Collection Storage

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Good storage is the foundation of effective collection care, advancing conservation while at the same time promoting accessibility and use. Preventive Conservation: Collection Storage covers the storage of all types of collections, including science, fine and decorative art, history, library, archive, and digital collections. The volume discusses all aspects of collection storage, from planning and assessment, through building design and facilities management, to storage furniture and specimen housing. It concentrates on preventive conservation and emphasizes a risk management approach. Reflecting the breadth of its scope, the new book is collaboration between The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, The American Institute for Conservation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Museum Studies Program of George Washington University
Edited by Lisa Elkin and Christopher A. Norris
The book is now available through AIC's online store.
Details: Trim size 7 x 10; 944 pages; full color. ISBN 978-0-9978679-2-3. $95 hardcover.


Preventive conservation is a collaborative endeavor that can only succeed when all stakeholders—whether within the institution or beyond its walls—are actively engaged with collections. It has evolved from being the domain of conservators and collection care staff, often working in relative isolation, to a discipline that requires a more dynamic, interdisciplinary approach. In order to be truly successful, preventive conservation must include increased engagement with a variety of people, some of whom may not even work at the museum. Knowledge gathered through consultations and crowdsourcing can help museums better organize storage and broaden interpretation, making collections more relevant and accessible. Interdisciplinary partnerships within the museum itself are also vital; identifying partners at all levels of the institution and getting them engaged will ultimately benefi t the collections. Finally, preventive conservation must also address physical and chemical deterioration. A comprehensive conservation program that includes preventive care, treatment, research, and documentation will increase access, use, and preservation of collections. In combination, the chapters in this section demonstrate that preventive conservation cannot be conducted in isolation but instead requires a holistic, inclusive approach. It is fundamental that collection storage aid in preserving collections for the future while increasing accessibility and engagement today.

Chapter 1: Respectful and Responsible Stewardship: Maintaining and Renewing the Cultural Relevance of Museum Collections - Sanchita Balachandran and Kelly McHugh

Building Internal Partnerships for Collection Care - Dieter Fenkart-Fröschl and Christopher A. Norris

A Preventive Conservation Approach to the Storage of Collections - Carolyn L. Rose, Catharine A. Hawks, and Robert Waller

Assessment and Planning

Collection storage, if done properly, will ensure the ongoing accessibility and utility of collection objects, while mitigating the various risks that jeopardize that goal. Hence, all storage projects should begin with a process of assessment: what types of items does the collection contain; what are these items used for; what hazards pose signifi cant risks to collections; and how much will those risks impact usefulness of collections? Th is section begins with a risk analysis approach to understanding collection requirements. It establishes expectations for how features and characteristics of building design and operation impact preservation and safe access. Collection- care surveys provide foundational information about the state of collections and the eff ects of past and current collection care practices. For many reasons, buildings, as well as collections, can be worthy of preservation. How to adapt existing or historic buildings for eff ective collection storage is both a challenge and an opportunity. Th e building or renovation planning process is itself demanding. It is a complex sequence of events involving multiple stakeholders. For collection care professionals to be most eff ective in contributing to design, it is essential to understand the process, learning when and where they can most eff ectively contribute. Functional planning serves as a basis for ensuring design and construction phases remain focused

Collection Risk Assessment - Robert Waller

Collection-Care Surveys for Preventive Conservation - Joel Taylor

Balancing Collection Storage with Historic Buildings - Nancy McCoy

Building Project Process - Walt Crimm

Functional Planning for Collection Storage - Michael Lundholm

Creating and Renovating Storage Facilities

The creation and renovation of collection storage areas involves far more than just finding a room that will accommodate the storage furniture. It requires good communication throughout the process of integrating storage design and function. It must address identification and mitigation of risks to collections. It should consider the interdependency of external climate, the building envelope, space occupancy, and the building’s mechanical systems in order to achieve a balanced and stable collection storage environment. The susceptibility of collection materials to light, fire, and theft will play a key part in the selection of appropriate systems to be put in place, while still supporting accessibility. Finally the safe and effi cient movement of objects and specimens into the space after construction is completed requires careful planning and execution. Despite all this, improvements to storage, whether for large or small collections, can be done on even a limited budget by assessing the actual risks the collection faces, then looking for ways to eliminate, reduce, or ameliorate the chances of damage. Taken together, the chapters in this section combine new information with long-established collection storage standards to provide a framework for creating or renovating facilities that fosters preservation and access for collections of any size.

