A federal agency based in Washington, D.C. maintains on-site museums in every state, where a variety of cultural artifacts are preserved and displayed. In the past, individual museums were responsible for caring for and storing their own collections on site, but that model is gradually fading away in favor of larger collections care facilities that serve various regions around the nation. As more museums send their collections to these regional facilities, the facility managers need to find ways to save space while still adhering to the highest standards of collections care.
“A big part of my job is to make sure that this space optimizes our storage capacity. We’re not building on to this facility, and we’re not getting any more space inside it. So we have to take advantage of what we have.”
– Facility Manager
One of the largest regional collections facilities, located in suburban Maryland, supports a variety of collections care functions: curation, collections storage for regional museums, artifact preparation and restoration, emergency response, and temporary storage of collections threatened by flooding and other natural disasters.
In order to develop the most efficient plan for one area of the building dedicated to textile and artifact storage, the manager worked with his staff, visited other museum collections care facilities, and talked with his local Spacesaver consultant, who had worked on other museum projects at the facility and around the D.C. area.
Because the collection consisted of a large number of three-dimensional artifacts as well as flags and other textiles, the planning team decided to purchase Spacesaver cabinets and rolled textile racks and install them on Spacesaver compacting carriages.
The racks in this facility can hold approximately 700 pounds per side, per rack.
Our rolled textile racks’ capacities vary due to the height of the racks and the length of the cantilever arms.
Large Spacesaver cabinets were fitted with shallow drawers to maximize vertical space within the cabinets, and the cabinets were mounted on carriages and rails to eliminate wasted space in the aisles. The cabinets hold a variety of smaller artifacts, from historic dishware to medals and belt buckles. Spacesaver cantilever textile racks were placed end-to-end along adjacent carriages, allowing staff to adjust the cantilever arms to precisely the right length and spacing. Base covers and canopy tops create a sleek, finished appearance and offer additional protection to stored items. “The cantilever carries an incredible amount of weight,” the manager said. “We were actually sort of dumbfounded at how much weight they carry.”
The system has room for future growth, and additional rails and storage equipment can be added when the existing cabinets and textile racks are full.
This creative solution has resulted in a clean, compact preservation environment that’s organized and accessible. “We needed a combination of the standard cabinetry on rails and a way to store textiles,” the manager said. “It’s a great combination because it provides us a great deal of high-density storage in terms of the cabinetry, and we also really like the textile storage capacity.”
Contact us to learn more about Spacesaver’s rolled textile storage and other collections care solutions. We can also put you in touch with your local Spacesaver consultant, who can assess your space free of charge.