Now that everything is all go with the new collection facility being built in Hastings, our collections team have an enormous task ahead of them. In order to maximise the use of space, this new storage facility will have shelving going as high as 3.8 metres and there will be specialised equipment required to place and access items at this height. The team need to predetermine how and where each item will best be stored in the new facility and then prepare them for this new type of storage. This can include things such as creating pallets for larger items being stored on pallet racking, preparing items currently stored in boxes to go nested into drawers, adding earthquake proof hanging mechanisms to the backs of paintings and so on.
Unfortunately it isn’t as simple as preparing items for their new storage methods, they also have to be prepared for transport. This can mean some items need to be packed twice – once for transport and once for their new permanent home. For example, paintings need to travel in crates even though they will be stored on hanging racks in their new home. Wherever possible we have planned for new storage methods to be more easily accessible, such as in drawers rather than boxes. This of course doesn’t suit the storage and protection needs of all items but we have made them accessible wherever we can – it is a complex mix of considerations.
Along with careful planning of packing and placement in the new store, our team also need to ensure they keep track of each item at all times. Unlike when I moved house and spent weeks looking for that one item I was “sure” I had put in that particular box – our team cannot mix things up. Databases, printed lists, checking and re-checking, and then entering new locations on the database requires attention to detail and diligence.
With over 90,000 individual items in the collection this is a huge job and one that will no doubt throw up a few surprises on the way. Sara Perrett, who leads a talented and experienced collection team, has this all in hand but there is no denying the enormity of the task which will require flexibility and determination!
In order to complete this work we will need to reduce collection access for a period of time, to ultimately provide better access in the long term. We hope you will be patient with us as we work on this important legacy project for the community and the region.
Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper on 27 October 2023 and written by Laura Vodanovich, Director at MTG Hawke’s Bay.
Image: Items being moved require careful packing and tracking.
30 October 2023
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