Viking and Spacesaver worked together to install customizable entomology cabinets in a space-saving storage solution at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
Positioned on iconic Lake Shore Drive, The Field is part of Chicago’s Museum Campus, drawing more than 1.2 million visitors annually and serving as home to more than 25 million specimens. More than 12.5 million of these specimens are part of the Division of Insects, which is of worldwide importance to researchers.
The sheer size of the Division of Insects’ collection calls for a comprehensive – and vast – storage system to contain the specimens, many of which are extremely rare and fragile. When the division decided to relocate and consolidate the collection into a new space, the storage solution needed to protect the specimens while allowing easy access for staff and researchers. Viking was selected to serve as the project’s general contractor, coordinating the manufacture and installation of specified products.
Our cabinets house more than 12.5 million entomological specimens at the Field Museum.
This project used custom-sized entomology cabinets on compactor systems to save space. Download a brochure to learn more about Spacesaver’s compact mobile storage systems.
Space was tight in the collections storage area. The footprint had no room to spare, and the area had a relatively low ceiling height, particularly after allowing for fire code requirements and sprinkler compliance.
The challenge was to create a system that would store specimens securely while still allowing enough space for researchers to comfortably access the collection. Viking also needed to manufacture new drawers to match drawers that the museum already owned, some of which were decades old, with the goal of fitting all drawers in new cabinets.
Spacesaver and Viking worked together to create the optimal storage solution.
Partway through the design process, a significant system redesign was required due to new height restrictions. Viking revamped the entire bid to maximize the collection capacity as much as possible within the overall project budget. Working creatively to address the site’s severe height constraints and the client’s need to accommodate drawers of slightly varying sizes, Viking submitted the most responsive bid and was awarded the project.
Due to the nature of the cabinets’ use, the planning team wanted the following options:
Viking delivered two prototypes to check manufacturing details and match the fit of existing drawers. Ultimately, 1,120 cabinets were manufactured and delivered over a period of four months. Throughout the project, Viking worked closely with key contacts at The Field Museum on its collection area renovation project, and Viking and Spacesaver worked together to install the cabinets on compactor systems.
“We were very satisfied working with Viking, and I certainly would be glad to engage them again.”
– Margaret Thayer, Associate Curator, Zoology – Insects