Exploring Museum Collections During the COVID Crisis

Exploring Museum Collections During the COVID Crisis

Visible storage and virtual tours.

3 Minute Read

As museum professionals face unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, they also want to help the public explore their collections and understand the collections’ importance. Although museums across the US and Canada are currently closed to in-person visits, many institutions are offering videos and virtual tours of galleries and exhibits. Some are even going behind the scenes to reveal collections storage areas that are rarely seen by the public.

Spacesaver collaborated on the design of the following museums and exhibits to provide a look into collections areas.

Arizona State Museum

This museum’s pottery and basketry galleries were designed to provide a view into climate-controlled collections storage areas. Custom high-density shelving systems from Spacesaver keep objects protected and organized while also letting gallery visitors gain a better understanding of the collections. “Allowing people to understand the breadth and depth of a collection is inspiring,” said Nancy Odegaard, the museum’s conservator and head of preservation.

Burke Museum

The new Burke Museum in Seattle took an “inside-out” approach to exhibit design, creating collections storage areas that are visible to the public when the museum is open. Check out photos on their Facebook page to catch glimpses of Spacesaver shelving, cabinets, and other museum collection storage solutions, or watch a video of the museum’s pre-opening press preview. Look for a Spacesaver case study when the museum re-opens and travel resumes!

Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History

Q?rius (pronounced “curious”) is a unique learning space that invites visitors to interact with scientists, use microscopes, and even touch skeletons and other specimens. Custom Viking museum drawers store and display 6,000 objects from the Smithsonian’s natural history collections.

smithsonia museum virtual tours

Wet Collections at the National Museum of Natural History

Although this collections area wasn’t designed for public viewing, the museum is offering a 360-degree “tour” of the space.

Use your mouse to move among the Smithsonian’s “wet collections,” or specimens stored in liquid. Spacesaver’s high-density storage systems eliminate wasted aisle space and perforated shelving provides drainage in case of glass breakage.

Products used in these installations

Are you interested in turning your museum “inside out”? See more examples of visible museum storage and check out these design tips.

Your Partner in Collections Care

Contact us if you’re interested in exploring the options for visible storage. We can help you think through the possibilities, save space, and promote best practices for collections care. There’s no cost and no obligation, so get started today!

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