Chapter 29: Support & Rehousing for Collection Storage
Rachael Perkins Arenstein, A.M. Art Conservation, LLC, Scarsdale NY
Lisa Goldberg, Goldberg Preservation Services, Corning, NY
Eugenie Milroy, A.M. Art Conservation, LLC, Coldspring, NY
Well-designed storage and support systems for individual items and collections are crucial in meeting goals for preventive care. This chapter will cover challenges and considerations in designing storage mounts and implementing rehousing solutions, as well as principles that can be applied to achieve appropriate support and space efficiency. The condition of individual items, the general philosophy guiding storage for broader collections and availability of institutional resources will impact the design of rehousing solutions. In turn, these factors will influence item configuration, choice of materials and tools, construction technique and space efficiency. The chapter will use a tiered approach to creating solutions that apply to storage, thus stimulating the reader to think about ways to transfer and adapt methods and materials for different types of collections. Practical considerations relating to mass production, health and safety in material choice and construction techniques will also be covered.
See the Rehousing Materials page for a list of suggested materials appropriate for long-term storage.
STASHc: Storage Techniques for Art, Science & History Collections
The STASHc website, developed by the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC), provides information on mount design and construction as well as tools (i.e. Glossary and Materials, Tools, Supplier list) so that institutions of all types, sizes and resource levels can learn how to create safe and appropriate storage solutions. These solutions were written by and for collection care professionals in all fields. In some cases, there are multiple examples of solutions for individual types of items, demonstrating that there is no single best solution for storage, and the right solution is one that meets collection needs using available resources. The site contains digital versions of all the storage solutions provided in the 1992 SPNHC publication Storage of Natural History Collections: Ideas and Practical Solutions.
RE-ORG This website developed by UNESCO and ICCROM presents a step-by-step storage reorganization methodology aimed at helping museum professionals upgrade their storage areas thus improving the collection’s potential for use and access, while ensuring its long-term conservation.
AIC Wiki The AIC wiki is a collaborative knowledge base created by AIC members for the conservation and preservation community. The site contains information on preventive care, mountmaking and other topics relevant designing proper storage and mounts.
CAMEO - Conservation & Art Materials Encyclopedia Online The CAMEO wiki site developed by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston contains chemical, physical, visual, and analytical information on over 10,000 historic and contemporary materials and is a useful resource to determine the composition of materials evaluated for storage mounts.
National Park Service Conserve O Grams Conserve O Grams are short, focused leaflets about caring for museum objects, published in loose-leaf format and available free online. Section 4: Museum Collections Storage includes several storage and rehousing related topics.
Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) Notes CCI Notes are short, illustrated leaflets offering practical advice, bibliographies and supply lists for issues related to the care, handling, and storage of cultural objects.
Additional useful information may be found:
- SPHNC website under Publications
- Preparation Art Handling, and Collections Care Information Network (PACCIN) site
- Connecting to Collections Care online community (C2CCare)
Examples of some useful informal platforms include blogs associated with institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History and the site PaleoPortal, as well as personal blogs that are maintained by individual conservators and other preservation specialists.
- Barclay, R., A. Bergeron, and C. Dignard. 2002. Mount-making for Museum Objects, second edition. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Conservation Institute / Quebec, QC: Centre de conservation du Québec.
- Canadian Heritage Conservation Information Network (CHIN). Bibliographic Database of the Conservation Information Network (BCIN). Accessed July 26, 2017. http://www.bcin.ca/English/bcin.html
- Fabrikant, Geraldine “The Good Stuff in the Back Room” New York Times, March 12, 2009. Accessed January 22, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/arts/artsspecial/19TROVE.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2
- Fulton, Scott and Sylvia Keochakian. 2005. The conservation of tumbaga metals from Panama at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University. Objects Specialty Group Postprints, Volume Twelve. American Institute for Conservation. 76-90. Accessed January 22, 2016 http://resources.conservation-us.org/osg-postprints/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2015/02/osg012-06.pdf
- Getty Conservation Institute. Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA) database. Accessed July, 26, 2017. http://aata.getty.edu/Home
- Heritage Preservation. 2005. A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections. Washington DC. Accessed January 22, 2016. https://www.heritagepreservation.org/HHI/full.html
- International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). RE-ORG website, http://www.re-org.info/en/register/why-storage-reorganization. Accessed June 20, 2017.
- Lesley Langa 2015. “Preservation Metrics Today: Heritage Health Information and Preservation Statistics,” Connecting to Collections Care, Online Community. Foundation for the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC), https://www.connectingtocollections.org/preservation-metrics-today-heritage-health-information-and-preservation-statistics/. Accessed June 20, 2017.
- Johnson, E.V., and J.C. Horgan. 1979. Museum Collection Storage. Paris: UNESCO.
- Johnson, Jessica S. 1992. A storage system for Oriental scrolls. Curator 35(3): 219-224.
- Michalski, S. 1994. A systematic approach to preservation: description and integration with other museum activities. Preventive Conservation, Theory and Research Preprints of the Ottawa Congress, 12-16 September 1994., eds. A. Roy and P. Smith, pp. 8-11. International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, London.
- Rose, C.L. and A. R. de Torres, eds. 1992. Storage of Natural History Collections: Ideas and Practical Solutions. Pittsburg, PA. Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections.
- Simmons, J.E. 1995. Storage in fluid preservatives. Storage of Natural History Collections: A Preventive Conservation Approach, eds. C.L. Rose, C.A. Hawks, and H.H. Genoways, 161–186. Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections.
- Simmons, John E. 2006. Things Great and Small: Collections Management Policies. American Alliance of Museums Press. 208 pp.
- “Smithsonian Collections Fact Sheet,” September 2001. Accessed January 22, 2016. http://newsdesk.si.edu/factsheets/fact-sheet-smithsonian-collections
- Swain, Lynn and Rebecca Buck. 2011. 5H: Storage. Eds. Rebecca A. Buckand Jean A. Gilmore, pp. 293–299. MRM5: Museum Registration Methods 5th Ed. The AAM Press.
- Torres, Jennifer, Katherine J. Gallagher, Sanchita Balachandran and Lisa Anderson. 2017. Rehousing a “Working Collection’: Perspectives from the Johns Hopkins University Archaeological Museum. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, 56:2, pp. 96-112.
- Wachowiak, M.J. and Basiliki Vicky Karas. 2009. 3d Scanning and Replication for Museum and Cultural Heritage Applications. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, 48:2, pp.141-158.
- Waller, R. Robert. 1995. Risk management applied to preventive conservation. Storage of Natural History Collections: A Preventive Conservation Approach, eds. C.L. Rose, C.A. Hawks, and H.H. Genoways, 21-27. Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections.