The work of Museum Conservation and Conservators can seem like a never-ending task, with so many objects requiring careful and intricate work: time is always at a premium.
An area where time and cost can be reduced, is having sufficient conservation grade materials to hand so that you can call upon at a moment’s notice.
One of our goals as designers is to eliminate this pain point for the Conservator. The storage system for the conservation materials has to ensure that the inventory of conservation materials are kept in prime condition when needed. Although by no means heavy, the sheer stock size of the materials requires careful consideration.
Another area to consider is that although some materials are happy to lay flat, others require vertical storage.
Due to their fragile nature, we adopted the same method of storing these items, as if we were storing museum objects. The vertical storage was manufactured from our double skinned shelving system which ensures no sharp edges or protrusions, whilst the horizontal storage was constructed from commercial grade adjustable shelving, painted to match the double skinned shelving, with the shelf surfaces being custom fabricated from press formed galvanised sheet.
This was manufactured to an exacting size so as to ensure that the materials stored, only ever came into contact with flat or radiused surfaces, thus protecting the contents.
As with all of our projects, maximum use was made of the available space, to avoid dead areas, which can lead to unwanted items being left in the work area.
This was a turnkey project, involving design, manufacture and installation, working closely with the museum’s staff and architects.
CASE STUDY: ST CROSS COLLEGE, OXFORD
Basement Picture Store and Archive
The clients brief was to make the best use of a cramped basement room, with tricky access, that currently housed HVAC equipment that could not be moved.
The client had a large collection of wrapped pictures that were in long term storage, that they didn't have the space to hang in the building but wanted to view at a moment's notice.
As well as general archived material that needed to be housed in one location.
Following a site visit by one of Polstore's Project Managers, the room was surveyed, and a scheme was formulated with the client whilst on site.
We then went back to produce a detailed plan drawing and specification, as well as a detailed itemised quote.
The solution was to produce a custom made double sided, pull out picture rack, that generated almost 53 square metres of hanging space.
However, due to the large number of pipes and cables on the ceiling, it was not possible to hang it from above, so the racking featured our self-supporting goal post system, that merely requires fixing to the floor.
An A0 plan chest for storage and display of maps and architectural drawings, was also required, as well as general archive storage to fill the available space.
The basement access was via a narrow spiral staircase, which required us to cut the top sliding bars of the picture racking unit in half whilst on site & join them together in situ.
The A0 plan chest was also manufactured in two equal sections and assembled on site, with the 66 linear metres of museum grade shelving, being produced in kit form for assembly within the room.
The client was amazed that we were able to incorporate his needs as well as allowing for future expansion, within a small cramped space.
By placing the picture rack against one wall (which extends into the main area when in use) & putting the low height A0 plan chest (which doubles up as a viewing table) in the centre of the room, with the shelving around the outside, the room does not feel cramped and imposing, creating the right atmosphere to view the stored paintings and documents.
Polstore have been specialists in the design, supply and installation of Heritage storage products since 1963.
Our experience and expertise lead us to create practical working spaces in some of the most challenging environments.
We would be very pleased to hear from you, for any new museum storage projects or upgrades.
Contact us on 0800 008 6861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Polstore is exhibiting at the sold out event Museums Association One-Day Conference 'Open Up: Making more of Storage Collections'.
Following a successful one-day conference in spring 2016, the Museums Association is pleased to announce a new event on 10 December at the British Museum exploring new approaches to designing and utilising museum stores, and mobilising stored collections in sustainable and engaging ways.
The day addresses how museums can increase the accessibility and visibility of their stored collections, and how they can go about the task of storing born-digital artefacts, from archives to social media.
The day also looks at the challenges and opportunities of current capital storage projects and consider the future of museum storage in the light of the Mendoza review.
We are looking forward to meeting all the delegates so please and come and say hello.
We've just come back from a simple yet highly effective install for a London establishment in their basement store. Great feedback from our long standing client 'Excellent work! Very kind and efficient' signed by the Collections Manager.
When we went to survey they were looking to store small flat objects with varying depths. The key was to reduce the usable height to a bear minimum as their exisiting tray system had a lot of wasted space above the object. The 75mm & 100mm front height drawer were ideal as they pull out 100% extension, has a safe working load of 200 kg per drawer and can be partitioned out to give individual locations for each object. What we also suggested to save the client some money was to reuse the perfectly adequate existing worksurface rather than buying new from us. Sure our cabinets aren't cheap but they will last a lifetime so they were pleased with any saving suggestion.
One of our main assets is our attention to site detail and care when installing - we don't always get it right who does, but there are instances where expensive and embarrassing mistakes can be avoided by both us and the client.
Take for example the steel plan chest AO+, AO or A1 sizes - they are large bits of kit and this can catch you out. It so important when making decisions to ask yourself how am I going to get this lump into the building / room - off load, doors, steps, no lift, stairs, twists and turns - it is an installers nightmare.
Take a look at the pics - central london, 3 steps up, busy pedestrian route, shared building, narrow stairs down, small and untrustworthy lift, narrow doors - install AO plan chest OMG no chance!!!
Fortunately we called the client and asked a simple QUESTION: 'what is access like?' ANSWER: 'its pretty poor in fact terrible.' We only need to hear that and Polstore can then manufacture an AO steel plan chest delivered in knock down condition. No problem and no extra cost - well our installers cost. It will arrive built to avoid damage, we dismantle and reassemble in the location required.
We know this sounds obvious but actually you'll be surprised how often it's overlooked.