storage
We helped the Denver Museum of Nature and Science design a cold storage area to accommodate film, prints, tapes, and other materials that had been stored in various areas throughout the facility, as well as projected future acquisitions.
5. Conducting a space assessment
It’s vital to start planning for collections growth before a crisis strikes. The collections storage planning process starts with a space assessment that can be conducted by your local Spacesaver consultants. They’ll measure your space, evaluate your existing equipment, and help make sure your collections storage areas make the most of every cubic inch of space, now and into the future.
Your local Spacesaver consultants can help you plan for future collections growth. Take the first step toward better collections care: Contact us to get connected to your local Spacesaver museum consultants.