Founded in 1954, Murray Edwards College is one of only two colleges in the University of Cambridge which admits only women students. As part of its wider mission to promote the place of women in society, has a permanent collection – the Women’s Art Collection – one of the world’s largest collections of modern and contemporary art by women artists.
The previous picture store no longer worked effectively as a storage space or viewing area. Located in the basement, the space was limited, approximately 24 sqm. To be protected and safely stored, pictures were kept in wrapping and slotted into wooden racks. Not only did this make the pictures difficult to access, it was ineffective when it came to checking their condition. The store was also seriously overcrowded, risking accidental damage by staff working in the store.
The brief from Murray Edwards was simple – maximise the existing storage room they had in terms of storage space and viewing area.
The basement space couldn’t be extended. Instead, Polstore focused on making more efficient use of the space available. The team follows a 6-stage process from survey and design through to installation. We measured the dimensions of the existing space and presented CAD drawings of our proposed layout and units.
The storage solution delivered was primarily made up of three Polstore picture racking products: a static rack, a wall fixed rack, and a self-supported pull out picture racking system. This allowed us to maximise the wall space whilst keeping as much of the art collection as accessible as possible. The picture racks are clad on both sides with heavy-duty mesh. This means paintings and artefacts can be suspended in safety, avoiding contact with each other on retrieval. All materials used in our picture racks are conservation grade.
We also installed a heavy-duty drawer cabinet which was used to store small sculptures, pictures and tools. Given the importance of needing a safe, clean, flat space for viewing pictures easily, we added a multiplex wood bench worktop to the drawer cabinet.
The entire storage solution was installed in one day.
Polstore transformed the existing picture store into a practical archive and workroom for this historic art collection, which ticked all the boxes for Murray Edwards College. Not only have Polstore addressed the immediate storage needs, but the self-supporting pull-out picture racking can also adapt to fit future needs as the collection changes. Rather than the racking being permanently fixed to the floor and ceiling, our self-supporting picture racking can be taken apart and reassembled in a different configuration, or even moved and re-installed in a new location entirely. This adds to the cost-effectiveness of the overall storage solution.
We have testimonials and multiple case studies freely available on our website. When asked by Murray Edwards College if there was an existing client with a similar storage solution that he could visit, our Business Development Manager Alan arranged for Professor Martin Roland, CBE (Chairman of the College’s Art Committee) to be given a tour of the National Gallery’s picture and frame stores, both of which have Polstore installations. Professor Roland was very impressed with what he saw and engaged Polstore to do the work for the College in Cambridge. He subsequently wrote:
“The art store has been transformed from a jumble where works were at risk of damage to a bright modern space where the works can be safely displayed and accessed. We’ve been delighted with Polstore’s approach throughout.”
If you have an art collection or historic artefacts to preserve whilst maintaining accessibility, then talk to our team on 0800 008 6861 or email email@example.com.
The art store has been transformed from a jumble where works were at risk of damage to a bright modern space where the works can be safely displayed and accessed. We’ve been delighted with Polstore’s approach throughout.