Museum storage options designed to protect your collections

Museum storage options may not seem very complex. Hang shelves and put all your most valuable and important items on them. But this concept is not only inaccurate but also could eventually damage your possessions or goods.

Let’s talk about museum storage options. Regardless of the medium, the goal needs to be more than just keeping pieces of art organized. Museums are the home to our history. The items in storage can be hundreds or even thousands of years old and need to be kept safe so they can be appreciated for years to come. There are quite a few things to keep in mind when considering museum storage.

Museum storage options such as glass storage cabinetsTo be seen or not to be seen – that is the question

Within museums, there are likely two options when it comes to storage solutions:

  • The collection is not on display and is being housed within the museum (or an offsite facility) in a room fit for the sole purpose of storage and safekeeping.
  • The collection is on display for the public to see, but still safely kept behind glass or plexiglass.

Most recently, museums are trying to get more of their collection out in front of the public. With strict preservation guidelines in mind, visible museum storage is a safe and effective way to make that happen. By constructing visual cabinets throughout a space, museum visitors can interact, learn and engage with collections that would otherwise be tucked away in storage.

Visual museum storage cabinets are not always a possibility for every collection and every museum. Sometimes the existing space is not large enough or the sheer volume of collections held by one museum is just too large to keep it all on display for the public eye. It could also be specific to the collection itself. Overexposure to certain elements, such as sunlight, could easily cause unwanted damage.

Sensitivity to the elements

If someone is walking through a museum, their first thoughts are probably the beauty of the artwork. A conservationist’s first thought is how can this piece of art be affected by the elements. Their number one goal is to keep the art safe. There are many natural elements that can come into play – sunlight, temperature, water and dust – just to name a few. Each of these elements can have a significant impact and cause a substantial amount of damage to any type of art. Airtight, climate-controlled storage cabinets can support a conservationist in their objective to keep history alive and well.

Stability and flexibility

Although there are many standard cabinets that can get the job done, sometimes customization is key. Museum storage cabinets can be built and modeled to fit the unique needs of any collection.

Storage, but make it fun

In our 40+ years of experience, we’ve seen collections of all shapes and sizes. We’ve provided museum storage solutions for anything and everything you can imagine from games to ancient bugs to multi-million-dollar paintings. Our process is always the same – ask questions and become familiar with your requirement. Every customer is different, and our goal is to figure out exactly what you need to keep your collection safe.

O’Brien Systems is in the beginning stages of an exciting new project with the Strong National Museum of Play. In collaboration with the Strong team and CJS Architects, we will design and install a state-of-the-art collections storage area. Toys and games will be housed in a 5,000 square foot, custom designed high-density storage system in purpose-built, climate-controlled environment. This custom mobile storage system will be home to the archives of play.

Museums and the pieces within them have a story to tell and we are here to help keep the story alive. We can’t wait to see how this project plays out.