Manage Risk in Museum Storage

12 Sep 2017

Your mission is to preserve and protect the objects entrusted to your care, and our mission is to help. We support institutions of all sizes in their efforts to manage risk, boost community engagement, optimize space, and stretch limited budgets.  While the risk of storing precious items can be high, below we have outlined 3 risks and ways to manage them through thoughtful storage design:

1.  DIRECT PHYSICAL FORCES

THE RISK: Sudden shock or long-term pressure breaks and deforms objects.

cal_academy_earthquakebars_collection_storage

MITIGATION

  • Optional earthquake bars prevent jars and objects on shelves from accidental falls and spills.
  • Anti-tip rail systems are designed to provide stability and reliability for compact shelving in seismically active areas.

2.  PESTS

THE RISK: Insects and rodents eat and nest in organic collections, while mold can consume and stain organic materials.

penstate_collection_care_museum_mobile_shelving

MITIGATION

  • Perforated shelving improves ventilation.
  • Easily-cleanable, sealed cabinets keep pests away and allow for easy inspection.
  • Light-colored equipment facilitates pest detection

3.  INCORRECT TEMPERATURE

THE RISK: High temperatures speed up the chemical deterioration of unstable materials.

denvermuseum_cold_storage_collectioncare

MITIGATION

  • To make the most efficient use of expensive cooler space, large institutions can use compactors housed in cold rooms and walk-in freezers.
  • Medium sized collections can use shelving or museum cabinets housed in walk-in coolers.
  • Smaller collections can use upright refrigerators or freezers.

While every collection is different, the risks to stored items generally fall into one of ten categories. It’s important to understand the “Ten Agents of Deterioration” in order to mitigate the effects of these damaging factors.  Click Here to learn more about Spacesaver’s museum storage capabilities, and contact us today for more information!

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