Thursday, July 21, 2011

Museum shipping crates

By Christine Olsen, Registrar

Over the years we have acquired many shipping crates that are specially fabricated for artwork in our collection. I am currently in the process of physically inventorying our crates in order to dispose of ones that are no longer in good enough shape to travel and making sure that the ones we keep are properly numbered and tracked. They are stacked to the ceiling at our storage facility and are hard to move around given their size and weight, so it is a project that requires some help from my colleagues in the facilities department!

Whenever something travels outside Fenimore Art Museum, such as a loan to another museum for exhibition, it requires a specially built crate. Fine art shipping companies make crates for us, often building them at their warehouse and finishing the interiors once they arrive at the museum to ensure a perfect fit. In order to save money and materials we try to reuse and retrofit crates we already have whenever possible – an accurate inventory of our crates is therefore very helpful. Precise measurements and photographs of the artwork are provided to the crate fabricators when the order is placed as it must fit like a glove. They have to be sure not to put too much pressure on the artwork, especially if it is fragile, while ensuring that it doesn’t shift during transit; it truly is an art form in and of itself when you see it in person!

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