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Last updated: December 09, 2019

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Museum Collection Storage & Preservation Solutions

best solutions museum collection storage exhibition preservationMuseums are vital for the preservation of human history and culture. But with the number of collections increasing combined with a shrinking amount of real estate, it’s becoming more difficult for museums to balance display, storage, and proper preservation techniques all at the same time. Here, we'll go over some of the best solutions for museum collection storage, exhibition, and preservation so you can focus more on your artifacts and less on building logistics. Click here to see more museum storage solutions.

Only an average of three to five percent of a museum’s collection is displayed publicly—the other works have to be stored and preserved in climate-controlled spaces, which amount to a considerable cost. Simply building out more space, renovating, or leasing more off-site facilities isn’t a sustainable option. That’s why so many museums are focusing on innovative storage solutions that can be adapted to their changing needs and utilize their existing space effectively, rather than needing more of it. On top of that, valuable objects can be lost for years in the clutter or even damaged. Proper museum storage has to not only efficiently store these artifacts; it also needs to preserve them in perfect condition as well. 

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In addition to preservation, space savings, and organization, these museum storage solutions also have an open, clean, and professional look while maintaining optimal preservation and security. This is an especially critical factor when you consider how many museums are implementing visible storage as a way for visitors to view collections that aren’t in exhibitions. Click here to learn how to store artwork properly.

High-Density Shelving

high density museum collection storage preservationHigh-density storage systems are increasingly common in museums. These high-density systems consist of rows of storage units mounted on carriages that move back and forth via manual or automatic operation. This eliminates the need for multiple open aisles, which take up valuable space, and instead allows users to access the aisles they need while the rest remain compacted in a small footprint. While the systems' remarkably efficient use of space is one of its main benefits, they also contribute to preservation efforts and improve many other factors such as efficiency, safety, and engagement. This makes it a great solution for a museum's exhibit storage. Due to its flexibility and countless options, high-density systems can be designed around existing structural obstacles or can be outfitted for temperature-controlled rooms and refrigerators. You can even use your existing cabinets or shelving units by mounting them on the mobile carriages to save on costs. Click here to learn more about high-density shelving and its benefits.

Artwork Storage

Framed paintings take up a lot of space because they cannot be stored on horizontal surfaces, especially with intact exhibition hardware. And you know that stacking paintings, even for just a moment, can cause irreversible damage. That’s why we have so many artwork storage solutions that are designed to store artwork safely, even during transport or interim storage.

Some of our options for museums to store art are:

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Garment & Textile Storage

Historical clothing and accessories are important pieces of artifacts but are notoriously difficult and costly to maintain due to their fragility and susceptibility to damage from pests. These garment and textile storage solutions are designed to protect these items while ensuring easy and safe access in a small amount of space.

Here are some examples of our storage options for garments and textiles:

Museum Cabinets Storage

museum cabinet storage preservationSince storage is such a huge factor in the preservation of historical objects, we’ve designed many different types of cabinets for storing anything—including sensitive items like plant, insect, and biological specimens.

These are some of the types of cabinets we offer that can work well for your museum:

Works on Paper Storage

With powder-coated finishes and no off-gassing, these storage systems keep your delicate works on paper stored safely. This keeps your maps, photographs, blueprints, posters, mats, and more away from light, dust, and pests in addition to accidental damage. They are also great for Hollinger boxes, Solander boxes, and even oversized items.

Here are some of our best options for works on paper:

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Archival Storage

Since historical artifacts come in all types of shapes and sizes, we have equally adaptable storage for your archives. Just because archives are less visible to the public doesn’t mean they have to remain in a cramped and disorganized space. Solutions like compact pallet racks make it easy to store and organize a large volume of items in much less space, which can also help you utilize your off-site storage facilities more effectively.

Here are a couple of our best options for storing archives safely:

Document Scanning

How does your museum keep track of its artifacts? Many museums don’t have a system in place that lets staff members quickly and easily locate an item when it’s needed; in fact, with manual record-keeping systems, this may even be impossible. Our thorough document scanning and digitization services can help you manage and improve your recordkeeping. So, vital information is always at your staff’s fingertips. This also keeps your records safer than storing them in a file cabinet and ensures you’ll still have access to all of your information even in the event of a disaster.

Security

museum collection security roll down doorsUnfortunately, theft and vandalism are a major problem for museums, but there are easy and affordable ways to improve storage security without making any major changes to your existing storage. For example, our roll-down doors attach to the top of your existing shelving units to keep items safe and secure.

These are our most secure options for protecting your exhibits:

Contact Us About Museum Collection Storage

Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services featuring the best solutions for museum collection, exhibition, and preservation across the country. If you're curious for more information about storage, check out our guide on designing museums and archival storage. We will also be happy to provide you with a free consultation to determine you and your museum's exact storage needs before the design process begins. For more information or to speak with a museum storage specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.

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