Museum Storage: Visible Collections
The Arizona State Museum has designed an innovative way to save space, improve accessibility to its pottery and basketry collections, and allow visibility into the collections from public gallery spaces. The collections are stored on Spacesaver compact mobile shelving units, also called compactors, that are fitted with special end panels that allow display pieces to be viewed from the galleries.
In addition to making more of the collection visible to the public, this arrangement allows staff better control of temperature and humidity in the storage areas, and it also provides additional security for culturally sensitive items.
Nancy Odegaard is the internationally renowned conservator who worked with Arizona’s authorized Spacesaver affiliate to design and install the museum storage projects. “Allowing people to understand the breadth and depth of a collection is inspiring. The fact that we could get all of it in here is just awesome,” she said.
The Pottery Vault is currently visible from the pottery exhibit space, and the basketry vault will also be visible when the basketry exhibit space is completed.
Space is optimized with compact shelving, and overhead lights illuminate only when an aisle is opened. This limits the collection’s exposure to light.
Creative shelving design allows the collection to be seen from the pottery gallery.
The shelving units move smoothly along rails installed in the floor. Vibration-minimizing rails and carriages provide protection for the collection while eliminating wasted space in the aisles.
The museum’s basketry collection is also stored on compact mobile Spacesaver shelving.
This close-up view shows the small rails that were installed along the edge of each shelf to prevent slippage.