Case Study: Kingman Museum
- Gracefully pack, relocate and deliver all elements and collections of the Kingman Museum to a climate-controlled warehouse for extended storage
- Limited crew and volunteers ready to assist due to Covid-19 restrictions
- Meticulously catalog each item throughout move process
- Safely protect and relocate museum collections
- Verify all items are correctly protected for long-term storage
- Interface with museum experts to guarantee items are transferred systematically
Scope of Services:
- Customized handling and crating for unique, scarce, intricate and valuable museum artifacts
- Relocation of all artifacts to warehouse storage maintained by the museum
- Safeguard items against any moisture or damaging conditions while being stored
“You have to relate to your customer,” said Steve Wayward, while recollecting his experience working alongside the Kingman Museum. “They reached out to Corrigan when they determined it was time to relocate their entire museum. They heard of our reputation, and that we have offered successful moves for other museums in the area. Following a conversation with them, I immediately knew what we could offer them, and I am certain they knew instantly, as well. Sometimes it’s the first interaction that lets you know the relationship is a good fit. In our case, it was.”
As Director of Commercial Projects, Steve has contributed to his fair share of museum moves, at the same time, this museum move was a little different from all previous projects. “They possess an incredibly diverse collection,” explained Steve. “There is anything from Native American relics to taxidermy. Having such a wide range of items proved to be an intriguing challenge for us, so we had to really collaborate with the staff of experts at the museum. They understand their artifacts better than anyone, and this was definitely an occasion where our team relied on them for their expertise and the best way to proceed. Given their profound understanding, our team was able to provide solutions for moving the museum. That joint effort proved to be fundamental to this move being effective.”
The collective spirit of this project started right away. After the museum was presented the moving quote for services, Steve worked directly with the museum team to identify projects that the museum staff could handle packing on their own. With Covid-19 restrictions in place, it meant a limited number of volunteers and staff that were available to help complete the project. “Empowering them with the right information and resources allowed the museum’s team to line up the scope of services with their budget”, stated Wayward. “We provided the technical expertise, tools, resources and materials. They provided the artifact insights and packing labor for a good amount of the museum relocation. Everything worked well, not only keeping the project in line with their budget, but the staff was so well-rounded, we couldn’t have packed some items any finer. With the right resources and professional people in place, you can achieve a lot with a small group. At the end of the day, by their staff helping, they cut their quote almost in half. They were amazing.”
Subsequent to further discussions, a slow and steady method was agreed upon. Many times, commercial relocations are entirely packed, then move to their assigned destination. In this case, packing and then relocating specific areas of the museum, little by little, proved to be the best strategy. Throughout the course of four weeks, Corrigan had 3 employees on site each day to work beside the Kingman team. Moving scrupulously throughout the storage areas and exhibits, each section was packed and transported before moving onto the next area.
Brian Stickler, warehouseman for the Corrigan Grand Rapids branch, was one of the Corrigan employees on location for this project. “Most museums don’t permit you to touch their artifacts, so this was a really unique opportunity. It’s not everyday you can touch a real taxidermy of a polar bear,” he explained. “It was also a great experience to admire and handle the pieces in the museum storage and archives. These were items off exhibit that the general public could not view.”
The most exciting 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 carefully handle it. Its skeleton is mounted inside of an open-front display case. Our plan was to place book boxes under her for support, and then pad around and underneath its teeth with paper. We ended up surrounding the case in foam and placed it inside of a sofa carton. We used a similar approach for the dire wolf skeleton, and they both transported without a glitch.”
However, not all artifacts were that significant in size though. What established itself to be one of the most challenging collections to move actually included some of the smaller items. Within a storage cabinet laid about 20 trays of all sorts of animal eggs. “There were large ostrich eggs all the way down to eggs about the size of a dime. We had to wear gloves of course, but those were probably some of the most fragile items I’ve ever moved,” explained Stickler.
How is it that you move such a delicate and fragile collection? “At about 5 mph,” laughed Stickler. “We carefully laid down protective material and pad inside the truck. Then we placed each tray of eggs flat inside. There were two crew members in personal vehicles, one in front of and another behind our semi-truck with their flashers on. We made a processional, traveling literally 5 miles an hour from the museum to their warehouse storage location. It was white-knuckled over every small bump, but every single specimen was safely relocated.”
From minerals, fossils, rocks, taxidermy, meteorites and everything in between, every last article had to be accurately cataloged for the museum records. “Believe it or not, that proved to be the biggest challenge of,” recalled Stickler. “We kept precise records of every item relocated, what it was packed or wrapped in, and the final location inside of their storage warehouse. Because the museum is storing all items until they find a new location, they have to know the explicit location of every artifact. It was a tedious task, however we accomplished what the museum needed.”
Once the entire museum’s contents were settled into the storage facility, Corrigan secured all boxes and artifacts under sheets of plastic. The goal was protecting the goods from moisture, while remaining visible for staff.
The museum remains closed, the artifacts are in storage until a permanent location is determined. “I’m fairly certain that when the museum procures a new building, Corrigan will be there,” said Steve. “I am anxiously looking forward to working with them again and seeing how the museum can expand and develop within a new space.”
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