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Case Study: Kingman Museum

 

Assignment:

  • Carefully pack, move and deliver all contents and collections of the Kingman Museum to a climate-controlled warehouse for prolonged storage
  • Limited staff and volunteers available to contribute due to Covid-19 restrictions
  • Systematically catalog each item throughout move process

 

Objective:

  • Safely protect and transport museum artifacts
  • Verify all elements are correctly protected for extended storage
  • Interface with museum authorities to ensure belongings are transferred in the best possible way

 

Scope of Services:

  • Custom packing and crating for extraordinary, rare, delicate and valuable museum artifacts
  • Transportation of all pieces to warehouse storage owned by the museum
  • Isolate items from any humidity or unacceptable state while in storage

 

Solution:

“You have to speak the language of your customer,” said Steve Wayward, while recollecting his time working with the Kingman Museum. “Their team approached Corrigan when they needed to relocate the complete museum. They were aware of our reputation, and how we’ve offered successful solutions for different museums in the area. After the initial discussion with their team, I knew what we could offer them, and I think they knew right away, as well. Sometimes that first interaction that tells you the partnership is a good fit. In this particular case, it was.”

As Director of Commercial Sales, Steve has participated in a number of of museum moves, although, this museum move proved to be a bit different from all previous projects. “They possess an incredibly eclectic collection,” explained Steve. “There’s anything and everything from Native American relics to taxidermy. Having such a extensive range of pieces proved to be an intriguing challenge for us, so we had to clearly collaborate with the staff at the museum. They understand their artifacts better than anyone, and this was unquestionably an occasion where we relied on them for guidance on best way to proceed. Given their profound understanding, we then were able to demonstrate solutions for moving the museum. That joint effort proved to be crucial to this move being effective.”

 

The collaborative spirit of this project started right away. Once the museum was presented with the moving estimate, Steve collaborated with them to identify projects that the museum staff could handle packing on their own. However, with Covid-19 restrictions in place, it meant a smaller than average number of volunteers and employees that were available to assist. “Enabling them with the right information and resources allowed the museum’s team to bring the scope of services with their budget”, stated Steve. “Our moving team provided the technical direction, tools, resources and materials. The museum provided the artifact knowledge and packing labor for a good part of the relocation. Things worked well, not only keep them in line with their budget, but their staff was so well-rounded, we couldn’t have packed some items any finer. Given the right resources and experienced people in place, you can realize a lot with a small group. Actually, by their staff helping, they cut their quote almost in half. They were great to work with.”

Following further collaboration, a more casual pace was agreed upon. Many times, commercial moves are thoroughly packed, then move to their new destination. In the case of the museum, packing and then moving specific areas of the museum, in sections, proved to be the best method. Throughout the period of four weeks, Corrigan had three crew members on site each day to work along with the Kingman team. Moving scrupulously throughout the storage areas and exhibits, each area was packed and transported before 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 permit you to touch their artifacts, so this was a really unique opportunity. It is not often you can touch the real taxidermy of a polar bear,” he expressed. “It was also a great chance to see and handle the pieces in the museum storage and archives. These items were off exhibit that the general public cannot view.”

The most unforgettable item handled during the relocation: “A saber-tooth tiger from the original excavation of the LaBrea Tar Pits,” said Stickler. “It took a minute to identify the ideal solution to support and cautiously handle it. The skeleton is mounted inside of an open-front case. We decided to place book boxes under him 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.”

 

However, not all artifacts were that significant in size though. What established itself to be one of the most interesting collections to move just so happened to include some of the smallest items. Inside of a storage cabinet laid nearly 20 trays of all sorts of animal eggs. “There were some 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 tiniest items I have ever moved,” explained Stickler.

How do you move such a unique collection? “At about 5 mph,” laughed Stickler. “We carefully laid down protective material and pad inside of the truck. Then we placed each tray of eggs flat inside. There were two team members in personal cars, one in front of and another behind the semi-truck with their flashers on. We made a processional, driving literally 5 mph from the museum to the warehouse storage location. It was jumpy over every small bump, but every single specimen was safely moved.”

Whether it was minerals, fossils, rocks, taxidermy, meteorites and everything in between, every last article had to be carefully organized for the museum records. “Believe it or not, that proved to be the predominant challenge of,” recalled Brian. “We kept precise records of every item relocated, what it was packed or wrapped in, and the final location inside of the storage warehouse. Because the museum is storing all items until they find a new location, they must know the exact location of every 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 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 am certain that when the museum locates a new building, Corrigan will be there,” said Wayward. “I look forward to working with them again and seeing how the museum can grow and evolve within a new space.”

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