Moving Collections

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This content is excerpted from Preventive Conservation: Collection Storage (2019), Elkin and Norris, eds.

Chapter 14: Managing a Collections Move: Planning, Packing and Logistics

Heather Thorwald, Longmont Museum, Longmont, Colorado
Gretchen Anderson, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Lori Benson, Bath, Maine
Jude Southward, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver, CO
Annette L. Van Aken, Weissman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN
Russell D. White, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven, Connecticut

Collection moves are dynamic activities that require long-term planning and budgeting to meet the goals of an organization. Project leaders must manage these activities in a fluid environment that can be affected by scope changes, schedule revisions, increased, costs and construction delays. A commitment to open communication, transparency, and cooperation between project teams and other members of the institution leads to improved decision making during the process.

Well-executed collection move projects rely on the institutional staff to assess the quality of collections for inventory, preservation, and documentation and are an opportunity to define requirements for moving these collections so that objects are not lost, damaged, or dissociated from critical information during the transfer. Consultation with allied professionals improves the quality and scope of project planning and implementation.

Move projects are often an opportunity to vastly improve the conditions in which a collection is housed. Inventory of a collection before and during a move provides information for the long-term management of the collections. Cataloging and imaging for monitoring conditions during transportation can also be used for future improved access to collections holdings. Introduction of preservation materials means stabilization mounts can provide support for objects not only during the move, but also for long-term preservation.


References


Online Resources