One of the common misconceptions that we have, is that a new museum archive costs a vast amount of money and impacts on the running of the museum for many months. This month’s case study proves that this doesn’t always have to be the case.
The previous year we were approached by Judy and Stephen of Wallingford Museum, a small to medium sized museum, housing many and varied items of local history (which we would thoroughly recommend anyone to visit).
They had hit upon the idea of building a new wooden structure within the under-utilised car-park to the rear of their building, which would accommodate their new archive. This would be a vast improvement over the many small and inappropriate storage areas, they were currently forced to use.
The building, measuring a shade under 6 metres x 8 metres, would allow them to house all of their archive, with the minimum disruption to the day to day running of the museum.
Following a survey by ourselves, we worked with the client to develop a solution that would keep their entire current and potential future archive in the correct ordered environment, whilst paying attention to limited budget that they had.
As with most local history museums, the contents are very varied and the client also required a study space to be incorporated within the archive.
We proposed four runs of double skinned museum grade shelving, specifically designed to avoid any sharp edges or protrusions, which allow boxed and unboxed artefacts to be safely stored, without risk of damage.
These were installed as two single depth units and two in a back to back configuration. This formed the majority of their storage, with the units split into one metre wide bays with height adjustable shelves, to future proof as much as possible.
One problem we encountered was that units clashed with roof beams that were not detailed on the original drawings. Due to the versatility of the double skinned shelving this was easily overcome by adjusting the spacing of the shelves.
We then fitted a picture rack with split height adjustable shelves, again manufactured from our double skinned shelving system, but with the inclusion of vertical partitioning rods, to house their picture and painting collection.
Adjacent to this was a heavy-duty shelving system, with height adjustable metal decks to contain the heavier items within their collection.
Manufactured from a standard system, to keep the cost down, this was painted to match all of the other furniture, to give the professional appearance of a much larger museum at a fraction of the cost.
The study area consisted of a standard Polstore heavy duty bench system with a plan chest next to it, to not only provide secure storage, but add an additional layout area next to the work bench.
The project was a complete turnkey package, inclusive of design, manufacture, delivery and installation, the installation taking place over a two-day period.
We have been delighted by our new custom-fitted building and are grateful to Polstore for their advice in making this possible. We had erected the new store in a relatively small space at a reasonable cost, but were faced with ensuring that we used it to gain maximum storage. Polstore gave very helpful advice on the practicalities of shelving to suit our needs, and provided a layout that would be the most effective. When unforseen restrictions of height were encountered at the last minute, they were very flexible in re-assessing the way it could still work. As a result we now have an archive store that meets modern standards and enables efficient organisation of the collections, with essential expansion space. We would certainly recommend other small museums to seek advice from Polstore