Design of Storage Facilities - Walt Crimm

Environmental Management and Related Systems - Walter Henry

Illumination for Collection Storage - Paul Himmelstein, Scott Rosenfeld, and Steven Weintraub

Fire Protection for Collection Spaces - Jeffrey LaSalle and Bryan L. Stemen

Securing Your Collections - Steven R. Keller

Managing a Collection Move: Planning, Packing, and Logistics - Heather Thorwald, Gretchen Anderson, Lori Benson, Jude Southward, Annette L. Van Aken, and Russell D. White

Facility Management

No matter how well designed, constructed, or renovated, no facility can provide an appropriate space for collections unless it is managed and maintained properly. Successful management requires a comprehensive understanding of the codes, regulations, and standards that apply to the building; the requirements of the various user groups; and the plans and well-trained staff necessary to properly operate the facility. Ongoing evaluation and mitigation of risks in areas such as disaster response, integrated pest management, or staff safety is required; this will have synergistic effects for the safety of collections. Th ere must be clearly outlined plans for running the facility during normal day-to day operations or during emergency events; these plans must be continually updated and staff trained to implement them. Finally, collaboration among administrators, collection staff , and facility staff is essential. Th e chapters in this section demonstrate how sound-facility management forms the backbone of preventive conservation in collection storage and requires diverse stakeholder participation and broad support to be successful.

Facility Management: The Partnership with Collection Preservation - Jeff Joplin

Emergency Management - Rebecca Fifield

Safety and Health Issues within Storage Spaces - Kathryn A. Makos, David Hinkamp, and James R. Smith Jr.

Integrated Pest Management for Museum Collections - Thomas Strang, Jeremy Jacobs, and Rika Kigawa

Environmental Monitoring - Konstantinos Ntanos and W. (Bill) Wei

Air Quality, Monitoring, and Management - Peter Brimblecombe

Specialized Collection Environments & Care

Specialized Macroclimates and Microclimates: Options for the Control of Temperature, Relative Humidity, and Pollutants - Steven Weintraub

Low Temperature Storage - Frank P. Simione

Storage in Fluid Preservatives - John E. Simmons

Visible Storage - Linda Edquist and Claire F. Larkin

Off-Site Storage - Doris A. Hamburg

Outdoor Storage Situations - George Prytulak

Storage of Human Remains - Nancy Odegaard and Vicki Cassman

Storage Equipment and Materials

Storage Furniture - Barbara P. Moore, Jeffrey C. Weatherston, Russell D. White, and Stephen L. Williams

Support and Rehousing for Collection Storage - Rachael Perkins Arenstein, Lisa Goldberg, and Eugenie Milroy

Evaluating Materials Used for Collection Storage - Pamela Hatchfield

Wood and Related Products - Pamela Hatchfield

Paper-Based Storage Materials - Fenella G. France

Plastic Storage Products - R. Scott Williams

Marking Collections - Nora Sharon Lockshin

Storage of Digital Collections

An Introduction to Digital Preservation - Sarah Slade, David Pearson, and Steve Knight

Care of Born-Digital Objects - Riccardo Ferrante

Storage at a Glance

Introduction - Lisa Elkin and Robert Waller

Bone, Antler, Ivory, and Teeth - Christopher A. Norris and Robert Waller

Books - Alice Cannon, Jean Holland, and Belinda Gourley

Ceramics - Victoria Oakley and Fi Jordan

Chitin - Suzanne Ryder

Electronic Media - Sarah Stauderman

Film and Film Negatives - Andrew Robb

Fossils - Matthew Brown

Glass - Stephen Koob

Keratin - Julia Sybalsky and Lisa Elkin

Metals - Ian D. MacLeod and Shelley Sturman

Minerals, Gems, and Meteorites - Robert Waller

Paintings: Traditional - Sarah Spafford-Ricci and Emily Min

Paintings: Nontraditional - Sarah Spafford-Ricci and Emily Min

Paper - Alice Cannon, Elizabeth Melzer, and Belinda Gourley

Photographs: Positive Prints and Plates - Paul Messier

Plant Material - Victoria Purewal

Plastics - Mary Coughlin

Shells and Corals - Paul Callomon

Skin, Leather, and Parchment - Catharine A. Hawks and Robert Waller

Textiles - Patricia

Wood - Emily Williams