Case Study: Kingman Museum
- Carefully pack, move and deliver all contents and collections of the Kingman Museum to a climate-controlled warehouse for long-term storage
- Limited crew and volunteers available to assist due to Covid-19 restrictions
- Systematically catalog each item throughout move process
- Safely protect and transport museum collections
- Verify all elements are properly protected for long-term storage
- Interface with museum authorities to ensure items are transported in the best way possible
Scope of Services:
- Adaptable packing and crating for one-of-a-kind, rare, intricate and valuable museum artifacts
- Relocation of all pieces to storage warehouse maintained by the museum
- Protect items from any dampness or unwanted state while in storage
“You have to relate to your customer,” said Steve Wayward, while recalling his adventure working with the Kingman Museum. “Their team approached Corrigan when they determined it was time to relocate the complete museum. They were aware of our reputation, and that we have provided successful relocations for different museums in the area. After speaking with them, I immediately knew what we could offer them, and I think they knew instantly, as well. Sometimes it’s the first interaction that indicates the partnership is a good fit. In this particular case, it was.”
As the Director of Commercial Projects, Steve has been involved with a number of of museum moves, although, this museum move amounted to being a little different from most previous projects. “They possess an incredibly diverse collection,” explained Wayward. “There is anything and everything from Native American artifacts to taxidermy. Working with such a extensive range of items proved to be an intriguing challenge for our team, so we had to really collaborate with the staff of experts at the museum. They identify with their artifacts best, and this was unquestionably an occasion where we relied on them for guidance on best way to proceed. As a result of their intimate understanding, we then were able to provide solutions for moving the museum. That joint effort proved to be crucial to this move being a success.”
The collaborative spirit of this move started right away. Once the museum was presented with their moving estimate, Steve worked directly with their experts to identify areas that the museum staff could handle packing on their own. With Covid-19 restrictions in place, it meant a limited number of volunteers and employees were available to assist. “Inspiring them with the right knowledge and resources helped them to line up the scope of services with their budget”, stated Wayward. “Our crew provided the guidance, tools, resources and materials. The museum provided the artifact experts and packing labor for a good portion of the museum relocation. Things worked well, not only keeping the project within their budget, but their staff was so knowledgeable, we couldn’t have packed some items any better. With the right resources and experienced people in place, you can achieve so much with a small team. At the end of the day, by their staff participating, they reduced their quote by nearly half. They were sensational.”
After further discussions, a an unrushed method was agreed upon. Often, commercial jobs are completely packed, then move to their new destination. In the case of the museum, packing and then transporting defined areas of the museum, in sections, proved to be the ideal strategy. Over the course of 4 weeks, Corrigan had three employees on site every day to work along with the Kingman team. Moving systematically through the storage areas and exhibits, each area was packed and transported prior to moving onto the next section.
Brian Stickler, warehouseman for the Corrigan Grand Rapids office, was one of the Corrigan employees on site for the project. “Most museums do not allow you to touch their artifacts, so this was a really neat opportunity. It’s not often you can touch the real taxidermy of a polar bear,” he explained. “It was also a great opportunity to admire and handle the items in the museum storage and archives. These were items off exhibit that the general public could not view.”
The most noteworthy item handled during the relocation: “A saber-tooth tiger from the original excavation of the LaBrea Tar Pits,” said Stickler. “It took a little bit to determine the ideal solution to support and carefully handle it. The skeleton is mounted inside of an open-front display. We decided to place book boxes under her for support, and then pad around and underneath its teeth with paper. We finished by surrounding the case in foam and placed it inside of a sofa carton. We used a similar approach for a dire wolf skeleton, they both were relocated without a glitch.”
But, not all artifacts were large though. What amounted to be one of the most challenging collections to move actually included some of the smaller items. Within a storage cabinet laid nearly 20 trays of various animal eggs. “There were large ostrich eggs all the way down to eggs about the size of a marble. We had to wear gloves of course, but those were certainly some of the most delicate items I have ever handled,” explained Stickler.
How is it that you move such a fragile and delicate collection? “At about 5 miles an hour,” 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 vehicles, one in front of and another behind our semi-truck with their flashers on. Similar to a processional, traveling literally 5 mph from the museum to the warehouse storage location. I was jumpy over every small bump, but every single specimen was securely relocated.”
From minerals, fossils, rocks, taxidermy, meteorites or everything along the way, every last article had to be systematically organized for the museum records. “At the end of the day, that proved to be the predominant challenge of,” said Stickler. “We kept precise records of every item we relocated, what it was packed or wrapped in, and the final location inside of their storage warehouse. Since the museum is storing all items until they find a new location, they have to know the detailed location of each artifact. It was a tiresome task, however we were able to accomplish exactly what the museum was looking for.”
When the entire museum’s contents were settled into the storage facility, Corrigan protected all boxes and artifacts with sheets of plastic. The goal was protecting the goods from moisture, with visibility for staff.
The museum remains closed, with the artifacts in storage until a permanent location is found. “I am confident that when the museum procures a new building, Corrigan will be there,” said Steve. “I’m anxiously looking forward to reconnecting with them again and seeing how the museum can grow and unfold within a new space.”
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