Case Study: Kingman Museum
- Carefully pack, transport and deliver all contents and exhibits of the Kingman Museum to a climate-controlled warehouse for long-term storage
- Limited staff and volunteers capable to contribute due to coronavirus regulations
- Thoroughly catalog each item throughout move process
- Safely protect and relocate museum exhibits
- Verify all items are appropriately protected for long-term storage
- Engage with museum experts to ensure pieces are transported systematically
Scope of Services:
- Custom handling and crating for extraordinary, scarce, intricate and valuable museum artifacts
- Transportation of all artifacts to warehouse storage maintained by the museum
- Protect items from any moisture or unwanted state while being stored
“You have to know your customer,” said Steve Wayward, while recollecting his time working together with the Kingman Museum. “They approached Corrigan when they decided to relocate the museum. They were aware of our reputation, and that we have supplied successful solutions for similar museums in the region. After the initial discussion with their team, I knew exactly what we could do for them, and I am certain they knew instantly, as well. Sometimes that first interaction that indicates the partnership is a good fit. In this particular case, it was.”
As Director of Commercial Sales, Steve has contributed to a number of of museum moves, at the same time, this museum move was a touch different from all previous projects. “This is an incredibly diverse collection,” explained Steve. “There’s anything and everything from Native American relics to taxidermy. Having such a broad range of artifacts proved to be a fascinating challenge for us, so we had to undoubtedly collaborate with the staff at the museum. They identify with their artifacts better than anyone, and this was definitely an occasion where our team relied on them for insights into the best way to proceed. As a result of their intimate understanding, we then were able to provide solutions for moving the museum. That alliance proved to be key to this move being effective.”
The collaborative spirit of this move started right away. Once the museum was presented the moving estimate for services, Steve worked directly with them to pinpoint areas that the museum staff could pack on their own. However, with Covid-19 restrictions, it 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 helped them to bring the scope of services with their budget”, stated Steve. “We provided the technical direction, tools, resources and materials. They provided the artifact knowledge and packing labor for a good part of the relocation. It worked well, not only keeping the project in line with their budget, but the staff was so knowledgeable, we couldn’t have packed some items any finer. Given the right resources and experienced people in place, you can accomplish a lot with a small team. In the end, by their staff participating, they reduced their quote almost in half. They were amazing.”
Subsequent to further collaboration, a an unrushed method was agreed on. Often, commercial relocations are thoroughly packed, then move to their new destination. In this case, packing and then relocating individual areas of the museum, in sections, proved to be the ideal strategy. Throughout the course of 4 weeks, Corrigan had 3 employees on site daily to work alongside the Kingman team. Moving systematically through the storage areas and exhibits, each zone was packed and moved relocated prior to moving onto the next section.
Brian Stickler, warehouseman for the Corrigan Grand Rapids branch, was one of the Corrigan teammates on site for the project. “Normally museums do not allow you to touch their artifacts, so this was a really neat opportunity. It is not often you can touch a real taxidermy of a polar bear,” he expressed. “It was also a fun experience to see and handle the items in the museum storage and archives. These were items off exhibit that the general public cannot view.”
The most exciting item handled during the relocation: “A saber-tooth tiger from the excavation of the LaBrea Tar Pits,” said Stickler. “It took a minute to find the ideal solution to support and carefully handle it. Its 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 under its teeth with paper. We finished by surrounding the display in foam and placed it inside of a sofa carton. We used the same process for a dire wolf skeleton, and they both were moved as seamless as could be.”
However, not all artifacts were that significant in size though. What amounted to be one of the biggest challenges collections to move just so happened to include some of the smaller items. Within a storage cabinet laid approximately 20 trays of various animal eggs. “There were large ostrich eggs as well as eggs about the size of a marble. We wore gloves of course, but those were probably some of the most tiniest items I’ve ever moved,” explained Stickler.
How is it that you move such a fragile and delicate collection? “At about 5 mph,” laughed Stickler. “We carefully put down protective material and cushioning inside the truck. Then we placed each tray of eggs flat inside. We had two crew members in personal cars, one in front of and another behind the semi-truck with their flashers on. Similar to 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 rocks, minerals, fossils, meteorites, taxidermy or everything along the way, every single article needed to be accurately cataloged for the museum records. “At the end of the day, that proved to be the greatest challenge of,” said Stickler. “We created detailed records of every item relocated, what it was packed or wrapped in, and the final location inside of their storage warehouse. Being that the museum is storing all belongings until they find a new location, they have to know the explicit location of every artifact. It was a verbose task, but we accomplished what the museum needed.”
After the entire museum’s contents were delivered to the storage facility, Corrigan safeguarded all boxes and artifacts using sheets of plastic. The objective was protecting the goods from moisture, while remaining visible for staff.
Currently the museum remains closed, with the artifacts in storage until a permanent location is determined. “I’m fairly certain that when the museum locates a new building, Corrigan will be there,” said Wayward. “I am anxiously looking forward to reconnecting with them again and seeing how the museum can grow and evolve within a new space.”
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