Case Study: Kingman Museum
- Skillfully pack, move and deliver all contents and collections of the Kingman Museum to a climate-controlled warehouse for prolonged storage
- Limited crew and volunteers available to contribute due to coronavirus regulations
- Meticulously catalog each item throughout move process
- Safely preserve and relocate museum exhibits
- Verify all items are properly protected for extended storage
- Engage with museum authorities to ensure pieces are relocated in the best possible way
- Adaptable packing and crating for unique, rare, intricate and valuable museum artifacts
- Transportation of all pieces to warehouse storage owned by the museum
- Safeguard items against any dampness or unwanted conditions while in storage
“You have to speak the language of your customer,” said Steve Wayward, while recalling his experience working with the Kingman Museum. “They got in touch with Corrigan when they determined it was time to relocate the museum. They were familiar with our name, and how we have supplied successful moves for similar museums in the region. After speaking with them, I knew what we could offer them, and I believe they knew instantly, as well. Sometimes it is the first interaction that tells you the partnership is a good fit. In this particular case, it was.”
As Director of Commercial Projects, Steve has participated in a number of of museum moves, at the same time, this museum move amounted to being a touch different from most previous projects. “This is an incredibly broad collection,” explained Steve. “There’s anything from Native American relics to taxidermy. Having such a large range of items proved to be an intriguing challenge for our team, so we had to really collaborate with the experts at the museum. They understand their artifacts best, and this was definitely an occasion where our team relied on them for their expertise and the best way to proceed. As a result of their profound understanding, our team was able to demonstrate solutions for moving the museum. That cooperation proved to be crucial to this move being effective.”
The collective spirit of this project started right away. Once the museum was presented with their moving estimate, Steve worked directly with them to identify areas that the museum staff could pack on their own. However, with Covid-19 restrictions, that meant a smaller than average number of volunteers and employees were available to help complete the project. “Enabling them with the right information and resources allowed them to bring the scope of services with their budget”, stated Steve. “We provided the technical direction, tools, resources and materials. The museum provided the artifact experts and packing labor for a good portion of the museum relocation. Everything worked well, not only keeping them in line with their budget, but their staff was so well-versed, we couldn’t have packed some items any better. With the right resources and knowledgeable people in place, you can accomplish a lot with a small team. In the end, by their staff assisting, they cut their quote almost in half. They were sensational.”
After further discussions, a slow and steady pace was agreed upon. Generally speaking, commercial projects are entirely packed, then move to their assigned destination. In this case, packing and then moving individual areas of the museum, in sections, proved to be the ideal method. Over the period of four weeks, Corrigan had three crew members on site each day to work beside the Kingman team. Moving scrupulously through the storage areas and exhibits, each zone was packed and transported before moving onto the next section.
Brian Stickler, warehouseman for the Corrigan Grand Rapids branch, was one of the Corrigan employees on site for the project. “Generally museums do not allow you to touch their artifacts, so this was a really neat opportunity. It’s not everyday you can touch the real taxidermy of a polar bear,” he explained. “It was also a great opportunity to admire and handle the pieces in the museum storage and archives. These items were off exhibit that the general public could not view.”
The most unforgettable item handled during the relocation: “A saber-tooth tiger from the excavation of the LaBrea Tar Pits,” said Stickler. “It took a few minutes to determine the best solution to support and carefully handle it. The skeleton is mounted inside of an open-front case. Our plan was to place book boxes under him for support, and then pad around and underneath its teeth with paper. We ended up surrounding the display in foam and placed it inside a sofa carton. We used a similar approach for a dire wolf skeleton, and they both were moved perfectly.”
But, not all artifacts were that significant in size though. What amounted to be one of the biggest challenges collections to move actually included some of the smallest items. Within a storage cabinet laid approximately 20 trays of all sorts of animal eggs. “There were large ostrich eggs in addition to eggs about the size of a marble. We had to wear gloves of course, but those were certainly some of the most tiniest items I have ever moved,” explained Stickler.
How do you move such a unique collection? “At about 5 mph,” laughed Stickler. “We carefully put down protective material and padding inside of the truck. Then we laid each tray of eggs flat inside. We had two crew members in personal cars, one in front of and another behind our semi-truck with their flashers on. Similar to a processional, going literally 5 miles an hour from the museum to the warehouse storage location. It was tense over every small bump, but every specimen was securely relocated.”
Whether it was minerals, fossils, rocks, taxidermy, meteorites and everything in between, every single article had to be systematically organized for the museum records. “Believe it or not, that proved to be the greatest challenge of,” recalled Brian. “We created detailed records of every item we relocated, what it was packed or wrapped in, and the final location inside of the storage warehouse. Since the museum is storing all items until they find a new location, they have to know the explicit location of every artifact. It was a tedious job, however we accomplished what the museum needed.”
After the entire museum’s contents were settled into the storage facility, Corrigan safeguarded all boxes and artifacts with sheets of plastic. The primary goals was protecting the items from moisture, with visibility for staff.
At this time, the museum remains closed, with the artifacts in storage until a permanent location is found. “I’m certain that when the museum procures a new building, Corrigan will be there,” said Steve. “I look forward to reconnecting with them again and seeing how the museum can expand and develop within a new space.”
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