Steps Towards Planning Art Museum Storage Space

November 14, 2019 6:00 pm

Art museums and galleries store invaluable assets that require great care, specific consideration, and archival conditions. There are a multitude of considerations to take into account when storing paintings, and many steps to planning an art museum storage area equipped with heavy duty steel shelving.

Select an Appropriate Space

  • Obtain or create a space with high-end security and accessibility features and stable conditions in terms of light, humidity, temperature, air quality, ventilation, and that is safe from insects and animals in accordance with industry standards.
  • Try to avoid attics, basements, perimeter walls, and keep heavy duty commercial shelving units away from areas exposed to vibration.
  • There should be wide enough aisles between the heavy duty commercial shelving to be able to move large works of art without incident.
  • In addition, there should be direct routes to the display areas with no stairs and ample-enough hallway space.

Methods of Storing Common Types of Paintings

  • Paintings on panels or cards are ideally stored flat in acid-free boxes or in flat file drawers.
  • As a general rule, paintings on canvas or paper only ought to be framed or protected before they enter the storage space. However, they may also be sealed with mylar and stored in a flat-file, on heavy duty storage shelves, or if framing or wrapping is not an option because of the surface texture, then store each painting in an acid-free container.
  • Large or oversized paintings will need to be stored especially according to instructions from a conservation professional. It is important to think of this early on in the planning stages.

Shelving System Design and Organization

Multi-level heavy duty storage shelves can be designed to go right up to the ceiling, accompanied by catwalks for ease of navigation. This makes the most use of overhead space and minimizes costs incurred by indoor climate and humidity control. Of course, it will be important to consider the practicalities of building up. It is important to utilize shelf accessories such as static storage and sliding screens, at the design stage, that will keep the archive of artworks organized and make it quick to locate a specific painting.

Generally, these shelving systems come with guardrails, gates, and stairs, which will be ideal if you have large collections of small to mid-sized paintings, and even miniatures, that you will be storing up top. However, working with a design team, there could be endless creative possibilities, such as a pulley system or a cargo elevator, depending on your specifics. The design can be customized to your exact needs as well as the established industry standards and codes.

Western Pacific Storage Solutions has a proven record of working with design teams to create heavy duty steel shelving systems to accommodate varying collections requiring attention to a number of different factors and archival conditions with very few contaminants. Contact us to discuss the heavy duty commercial shelving needs of your sensitive archive project.

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