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
- Meticulously catalog each item throughout move process
- Safely protect and transport museum exhibits
- Ensure all elements are correctly protected for extended storage
- Interface with museum authorities to ensure items are transferred systematically
Scope of Services:
- Custom handling and crating for extraordinary, rare, fine and valuable museum artifacts
- Transportation of all pieces to storage warehouse owned by the museum
- Protect items from any moisture or distressing situation while in storage
“You have to speak the language of your customer,” said Steve Wayward, while speaking of his time working alongside the Kingman Museum. “They got in touch with Corrigan when they determined it was time to relocate their entire museum. They were aware of our name, and that we have supplied successful solutions for similar museums in the area. Following a conversation with them, I immediately knew what we could offer them, and I believe they knew instantly, as well. Sometimes it is that first interaction that tells you the relationship is a good fit. In this particular case, it was.”
As Director of Commercial Projects, Steve has contributed to a number of of museum moves, although, this museum move proved to be a little different from most previous projects. “This is an incredibly broad collection,” explained Wayward. “There is anything and everything from Native American relics to taxidermy. Working with such a broad range of artifacts proved to be an interesting challenge for us, so we had to undoubtedly collaborate with the staff at the museum. They understand their artifacts best, and this was definitely an occasion where we relied on them for guidance on best way to proceed. As a result of their profound understanding, we were able to provide solutions for moving the museum. That joint effort proved to be crucial to this move being successful.”
The collaborative spirit of this project began immediately. Once the museum was presented the initial estimate for services, Steve worked with them to recognize areas that the museum staff could pack on their own. However, with Covid-19 restrictions in place, it meant a limited number of volunteers and staff that were available to help complete the project. “Enabling them with the right knowledge and resources allowed them to align the scope of services with their budget”, stated Steve. “We provided the technical expertise, tools, resources and materials. They provided the artifact insights and packing labor for a large amount of the museum move. It 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 experienced people in place, you can accomplish a lot with a small crew. Actually, by their staff participating, they cut their quote by nearly half. They were amazing.”
After additional discussions, a slow and steady method was agreed upon. Often, commercial jobs are thoroughly packed, then move to their new destination. Here, packing and then moving individual areas of the museum, in sections, proved to be the best method. Throughout the course of four weeks, Corrigan had three crew members on site every day to work alongside the Kingman team. Moving strategically throughout the storage areas and exhibits, each area was packed and moved relocated before moving onto the next area.
Brian Stickler, warehouseman for the Corrigan Grand Rapids office, was one of the Corrigan crew members on location for the project. “Most museums do not allow you to touch their artifacts, so this was a really unique opportunity. It’s not everyday you can touch the real taxidermy of a polar bear,” he expressed. “It was also a fun chance to see and handle the pieces in the museum storage and archives. These items were off exhibit that the general public could not view.”
The most memorable 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 best solution to support and cautiously handle it. The skeleton is mounted inside of an open-front case. Our plan was to place book boxes under it for support, and then pad around and underneath its teeth with paper. We finished by surrounding the display in foam and placed it inside a sofa carton. We used the same process for the dire wolf skeleton, and they both transported 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 various animal eggs. “There were some large ostrich eggs in addition to eggs about the size of a marble. We wore gloves of course, but those were certainly some of the most delicate items I have ever handled,” noted Stickler.
How is it that you move such a unique collection? “At about 5 mph,” laughed Stickler. “First we carefully put down protective material and cushioning inside the truck. Then we placed each tray of eggs flat inside. There were two team members in personal vehicles, one in front of and another behind the semi-truck with their flashers on. We made a processional, going literally 5 mph from the museum to the warehouse storage location. I was jumpy over every small bump, but each specimen was securely moved.”
Whether it was rocks, minerals, fossils, meteorites, taxidermy or everything in between, each and every article needed to be accurately cataloged for the museum records. “Believe it or not, that proved to be the biggest challenge of,” recalled Brian. “We kept detailed records of every item we moved, what it was packed or wrapped in, and the final location inside of the storage warehouse. Being that the museum is storing all belongings until they find a new location, they must know the exact location of each artifact. It was a tedious job, but we were able to accomplish exactly what the museum needed.”
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, while remaining visible for staff.
At this time, the museum remains closed, the artifacts are in storage until a permanent location is found. “I’m confident that when the museum locates a new building, Corrigan will be there,” said Steve. “I am anxiously looking forward to reconnecting with them again and seeing how the museum can expand and develop within a new space.”
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